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Research Note Scholarship and Patriotic Education: The Great Wall Conference, 1994 ArthurWaldron
Rarely does a researcherhave the opportunity to participate in something he has described and even predicted.' This reporter was therefore both honoured and fascinated to be part of the InternationalSymposium on the Great Wall (Changcheng guoji xueshu yantao hui),sponsored by the China Great Wall Society, of which Huang Hua, the former Foreign Minister (1976-82) of the PRC, is chairman.2 The meeting was held at the Friendship Hotel, Beijing, from 22 to 24 September 1994, and drew some 120 delegates, including about a dozen foreigners.3 With its associated activities, it afforded a remarkable insight into the way that the PRC is discovering a nonCommunist past,and defining patriotism in terms that have everything to do with culture and almost nothing to do with traditional Marxist politics.4 The immediate occasion was the tenth anniversaryof Deng Xiaoping's inscription, on 1 September 1984, of the phrase Ai wo Zhonghua, xiu wo changcheng, "Love China, restore the Great Wall." That injunction was taken quite literally. Delegates learned that between1984 and 1987, more than 12 million yuan were donated for wall rebuilding, including 200,000 yuan from the government of Pakistan and US$1,000,000 from a Greek shipping magnate, and that this paid for extensive restoration work on the Great Wall. At Badaling, the most frequently visited sector, ten beacon towers and 3,000 metres of wall were reconstructed; at Mutianyu, also near the capital, fourbeacon towers and 500 metres of wall were rebuilt; at Jinshanling and Simatai, perhaps the most spectacular stretches, four beacon towers and over 2,000 metres of wall were renovated. Extensive work was also carried out at Laolongtou, Shanhaiguan, Jiumenkou and other passes. This work of reconstruction was accompanied by much systematic
1. Arthur Waldron, The Great Wall of China: From History toMyth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); "Representing China: the Great Wall and cultural nationalism in the twentieth century,"in HarumiBefu (ed.), CulturalNationalism in EastAsia (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 1993), pp. 36-60. 2. A short report of the conference appeared later in the People's Daily: Ji Ren, "Changcheng yanjiu zouxiang shijie"...