Yearly Archives: 2011

Gold Medal Award / Outstanding Contribution Award

At the sixth global Confucius Institute conference in Beijing, following on from four consecutive annual awards of the title `Confucius Institute of the Year`, a special Gold Medal award was given to the University of Edinburgh’s Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea. The award for ‘Confucius Institute Outstanding Contribution’ was received by the Institute’s Director, Professor Natascha Gentz at a special ceremony held in the National Centre for the Performing Arts.


The photograph above shows Professor Gentz along with other recipients of awards for outstanding contributions, individual performance excellence and Institute and Classroom of the Year. View Larger version of image

The award to the Principal recognises his contribution in establishing the Confucius Institute for Scotland. His commitment to Sino-Scottish relations is demonstrated not only by the ongoing support for the wide array of cultural, educational and business events organised by the Confucius Institute for Scotland but also by his active participation as a Council Member of CI Headquarters where he has served for two terms, a total of four years.

Prof Natascha Gentz who received the Gold Medal and Certificate of Honour on behalf of the Principal said:

“The Institute has had a significant impact on Scotland’s strategy of engagement with China, as well as the Headquarter Council’s plans for the future development of Confucius Institutes worldwide. We`re most delighted to receive this award as another recognition of the University`s strong commitment to strengthen links with China.”

Overview of the Institute’s work

A report is available, in Chinese or English, which gives a brief overview of the Institute`s work over the five year period 2007-2011.


Please download a PDF copy of the report:
Confucius Institute For Scotland 2007-2011 [Chinese Version]
Confucius Institute For Scotland 2007-2011 [English Version]

You can also view these documents online:
Confucius Institute For Scotland 2007-2011 [Online Chinese Version]
Confucius Institute For Scotland 2007-2011 [Online English Version]

Related information

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea’s profile page
Professor Natascha Gentz’s profile page

Take One Action Film Festival-China – January 2011

Think you know China? Think again. To mark Chinese New Year, four award-winning films offering different perspectives on the complex transformations taking place in contemporary Chinese cinema, society and industry, and how they relate to the wider world will run at Edinburgh Filmhouse on Wed 25, Thurs 26, Sat 28 and Sun 29 January 2012. Please check out the Filmhouse website for timings, ticket prices and special offers.

Presented by Take One Action Film Festivals, all screenings will be followed by expert and audience discussion. This programme is supported by the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland China Education Network, Scotland-China Association and the Blackford Trust.

Wed 25th Jan 2012 (eve) `Mr Tree` (Jie Han, 2011)

This double prize winner at Shanghai Film Festival is a complex reflection on the challenges and questions arising from China`s rapidly changing rural economy. The film charts a year in the life of Mr Shu (aka Tree), a Chinese man with learning difficulties whose life allegorically mirrors the social and economic development of his home-town. Generally viewed as a benign but lazy idiot, Shu loses his job after a workplace accident but at the same time transcends community hierarchies, giving the viewer a unique insight into the ties between local leaders, families, workers, businessmen, and even the past and future. When in parallel, a locally-run mining company starts to relocate the townspeople, and Shu gets drawn into doomed marriage with a deaf mute girl, the town`s carefully maintained boundaries between order and disorder begin to unravel. Although it is never clear whether the dangers associated with a changing China are merely a mental disturbance or situated more widely, the film nonetheless begs the question: where is China going?

“A satire that bridges the personal and political with fantasy and black humour.” The Hollywood Reporter

Winner – Jury Prize, Best Director, Shanghai International Film Festival

This film will be followed by a discussion on the changing face of China’s rural economy and Chinese cinema.

Thursday 26th January 2012 (eve) `Last Train Home` (Lixin Fan, 2009)

Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos, as all at once, a tidal wave of humanity attempts to return home by train. It is the Chinese New Year. The wave is made up of millions of migrant factory workers, and the homes they seek are the rural villages and families they left behind to find work in the booming coastal cities. It is an epic spectacle that tells us much about China, as it rapidly modernises and increases its global economic dominance. Last Train Home draws us into the fractured lives of a single migrant family caught up in this annual migration. Intimate and candid, the film paints a human portrait of the dramatic changes sweeping China.

“An exceptional documentary… stunningly photographed.” IndieWire

Winner – Best Feature Documentary, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

This showing will be followed by a discussion

Saturday 28th January 2012(eve) `Apart Together` (Wang Quan’an, 2010)

In his follow-up to the Berlin Golden Bear winner `Tuya`s Marriage`, director Wang Quan’an has fashioned a bittersweet late life romance, reuniting former lovers separated some fifty years earlier by the end of China’s civil war.

