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MAY . 09 2018

Peking University, May 7, 2018: On May 4, 2018, Peking University celebrated its 120th anniversary. In the morning, Peking University held the commemorative celebration at the Khoo Teck Puat Gymnasium. As the night fell, an artistic performance was held at the grand auditorium of the PKU Hall.

At 8:00 PM, the curtain was raised and the artistic performance began with a shining plaque of the Imperial University of Peking appearing on a large screen above the stage, symbolizing the founding of Peking University in 1898 as part of the Hundred Days’ Reform. A streak of dazzling light departed from the plaque and crawled up the high wall of the auditorium. The light circled the whole auditorium and then returned to the center of the large screen, where the plaque of the Imperial University of Peking was replaced by the plaque of Peking University, implicating the university’s historic transition. The audience responded with sustained and thunderous applause as a combination of photos and captions that indicated the most remarkable moments in the history of Peking University slowly emerged on the walls along with the streak of light.

Established in 1898 as the Imperial University of Peking, Peking University is the first national institution established for higher education in China and upon its establishment, also served as the highest administration for national higher education under the Qing Dynasty. Throughout its one hundred and twenty years of history, Peking University has continuously played a leading role in China’s pursuit of modern higher education. Peking University was notably influential in a series of crucial national events to the extent that the university’s history has been closely tied to the history of modern China.

Reflecting the rich history of Peking University, the whole performance celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the university was comprised of three chapters and displayed PKU’s history with artistic and elaborate expression.

The first part of the performance was titled “Keep moving through reforms”(革故鼎新), which literally means abolish what is old and establish in its place the new order of things. This chapter began with the dancing “My 1898”, representing the very beginning of Peking University as part of the Hundred Days’ Reform. The dancing was followed by the musical “Mr Dazhao”, the protagonist of the musical Li Dazhao served as the head of the library at Peking University and was influential in the May Fourth Movement, he was also a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party. Following the musical and joined by a Peking University student, the celebrated Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang performed a piano duet of the Yellow River Cantata.

Also presented in the first chapter was the singing of “Song of the New Autumn” by a grand chorus ofPeking University professors, students and alumni, as well as students from the PKU affiliated kindergarten. And to commemorate the successful play of “ March toward Brightness” at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Peking University, the Chinese Orchestra of Peking University, members of which dressed in traditional Chinese styles were assembled on the stage and played the classic “ March toward Brightness” melody with a number of different kinds of ancient Chinese musical instruments.

Opening Dancing “My 1898”

The second chapter titled “Ensure continuous growth with reform”(与古为新) was characterized by lively and spirited songs that reflect student life on Peking University’s campus, including “School Phobia”“Old Chamber” , “A Bite of PKU”, “Weiming lake is a sea” and “Love of Yanyuan Garden”. A postgraduate student from the School of Software and Microelectronics performed the magic show “Happy Birthday PKU” that had the audience’ eyes fixated on the cards in his hands through the whole play and incessantly caused exclamations from the audience as he performed conjuring tricks.

The climax of the second chapter came as the hosts announced that there would be a live contact with the Mount Everest expedition of Peking University at Everest Base Camp. The expedition had been attempting to reach the top of Mount Everest to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of Peking University. President of Peking University Lin Jianhua was invited to speak to the expedition. Lin Jianhua not only congratulated the expedition for their encouraging accomplishment and forwarded President Xi Jinping’s regards to the members of the expedition, but also asked the team to be safe in trying to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Students singing “A Bite of PKU”

President of Peking University Lin Jianhua speaking to the members of the Mount Everest Expedition

The final chapter titled “Integrity, Creativity and Futurity”(守正创新) began with the opera “ Song of Youth”. The magistrate of Midu County of Yunnan Province played the classic folk rhyme of Midu “Little Running River” with a leaf he found at the PKU campus. Midu County is a nationally designated poverty-stricken county, Peking University has long supported the county’s education by sending volunteers and assisted the county government in city planning and investment attracting. Representing the people of the County, the magistrate extended gratitude to Peking University and invited more teaching staff and students of Peking University to visit Midu County in the future. The magistrate’s play and interview by the hostess was followed by the dancing “Dreams Ahead” and musical “Imagine the New Era”. The night’s artistic performance was concluded by a chorus joined by the university’s professors and alumni singing “Daxueren”.

A student chorus singing “Imagine the New Era”


Reported by: Wang Yuxiang
Edited by: Zhang Jiang
Photo Source: PKU News(Chinese)

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