Monthly Archives: December 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.

conference

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.

report

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)

Synopsis
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)

Synopsis
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)

Synopsis
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)

Synopsis

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.
Plus…

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

Sponsored by SCEN
Synopsis
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 www.takeoneaction.org.uk

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 info@confuciusinstitute.ac.uk 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 www.confuciusinstitute.ac.uk/hsk