Heritage and tourism in China

The purpose of this chapter is to provide relevant Chinese background for later chapters. First of all, this chapter briefly reviews China’s historical and traditional philosophical concepts.These ancient philosophical views, especially the theory of the ‘harmony of man and nature,’ are very important for the Chinese tourists’ emotional experience of the West Lake Cultural Landscape that I will discuss in Chapters 3 and 4. Second, this chapter discusses the history of China’s tourism development, including the influence of ancient Chinese culture on tourism attitudes influenced by traditional philosophical concepts, the four critical stages of China’s tourism development after the 1970s and the hot topic of contemporary Chinese tourism.Third, this chapter focusses on the three stages of China’s heritage management development since the signing of the H4>rW Heritage Convention in 1985, and the issue of the institutional development of Chinese heritage management.

A context: China’s history and its traditional philosophies

China has a land area of 9.6 million square kilometres (the third largest in the world), a coastline of more than 18,000 kilometres, and more than 4.7 million square kilometres of inland and coastal seas (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2016). The provincial-level administrative regions are divided into 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities directly under the central government and two special administrative territories (Gov.cn 2019). China has a long history as a nation; its culture can be traced back more than 5000 years and it leads the world in the number ofWorld Heritage sites (SACH 2019b).

China has been a one-party state since the Communist Party came to power in 1949.The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ideas and policies are derived from so-called democratic centralism (China Today 2018). China’s political system mainly includes the socialist system, the people’s congress system, thesystem of regional ethnic autonomy, the system of community-level autonomy, and the multi-party cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of the CCP (Xnhuanet.com 2018). Marxism-Leninism—Maoism is the ideology' officially established after the Communist Party of China assumed power in 1949 (Heywood 2003). However, traditional Chinese philosophies such as Confucianism and Taoism still have a profound influence on the Chinese people.

For more than 5000 years, the Chinese people have created diverse cultural heritages and have a unique understanding of cultural and natural concepts which are an essential part of Chinese traditional culture (Shan 2010a). Research on physical geography and human landscape has a long history.The Zhouyi (Jul la) of the Shang (c. 1600—c. 1046 BC) and Zhou (c. 1046—c. 771 BC) Dynasties once put forward the viewpoints of‘depending on astronomy, observing timechanging; observing humanities, turning into the world’and‘seeing the heavens in the sky and leaning on the geography.’ Shang Shu-Yong Gong ( ((inj^-M jxt)) ), which was written in the Warring States Period (475—221 BC), is the first regional geography work in China with the prototype of the Chronicles (Shan 2010a). According to the internal relations and differences of various elements of the geographical environment, the country is divided into Jiuzhou (TLjil),' establishing a regional vision centred on China, expressing the ancient local concept (Shan 2010a).

In Chinese history, from the Warring States Period to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644—1911 AD) China’s public philosophy was deeply influenced by the essential characteristics of public philosophy during the feudal period (475 BC—1911 AD) (Ye 2004). Confucian ethics and family values still dominate the grassroots of contemporary China. Many scholars believe that China is still culturally and socially conservative. From ancient times to modern times, the political system has basically not changed (Zhou 2003). China completed the transition from a slave society to a feudal society during the Warring States Period. Economic development during the feudal period led to changes in production relations and production methods, which led to the emergence of traditional Chinese philosophical concepts (Zhou 2003). Famous Chinese classical philosophers such as Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi and Mencius appeared in this period. They believe that human beings are natural products with natural attributes, and all human behaviours, ideas and morals must respect nature (M. Zhou 1999). As Laozi said in Chapter 25 of the Tao Tc Ching,

There is a kind of thing that has been created before it has existed in heaven and earth. It is silent and broad and invisible. It persists forever and never fails, and it is repeated. The earth runs in a loop and never stops. It can be used as the foundation of everything in the heavens and the earth.

I call it the ‘Tao’.2 It is endless and runs endlessly, runs continuously and stretches far away, and stretches far away to return to the original. So the Tao is great, heaven is great, earth is great, man is great. There are these four great places in heaven and earth, and man is just one of them. Among these four, people rely on the land to live and work, and prosper; the earth depends on the heaven to cultivates everything; heaven operates according to the big Dao and arrange the time series; the big Dao is natural according to its natural characteristics.3

In this sense, heaven, earth and people are inseparable. People come from nature and depend on nature to survive. People must follow the laws of nature in order to achieve sustainable development.Taoism opposes humanity as the centre and believes that man and nature are equal and dependent. A development model that excessively pursues material wealth and disregards the natural environment cannot be sustained (Shan 2008).

After the Warring States Period, the Qin Dynasty (221—206 BC) unified China and established a feudal state with authoritarian centralisation. This system of authoritarian centralisation has been sustained for more than two thousand years since the Qin Dynasty and has had a profound impact on Chinas history. After the Qin Dynasty, the Han Dynasty (206 BC—220 AD) identified Confucianism as a ‘state religion’ in 136 BC, which ensured the expansion of Confucianism and the rule of other philosophical schools (Tan 1971;Yan 2017). Confucian development has gone through four stages. They are: the pre-Qin Confucianism initiated by Confucius; the Confucianism of the Han Dynasty represented by Dong Zhongshu (179—104 BC); the Confucianism of the Song and Ming Dynasties marked by Cheng and Zhu Lixue initiated by ChenYi [1033—1107 AD| and Zhu Xi [1130—1200 AD]) and Lu and Wang Xinxue (PiZE'C?^, initiated by Lu Jiuyuan [1139—1193 AD| and Wang Shouren [1472-1529 AD]); and the four stages of modern Confucianism under the influence ofWestern learning.