When a political thaw permits surviving veterans in Taiwan to return to Shanghai to visit their families, ex nationalist soldier Liu returns to his native city Shanghai to find the first love of his life, Qiao, who he left behind, pregnant, five decades earlier. In the meantime, Qiao has married and built a family, but Liu tracks her down and is determined to get the family’s approval to take her away with him. Made with support from the Chinese government, `Apart Together` marks a new frontier in representations of China’s history and its relationships with the outside world.

“An engaging chamber piece about autumnal romance, bittersweet memory and self-sacrifice.” The Times

Winner – Best Screenplay, Berlin International Film Festival
This programme will be followed by a discussion

Sunday 28th January 2012 (eve) `Manufactured Landscapes` (Jennifer Baichwal, 2008)


In this series of extraordinary visual portraits, renowned artist Edward Burtynsky travels through China photographing the evidence and effects of its massive industrial revolution and the implicit impact on the environment. Director Jennifer Baichwal captures the artist at work amid some of the most surreal landscapes of the 21st century: the mountains of `ewaste` in China where 50% of the world`s computers end up to be recycled; the Yangtze Valley where whole towns are being demolished to make way for the Three Gorges Dam and the crowded skyline of Shanghai which has recently attracted millions of new inhabitants.

“Powerful! Engrossing! Unsettlingly beautiful!” LA Times

Winner – Best Canadian Film, Toronto International Film Festival

This showing will be followed by discussion about Chinese industrialisation and its social and environmental impacts.

Free School Screening `Please Vote For Me`(2009) Wed 25th Jan 2012 at 10.30am

Sponsored by SCEN
Although millions of Chinese recently voted in China’s version of Pop Idol, political elections in China currently only take place only inside the Communist Party. Against this background, `Please Vote For Me` follows the experiment of one grade 3 class in an elementary school in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where three eight year old candidates stand for election to the coveted position of class monitor. As their campaigns progress, they are abetted and egged on by teachers and their doting parents, whose actions start to influence the results.

Director Weijun Chen’s film explores how, if democracy came to China, it would be received. Is democracy a universal value that fits human nature or do elections inevitably lead to manipulation? `Please Vote for Me` paints a portrait of a society and a town through a school, its children and its families.

For more world-changing cinema visit

Record numbers for HSK exam in 2012

The growing importance of China and Chinese language is shown by the significant increase in the number of HSK candidates registered with the Confucius Institute for Scotland in 2012.

The HSK exam which was significantly revised in 2010 to be more appropriate for non-immersive learners drew a pool of 101 candidates, up from 34 in 2011. Candidates sat exams at five different levels with an increasing number also opting to sit the optional oral component of the exam known as HSKK.

With plans being finalised to offer candidates an online option in the future we anticipate that the number of people who want to test their skill level in this globally recognised and globally run examination will continue to increase.

Information on the 2013 HSK exam diet in May next year will be published around March 2013. An online trial test may be available in early spring.

Please email to let us know of your interest in a future HSK exam and we will contact you as soon as information is available.

Meantime for details of the HSK 2012 exam please visit

HSK Exams 03 Dec 2011

The exam timetable for those students sitting HSK exams on Saturday 3 December is now confirmed. All registered students should have received their admission cards which must be brought to the exam. Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.

HSK 5: 09.30-11.30
HSK 4: 09.30-11.10
HSK 3: 10.00-11.30
HSK 2: 11.30-12.20
HSK 1: 12.00-12.35

Good luck to all candidates! The next round of HSK exams will take place in May 2012. Registration should be available from March 2012. Please email us if you wish to be notified when the registration opens for the May 2012 exam diet.

Calligraphy and Beyond – November 2011

A special guest lecture by Antje Richter from the University of Colorado will examine the letters of Wang Xizhi in both form and content on Wed 30 Nov from 6pm.

Whilst famous for the beauty of the calligraphy, Prof Richter will consider more fully the content of this unique corpus of early medieval epistolary texts.


The scholar-official Wang Xizhi (303–61),famous for his calligraphy, is one of the greatest cultural icons of Chinese culture. Except for a handful of other pieces, we know of his handwriting exclusively from hundreds of very short, casual letters, which he wrote to friends and family. Celebrated as many of these letters may be, they are mostly appreciated for the beauty of their calligraphy, while their content remains largely ignored.

