Posted by: Third Tone Devil | 7 February 2010

Europalia China

Belgium has been hosting five months of high-profile Chinese cultural events in the framework of the Europalia programme: a prominent building in the centre of Brussels has been dressed up like a teapot. While the breadth and mix seem good (contemporary and ancient, going well beyond the stereotypes of both) the brochure of the programme suggests that the organisers have gone to the other extreme and in some cases adapted the language of Chinese officialdom wholesale. Thus exhibition captions, translated from the Chinese, speak of the Xiongnu instead of the Han; The Blue Kite, Tian Zhuangzhuang’s best-known film in the West but (or because) not shown in China, is missing from his filmography; every exhibit or event has an organiser that is invariably a Chinese “unit” and a “Belgian co-organiser” and so on.

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