Chinese traditional Confucianism has a rich humanistic spirit.This has similarities and many differences with the Western ‘human-centred’ humanism. In essence, Confucian humanism is both human-centred and personal. Dignity is bounded by the ethical framework of the principle of feudal moral conduct, which is quite different from the Western humanistic tradition (C. Li 2011). In the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC—8 AD), the feudal state was powerful. In order to maintain the situation of China’s reunification, it was necessary to establish an ideology that was compatible with it (Zhou 2003). Dong Zhongshu absorbed the elements ofTaoism and Legalism, which were conducive to the rule of the monarchy. He reformed Confucianism and added the idea of the monarchical authority and the unification of China (Zhou 2003), which favoured the strengthening of feudal centralisation and social stability. Confucianism was consolidating and gradually became the orthodox philosophy of feudal society (Yan 2017).

This is because of its core principles, that is, the philosophical concept of heaven and man, the ethical (Three Cardinal Guides and Five

Constant Virtues)’4 with the core of‘Cl (benevolence),’ and political unification (Tang 1991; Yao 2000). Fundamentally, these are ideas that adapted to the needs of the feudal autocracy. As Francis (1995) comments, Confucianism is not top-down, but bottom-up; the moral obligation to emphasise family life is the fundamental cornerstone of society. Confucian principles and rules are seen as the essence of life and the bond of community. In this way, Confucianism extends the boundaries of ethics from personal affairs to social and political spheres, providing not only ideology for the state but also a standard forjudging behaviour and thought (Yao 2000). As Yan (2017: 31) comments,‘Confucianism’s social utopia is the harmony of the individual, the group and the country.’

Confucianism is not only a set of historical norms but also a moral and ethical system that has had a profound impact on the Chinese people’s ideology (Yan 2017). One of the significant concepts, that of‘harmony between human and culture’ (or‘oneness with nature’), has widely influenced Chinese people’s sense of place (Xu 1996; Han 2006; 2012). Confucianism believes that nature has all the characteristics of human beings and is the guiding principle of human beings; human beings are members of nature, they actively participate in the creation of life in nature, and realise the ‘intrinsic value’ of nature through their spiritual creation and practical activities (Yao 2000). In Confucius’s Analects (ICiMj, he argues that‘[t]he wise man delights in water, the good man enjoys in mountains’ ({Z^’^lLi , MCK) (The Analects, Book Six, 21). In this sense, people are delighted by mountains and rivers, mainly because they have lofty and noble attributes, and not just from an aesthetic point of view. This thinking about nature from the perspective of morality has had a profound impact on China, especially for scholars. This was the first time that nature has given humanity an additional symbolic meaning in Chinese history, laying the foundation for the cultural symbolic sense of the landscape/place (Han 2006: 65).

Confucianism assumes political and ethical responsibility for the country in its social evolution, and positive and moral education, while Taoism is dominated by its negative outlook on life and romanticism (Han 2006).Taoism is another important local Chinese philosophy. It is generally believed to be derived from the philosophical thoughts of Laozi and Zhuangzi. The Taoist ideology has an essential influence on the entire East Asian culture and society. Tao is the core concept of Lao Zhuang’s philosophy (Yan 2017). One of the critical concepts ofTaoism is fcztJWuwei, which literally means ‘no action.’ It is considered to be

‘no artificial behaviour’ rather than ‘no action’ (Tao Те Ching, chapter 25). In the eyes ofTaoism, people created civilisation but lost morality. In order to avoid evil, one must be willing ‘either to flee from civilised society or to destroy it’ (Rubin 1976, quoted inYan 2017: 32). Therefore, the concept of Wuwei advocated by Taoism did not please the Chinese ruling class during the feudal period. As LinYutang (2002: 54) comments:

Taoism, in theory and practice, means a certain roguish nonchalance, a confounded and devastating scepticism, a mocking laughter at the futility of all human interference and marriage, and a certain disbelief in idealism, not so much because of lack of energy as because of a lack of faith.

However, the philosophical thinking ofTaoism reflects the broad perspective of Chinese culture, especially in the interrelation between human and nature. It is encountered in the form of philosophy, medicine, martial arts (Taiji) and music (Yan 2017).

Taoism advocates the law of nature, non-interference and harmony with nature, and maintains that the natural world is in a fundamentally harmonious dynamic balance because it is composed of interdependent relationships, so there is no conflict (Jenkins 1998).The highest pursuit ofTaoism is to use life to pursue the unity of the natural spirit, and finally to surpass the life of limited practical functions and realise a spiritual unity with nature (Han 2006). Lin (2002: 116) states that

Taoism has always been associated with the recluse, retirement to the mountain, the worship of rural life, the cultivation of the spirit and the prolongation of man’s life, and the banishment of all worldly cares and worries. From this we derive the most characteristic charm of Chinese culture, the rural ideal of life, art and literature.

In summary, both Confucianism and Taoism have taken the harmony between human and nature as an important concept, which has had a profound impact on the Chinese sense of place for over 2000 years. Chapters 3 and 4 will take West Lake as an example to discuss the emotions and feelings of tourists deeply influenced by the idea of harmony between human and nature.

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