On September 9, the delegation headed by Professor Xu Jialu, a famous linguist, social activist and former Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress of China, visited University College Dublin and attended the Public Lecture Series organised by UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland. The public lecture, held in the Lynch Theatre in UCD Science Hub, attracted more than 200 staff, students as well as audiences from all walks of life in Ireland including H.E. Mr. Xu Jianguo, the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland. Professor Liming Wang, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute, chaired the lecture.
Professor Xu Jialu delivered an insightful lecture entitled ‘Chinese Medicine and Chinese Philosophy’ as the keynote speaker. Given the cultural heritage of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), he illustrated his views on how to respond to the deep crisis that human beings have encountered: “Suffering from the environmental deterioration and the decline of physical constitution caused by the modern lifestyle, neither Chinese Medicine nor Western Medicine is able to solve all problems on its own. It’s incumbent on human beings to cooperate, to coordinate and to innovate in facing the same crisis and challenges.” However, he emphasized that human beings have to enhance their cultural exchanges and understandings in order to work together and overcome the crisis. The Confucius Institutes around the world have become crucial platforms and bridges for such cultural dialogues and communications. By elaborating the derivation, correlation and cultural implications of four Chinese characters 州(Zhōu)，洲(Zhōu), 舟(Zhōu), 盘(pán), Professor Xu demonstrated the close associations between learning Chinese language per se and comprehending Chinese culture as well.
Professor Cao Hongxin, Director General of Department of Science and Technology, State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, presented a brief introduction to the current practice of TCM in China and the cooperation between Chinses Medicine and Western Medicine in the world. According to Professor Cao, Western Medicine has enjoyed fast development in the past few decades in China, nevertheless, TCM still plays an irreplaceable role for Chinese people in terms of health care, disease prevention and control. In 2014, for instance, over 550 million people in China received TCM treatments. With constant innovation, TCM has been widely accepted and enjoying international reputation for its remarkable achievements in the treatment of some ‘incurable diseases’. For example, Austrian government has invested 100 million euros to develop TCM lately.
A question and answer session was followed by each of the two lectures which stimulated audiences’ enormous interests on TCM. Lively discussions had been carried out between audiences and two speakers on how to promote TCM outside China, how to deal with the survival crisis of human beings etc. After the lecture, an Irish audience who works at a local hospital shared her feelings of excitement that she had learnt a lot about TCM from the lecture and pleased to see an increasing number of Irish people starting to accept TCM. “Acupuncture has already been practiced in Irish hospitals as an alternative treatment and hopefully more treatments from TCM could be introduced to the local health system soon.” She said.