Legendary scholar Sheng Cheng: Chiang Kai Shek once admitted that he “had a set of tricks”

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He was one of the “three boys of 1911”. At the age of 12, he was personally received by Sun Yat Sen; He was the chairman of the “national salvation League of ten” of the Beijing Han railway trade union in Changxindian during the May 4th movement; He shocked the French literary world with my mother, and became close friends with the world’s literary giants such as Valerie, Bernard Shaw, Gide, Hemingway, Tagore, etc; He was a guest of honour of French presidents de Gaulle and Mitterrand, Turkish President Kemal, and Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh; He got to know the ancestors of “dada” such as Chala, Toussaint and ALP. At the age of 76, he was praised as “the last dada alive” by the French government; He is a student of Zhang Taiyan and Ouyang, and a close friend of Xu Beihong and Qi Baishi; He was a war reporter specially approved by lizongren. He went to the front line of Taierzhuang and recorded the epic war; He was Zhang Ji’s private secretary and Chiang Ching Kuo’s special clerk. Even Chiang Kai Shek had to admit that he was “very skillful”; Besides Bajin, he was the second person who won the “Knight Medal of the French legion of honor” in China at that time.

He is Sheng Cheng. This legendary figure among modern Chinese literati is seldom known by modern people. Recently, the Memoirs of Sheng Cheng and his internationally renowned “my mother” were published by Shaanxi people’s publishing house. The two books bring us back to that turbulent era and open the door to understand this legendary figure.

Sheng Cheng died in 1996. Our reporter interviewed Mr. Sheng’s disciple, Professor maheqing and huyulong of Beijing Language and Culture University, and scholar Xu Yi who has been engaged in Sheng Cheng research for a long time. In their memories, Sheng Cheng’s life witnessed the good fortune of the 20th century Chinese modern history, and also witnessed a lost history of cultural and political exchanges between China and France.

Circumstantial evidence of modern Chinese history

“Sheng Cheng’s memoirs is the last work of Professor Sheng Cheng’s writing career.” In maheqing’s impression, this memoir was compiled from the oral records of Sheng Cheng when he was alive. In 1993, it was published by Beijing Language and Culture Institute Press as “old world new book: Memoirs of Sheng Cheng”. Unfortunately, only 1500 copies were printed that year, and it was not widely circulated. It’s sad to say that such a powerful figure, who straddles the literary, political and academic circles, has been obliterated.

Maheqing told the reporter that this book describes what Sheng Cheng experienced in more than 60 years from his return from overseas in October 1930 to his closing in September 1993. It can be read as a circumstantial evidence of modern Chinese history.

The book recalls his contacts with Zhang Taiyan and Ouyang, and also describes his friendship with his friend Xu Beihong. As a high-level figure in the Republic of China, even on the night of the September 18th Incident, Sheng Cheng personally met Zhangxueliang who was listening to the theater, and sent the urgent military information in Northeast China to Zhangxueliang. When the all-round war of resistance against Japan broke out, Sheng Cheng went to Taierzhuang in person and was specially approved by lizongren as a war reporter, leaving behind a number of valuable historical materials. In the years of war, Sheng Cheng devoted himself to the education sector and contributed to the construction of Guangxi University and Sun Yat sen University. On the eve of the victory of the war of resistance against Japan, Sheng Cheng went to Taiwan and was placed under house arrest by the authorities. A conflict between him and Chen Cheng even alerted Chiang Kai Shek, who had to make the final decision. After Chiang Ching Kuo came to power, he chartered Sheng Cheng free activities. Sheng Cheng was able to go to Europe and the United States, where he was warmly treated by French President Charles de Gaulle and Spanish president. In 1976, Sheng Cheng returned to the mainland and was later awarded the “legion of honor” by the French government. This is the second person in China to win this honor after Bajin.

In the book, there are also photos of Sheng Cheng and his friends that were made public for the first time, which are extremely valuable. For example, Xu Beihong’s paintings of horses and Qi Baishi’s inscriptions were given to Sheng Cheng, Ouyang did not have a handwritten couplet to give to Sheng Cheng, and took a group photo with Bajin and his wife.

Extensive research and “unification”

In maheqing’s memory, Mr. Sheng was “extremely erudite”, and his only languages include English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Sanskrit, etc. He is almost an all rounder. He has dabbled in culture, science, literature and other fields all his life. He has studied agriculture and biology, studied insects, especially silkworm eggs, written papers on animal sociology, studied the language of Gaoshan Nationality and the language of Nanyang sea area, and is proficient in French and English. He has been a professor in Peking University, Sun Yat sen University, Lanzhou University, University of Paris, Taiwan University and other institutions, and taught French poetry, French novels The history of French literature, the history of Chinese political thought and the philosophy of Confucius, Mencius and Xun are experts in international politics. They have written many highly predictive reviews of the international situation.