But Wang Xizhi’s letters also constitute a unique corpus of early medieval epistolary texts, unparalleled in transmitted literature, not only in terms of sheer quantity but also in their apparent informality and intimacy. In this talk Antje Richter will introduce the structure, main rhetorical strategies, and literary characteristics of these notes in the broader context of early medieval letter writing culture focusing on two recurrent topics: firstly, the lament of separation from the addressee and, secondly, Wang Xizhi’s epistolary treatment of his health or rather lack thereof. Analyzing the relation between the letters’ frequent use of epistolary clichés and set phrases vis-à-vis their power to convey authentic, personal sentiments, she will set out the argument that the overwhelming topicality of these letters does not reduce their epistolary efficacy. Even letters that seemingly lack any particular message and consist of nothing but convention have the potential to fulfill genuine communicative functions, to a great extent independently of their calligraphic appeal.


Antje Richter (PhD Munich, 1998) taught at the universities of Kiel and Freiburg (Germany) before she became an assistant professor of Chinese at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2007. She is the author of two monographs and a number of articles on various aspects of Chinese literature, medicine and art. Her research interests include the epistolary culture of mediaeval China, literary thought (especially in Wenxin dialogue), reflections on nature and wilderness in the poetry of Xie Lingyun (385–433) and others, as well as literary representations of sleeping and dreaming. At the moment, she is Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellow at the Needham Research Institute in Cambridge and Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall.

VENUE: The Confucius Institute for Scotland, Abden House, 1 Marchhall Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 5HP

TIME : 6pm -7.30pm followed by a short drinks reception

BOOKING: no booking required, all welcome

HSK Workshop Sat 19 Nov

This Saturday will see a special workshop take place for those students who have registered for the December diet of the HSK Examination.

HSK is the only officially recognised qualification accepted in the People`s Republic of China. For those who want to study in China or work for a government agency a certificate at an appropriate level in this exam is vital.

With registration for December now closed the next opportunity to seek this door opening qualification will be in May 2012. For more details on HSK please click here.

If you have any questions please call us on 0131 662 2180 or email our office on

Panda Pals Competition

With the arrival of the Giant Pandas to Edinburgh Zoo drawing ever closer a special competition organised by the Chinese Embassy in London is offering one lucky winner the chance to win a trip to China!

Entries are being sought from all primary schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland for the art competition. Secondary schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland where there the study of China and Chinese is underway can enter the secondary school competition.

Please read the three PDFs below which provide general background and detailed information on the the Primary and Secondary school competitions. But be quick! The deadline for entries is 15th December 2011.

To take part please complete and return the Confucius Institute registration form ASAP, then notify your pupils to start their preparations by visiting to find out more about these very special creatures.

On the Eve of 1911 Revolution – October 2011

Join us at on Thursday 27 Oct for an exploration of the historical-political arena of Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary attempt, the role of the new elites and the historical context leading up to October 10th, 1911 when Associate Professor Jia Jane SI from Fudan University will present this lunchtime talk till 3pm including Q&A. No booking is required for this event which will take place at the Confucius Institute for Scotland.

Holding a B.A in Literature and an M.A. in History from Fudan University and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, Jia Jane SI’s career has taken her to the USA where she worked in St Joseph`s University, Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania. More recently she has worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Kansai University, Japan.

This talk will cover the chronological range from the last ten years of the Qing dynasty to the early Republican period, and aim to give a detailed exploration of the historical-political arena of Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary attempts. The talk will also examine the role of the new elites who led the revolution, as well as the historical context of the eve of October 10th, 1911, so as to offer a better understanding of the birth of a new China.

Defeated by Japanese navy on the sea in 1895, the Qing government eventually decided to learn from the West—yet the question was how? The three-decade long Self Strengthening Movement seemed not to bring fruitful results as expected, which in turn made Chinese officials and elites further reflect upon the so-called modernization issues. Although the Movement initiated the translation and learning of Western sciences and technologies, the majority of Chinese gentry-literati still lived in the mental universe of their own tradition. After 1896, a segment of the literati realized that China was facing a new situation. Not only the navy, industry, railway system, and cotton factory were included in the modernisation plan, the second step during the 1898 “Hundred Days” Reform introduced Western philosophy and thoughts on political institutions, as well as brought about changes for newspapers, school systems, and various channels related to local civil society.

