Friday, March 13, 2015

Thirty years of qigong research

Thursday was the thirtieth anniversary of the (re)establish- ment of the Shanghai Qigong Institute. As a friend of a French-Catalan couple who are involved with the place, I got to attend the festive opening of their museum, the biggest museum dedicated to Qigong in China. They had a small museum before (1993, updated in 2000) but this new one is thrice the size of the original - over 200 square meters. One has to wonder who paid for this expansion... I can't say I inspected everything on display and mentioned in the Chinese-French official visit, but it seems a bit of a stretch. The three rooms of the historical section have no actual historical artifacts, though there are two replicas of artifacts and several of the kinds of statues you can find in shops in any Chinatown in the US; pablum from classic texts confirms that qigong is safely ancient, Chinese and - this may be key - medical. The contemporary section is more interesting, and tells of the abiding commitment to qigong research in communist China (except, of course, for the nearly fatal years of the Cultural Revolution), ending with a photo of the current president with a quote about the value of traditional Chinese medicine. Token of renewed commitment from the Party or an appeal for such commitment?

Oh, and I got to (had to!) be in the commemorative group photo.

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