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Tomb Sweeping Festival 2011

7 April 2011

The initial Tomb Sweeping (April 5 each year) was very much a family affairs, but it has now evolved into a national event. Lately, Chinese people not only tidy up the graveyards of and burn incenses to their deceased family members, but turn the occasion into a collective act of remembrance to commemorate the historical giants who left significant legacies to the community, the national heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country and the war victims who were slaughtered by Japanese armies and Western crusaders. It is in a way similar to the Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand or the Veteran's Day in the United States, but with a dimension for the concept of humanity and the depth in civilization, which reflects a culture of peace and a tradition of unity.


Chinese people traveled to Beijing to pay tribute to the Socialist China's founding father Mao Zedong. (Photo by 中新社发 侯宇)


Chinese people in Nanjing paid tribute to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre. With the help of his grandfather Tang Fulong (唐复龙), young boy Tang Yiming (唐一鸣) identified the name of his great-grandfather Tang Xuexin (唐学鑫) , one of 300,000 Nanjing residents killed by Japanese when they colonized China and occupied Chinese capital during the WWII. (Photo by 中国新闻网申冉)


The trend to expand family tomb sweeping activities into a broad commemoration is very much influenced by the recent Chinese experience of U.S. provocations and the world dramas unfolded before their eye. In today's world that is still a dangerous jungle place, Chinese found themselves being the target of the blood (and oil) thirsty beasts of pray from the West - just as what they encountered in the past with the hungry and cruel wolves from the grassland in the north - which helped them to realize that without the protection from (state) there will be no safety of (family), and without a strong (root - the tradition) there will be no lush (leaves - the development). Ultimately, 皮之不存,毛将焉附?- Without skin, from where the hair can grow? For the rabbits and sheep living in the same forest with tigers and wolves, they must put their collective rights (主权) ahead of their individual's rights (人权) if they ever want to survive and revive.

It may sound disheartening, but the brutal reality is that the day when the individual's interest can be generally placed ahead of the collective one will never come, not even in a future world of great unity (大同世界), let along in the current world of mutual hostility, because humans are social beings and the civilization can only function and develop when individuals form a coherent group, and because humanity is not the only beings living in this world, not to mention the world beyond, therefore the external threats can never be fully eliminated.

At the moment when the international community is governed by the Law of Jungle with countries trying to prey on each other, the weak ones like China must not allow themselves to be coerced into disarmament and seduced into disintegration, especially when such demands come from the beasts with the fresh blood of Iraqi, Afghan and Libyan people still visible on their mouth corners.

Let's remember what happened to the American Indians. According to one estimate, as high as 90% of the local populations were wiped out in White settlers' germ warfare against the natives in the 15th century. They lived on that land for thousands of years but ended up without a graveyard for their descendants to tidy up of and burn incense to, because they have no more land, and because they have few descendants left.

覆巢之下,焉有完卵 - When a bird's nest is overturned, no egg can remain intact.

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