Huyulong still remembers that Sheng Cheng returned from overseas alone in the late 1970s and lived in a single room in the international student building of Beijing Language and Culture University. “As the deputy director of the teaching and Research Office, I often visited him. I remember that he and his wife invited me to have a small gathering in the canteen of the Academy of Sciences. I had a vague impression of what dishes were served. Only the ‘group of Scorpions’ are still fresh in my mind: eight small scorpions form a circle, open their teeth and claws, and hold up their scorpion hooks. While tasting fried scorpions, Mr. Zhang talked about his French paper scorpions and their society, and human sociology.” The universal truth of. He said: ‘although snakes and scorpions are poisonous, they have their use value. It can kill people, and it can cure the disease and save people (treating facial paralysis and stroke). When I was young, the purpose of studying scorpion society was to find something that might be enlightening and useful to us. ” end–>

In the introduction of Sheng Cheng’s memoirs, Sheng Cheng said: “this is my last collection.” What is “unification”? In maheqing’s opinion, the comment of Europe magazine is the most appropriate: “Sheng Cheng’s unification is the expansion of Confucius’ humanitarianism, a bit like Socrates. Sheng Cheng does not defend the eastern villains, nor does he provide protection for the Western villains. This shows that he is a human defender standing on the social front.” Sheng Cheng’s research field throughout his life is broad and “unified”. Huyulong said that he “hopes to find traces left by the exchanges between different cultures and find historical elements beneficial to mankind.”

Literary influence is more overseas

Although Sheng Cheng experienced many great events in modern Chinese history, his own achievements were mainly in literature.

As a writer, Sheng Cheng has written a long documentary literature and prose collection my mother, my mother and me, a documentary on studying abroad for ten years, the traces of Italy, memories of Paris, the East, West, North and south, the old world and the new – Sheng Cheng’s memoirs, a chronicle of Tai’erzhuang, a French poetry collection autumn beauty, crazy year roar, the old Gu and new wine collection, and an English book the descendants of the emperor “Ouyang has no biography”, etc. Most of Sheng Cheng’s poetic works are overseas, and his achievements in this field are even less known than his legendary experience.

The reprinted “my mother” is Sheng Cheng’s masterpiece that shocked the French literary world. After reading this novel, the French symbolist and poet paulvalery was deeply moved. He has always been reluctant to write words. He wrote a preface to the French version of this book in person, and once he wrote it, it was 16 pages of words.

What kind of work is my mother? Why did the French move so much at that time? Xu Yi, who was the chief editor of Sheng Cheng research, told the reporter that the great success of this book was accidental. As early as 1895, Valery published the Yalu River, which involved the Sino Japanese War of 1894, aiming to criticize the erosion and destruction of the ancient oriental civilization by the modern western civilization. On may18,1927, Valerie’s mother died. At that time, Sheng Cheng, a student of the school of science of Montpellier University, accidentally met Valerie, who returned from the funeral for his mother, at Montpellier station. He did not hide his desire to get to know Valery, and asked him to see my mother, which he was writing. “With my manuscripts on my body, I always thought of your meditation on the Seth hill. In front of that hill, I never stopped thinking piously. At the same time, I drew up the first few pages of my novel, about my mother.” Sheng Cheng was full of confidence in China in the future. He wrote, “because China can no longer sleep, they should stand up. In any case, young China should stand up.”. It is such a feeling that coincides with Valery’s thought.

Established modern Sino French relations

After the publication of this book, world cultural celebrities Roman Roland, Madame Curie, Bernard Shaw, Russell, metlin Gide and others all gave high marks. It is regarded as one of the typical works of French literature. Some of its chapters have been included in primary and secondary school textbooks, and various written versions have been published after the French version. Newspapers and magazines in dozens of countries have reported and commented on the book in more than 20 languages. At that time, the western world has formed a rare Chinese fever centered on Sheng Cheng and my mother. My mother With great influence in the Arab world, Sheng Cheng, who was invited to visit, was regarded as an emissary of Chinese culture. Sheng Cheng also won the “Knight Medal of the French legion of honor” with this book. At that time, he was the second Chinese besides Bajin to win this honor.

The great success of my mother surprised Sheng Cheng. When analyzed, Xu Yi said that Sheng Cheng narrated the story of his family in a leisurely manner, mingled with various events in Chinese society, and brought the readers into a huge picture of Chinese history for more than half a century since the Opium War. From this gate to the declining feudal family, Western readers see a condensed Chinese society.

Xu Yi also mentioned Sheng Cheng’s family background. His great grandmother, the Ruan family, was the cousin of Ruan Yuan, a representative of the “Han Studies of the Qianlong and Jiaqing Dynasties”; His mother, the Guo family, is the descendant of Zhang Jizhong, a disciple of the Taigu School in the late Qing Dynasty. The Taigu School is a “folk Confucian” school founded by Zhou Taigu, an Anhui native, in the Daoguang period of Jiaqing in the late Qing Dynasty. It is an undercurrent of Confucianism that does not spread widely During his 10-year stay in France, Sheng Cheng also felt lost under the influence of various social trends. However, after he went deep into the essence of French culture and had the most direct communication with French scholars, he no longer wandered and lost, but returned to the Confucian thought inherited by his family, and found a way to achieve real peace for mankind, that is, ‘the road to one’, that is, ‘the world returns to the same place in different ways’. “

In 1996, when Sheng Cheng died in Beijing, Chirac, then president of France, sent a telegram of condolences, praising Sheng Cheng for “creating a modern relationship between China and France”. Huyulong still remembers the scene when French ambassador Mahler presented Sheng Cheng with a medal on behalf of the French president in 1985. Sheng, an old man in his 80s, deliberately put on Chinese clothes, first in Chinese, and then in Chinese, “afterwards, he told me that the reason for this was that France awarded him the medal, not because of his personal achievements, but because he was a Chinese and a Chinese scholar.”

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