The Empress Dowager Cixi’s coup d’état in September 1898 and the Boxers Uprising afterward jeopardized China’s future heavily, and meanwhile, anti-Manchu sentiments were fermenting among the revolutionary gentry-class, particularly in southern China. The concept of national sovereignty, an idea of political nationalism, was constructed in many revolutionary writings. Treaties signed with foreign powers lacked equality and thus national sovereignty was impaired. The new Nationalism aroused around 1900 marked the awakening of patriotism, based on which the idea of a new Republican China was elaborated.

Awards and Honours

2005-2006 Dissertation Fellowship, Graduate School of Arts and Science, Univ. of Pennsylvania
2002-2004 William Penn Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania.
April 2004 Wason Collection Library Grant, Cornell University.
2001-2002 Haney Foundation Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
August 2000 “Young Scholar Award for Outstanding Academic Paper.” Issued by Scientific Committee of Chinese Historical Geography and Tan Qixiang-Yu Gong Foundation

Recent Publications (Primary Author):

2010 《麦都思〈三字经〉与新教早期在华及南洋地区的活动》,《学术研究》第12期,112-119页。

《见闻、谈资与讽刺诗 ——中国洋泾浜英语在十八至二十世纪初西方出版物中的流传》,载《九州学林》(Chinese Cultural Quarterly) 春夏季: 172-189.

2009 Circulation of English in China: Speakers, Historical Texts, and a New Linguistic Landscape. VDM Verlag, 2009.

“Collecting and Collection: Local Chinese Culture in Robert Morrison’s Dictionary” Fudan Journal (The Humanities and Social Sciences), 4 (Dec. 2009).

“Breaking through the ‘Jargon’ Barrier: Early 19th century missionaries’ response on communication conflicts in China. Frontiers of History in China, 4.3 (Sept. 2009): 340-357.


2008 “Life around English: The Foreign Loan Word Repertoire and Urban Linguistic Landscape in the Treaty Port of Shanghai.” Fudan Journal (The Humanities and Social Sciences), 1 (Mar. 2008): 126-143.

Rising China and Global Justice – October 2011

Join us on Tues 25 Oct when Ian Holliday, professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong delivers a seminar entitled `Rising China and Global Justice`.

Professor Holliday`s research focuses on Burma/Myanmar: issues of political development and reform inside the country, and issues of political engagement confronting actors in the wider world.

His talk on`Rising China and Global Justice` will take place at the Confucius Institute for Scotland on Tuesday 25 Oct 2011 from 6pm-7.30pm following which there will be a short drinks reception.

To reserve a seat please email or call us on 0131 662 2180.

His most recent publication is Burma Redux: Global Justice and the Quest for Political Reform in Myanmar. His teaching addresses dilemmas of humanitarian intervention in Burma/Myanmar and elsewhere.

Each summer he directs the MOEI programme, which takes students to the Thai-Burma border and other parts of Southeast Asia to deliver intensive English language classes in marginalized and impoverished communities.

He co-edits the journal Contemporary Politics and was a founding co-editor of Party Politics and of the Journal of Asian Public Policy. He currently serves on about a dozen journal editorial boards. He was educated at the University of Cambridge (BA/MA) and the University of Oxford (MPhil/DPhil).

He taught at the University of Manchester in the 1990s and at City University of Hong Kong in the early 2000s. In the late 1990s he was a Fulbright scholar at New York University. From 2006 to 2011, he was Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.

TALK TITLE: Rising China and Global Justice
VENUE: Confucius Institute for Scotland, Abden House, 1 Marchhall Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 5HP
DATE & TIME: Tuesday 25th October 6pm-7.30pm followed by a short drinks reception.
BOOKING INFO: email to or phone 0131 662 2180

100th Anniversary Exhibition

A special photographic exhibition of 80 images marking the 100th Anniversary of the 1911 Revolution will be held in the University of Edinburgh`s Adam House on 4th, 5th and 6th November.

The 1911 Revolution, also known as the Xinhai Revolution ended imperial rule in China and ushered in Asia`s first republic.

Friday 4th November : 10.00-17.00
Saturday 5th November: 10.00-17.00
Sunday 6th November : 10.00-14.00

This touring exhibition has been organised by the London office of the Chinese Embassy with support from the Consulate General`s offices in Manchester and Edinburgh. The venue for the exhibition has been arranged by the Confucius Institute for Scotland.

The event is co-hosted by the London Bureau of Xinhua News Agency and the Confederation of Chinese Associations UK. The exhibition has been produced by C Cubed Media. Special support has been given by COSCO (UK) Ltd.

Adam House, 5 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HT
Friday 4th November : 10.00-17.00
Saturday 5th November: 10.00-17.00
Sunday 6th November : 10.00-14.00