MRI Forum 40

"神州交流–Chinese Cross Currents as a Cross-Cultural Meeting Point
Between Chinese and Foreign Intellectuals: Past Approaches and Today's Challenges"

by Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Yves Camus, Guo Yidun and Dominique Tyl

Summary of the Presentation

When one speaks of culture, one thinks first of such domains as literature, visual arts, music, poetry, dance, theatre, cinema, dress codes, social customs or spiritual traditions. Yet all of these are only manifestations of culture. What matters in culture most is the human perception of and response to our experience of living as these many facets of culture try to express it. Are we able to receive and to correctly interpret their message?

As such, through its Chinese and foreign contributors, Chinese Cross Currents intends to help its readers in discerning and critically evaluating important issues in China's contemporary culture and in its interaction with the world, where different societies are facing similar issues and challenges. It is a matter of fact: many have already observed that our present day world appears to be living a contradiction. The recent development of new technologies has led it to enter, with many economical and political difficulties, into a new degree of globalization. Yet, at the same time, the search for cultural roots and the stress on cultural specificity become all the more intense. That is why cross-cultural exchanges are becoming, nowadays, all the more difficult, yet meaningful and important.

The MRI Forum will be dedicated to this young and still quite unknown academic journal, 神州交流– Chinese Cross Currents, which is addressed to its readers in Macau, in China and abroad. With the help of its faithful readers and collaborators, we will talk about the recent articles which have paved the way to a better understanding of different currents of thought expressed both in Chinese and foreign societies.

Profile of the Speaker

Jean-Pierre Cabestan is Professor and Head, Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. He is also associate researcher at the Asia Centre, Paris. From 2003 to 2007 he was Senior Researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), attached to the Institute of Comparative Law of the University of Paris 1. From 1998 to 2003, he was Director of the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (Centre d'Études Français sur la Chine Contemporaine, CEFC) in Hong Kong and Chief Editor of Perspectives Chinoises and China Perspectives . From 1994 to 1998, he was Director of the Taipei Office of the CEFC. In 1990-1991, he was Lecturer at the Politics Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies. His most recent publications include Le système politique de la Chine populaire (Paris, PUF, 1994); Taiwan-Chine populaire: l'impossible réunification (Paris, Ifri-Dunod, 1995); Le système politique de Taiwan (Paris, PUF, 1999); Chine-Taiwan: la guerre est-elle concevable? La sécurité extérieure de Taiwan face à la menace de la Chine populaire , Paris, Economica, 2003; (with Benoît Vermander) La Chine et ses frontières. La confrontation Chine-Taiwan , Paris , Presses des Sciences Po, 2005, translated and published in Chinese as a special issue of the journal Renlai ( Taipei ), January 2007. He has also published numerous articles and contributions in English on China 's political system and reform, Chinese law, the relations across the Taiwan Strait and Taiwanese politics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne).

Yves Camus
, after completing post-graduate studies on Chinese Buddhism (1974), has supervised (1985-1998) the up-dated compilation of a Chinese-French dictionary, the Grand Dictionnaire Ricci de la Langue Chinoise in 7 volumes (300,000 entries, Paris, 2002). One of the Founding Members of the Institute, for two terms (1999-2007) as Associate Director he has taken part in the conception and development of its Research and Cultural activities, especially as Director of Publication of the bi-lingual quarterly journal 神州交流 - Chinese Cross Currents, launched in January 2004. He has recently been appointed Editor of the periodical and Research Fellow of the Institute. His main fields of research and interests are Chinese philosophical and spiritual traditions in modernity.

Guo Yidun
, Associate Professor of English with the Center of Foreign Languages, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, graduated from the English Department, Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing (1981), attended Whitman College, USA (1983-85) and visited Aston University in the UK (Sept. 2002-March, 2003). His name is included in the Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese Translators and Interpreters. Prof. Guo started translating in 1980. His publications include 21 books such as A Handbook of Sexology (Tianjin People's Publishing House, 1992) and Letters of Rosa Luxemburg (Guizhou People's Press, 2001), and translations of about 40 academic papers (five of them published by the Oxford University Press, 13 in the Review of Culture and the rest in the Chinese Cross Currents). Prof. Guo has also published a dozen papers such as “Comment on English for International Conferences” (2004), which is reprinted by three journals and four websites.

Dominique Tyl, S.J., was a contributor to China News Analysis, Hong Kong, and later worked in China in various work units; he then taught at Fujen Catholic University, Taipei, where he was appointed Director of the Socio-Cultural Research Centre, and Director of the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation Studies. He is now a member of the Macau Ricci Institute and coordinator of the Programme of Social Work at Inter-University Institute of Macau.