Cultural China: Good faith in millennia-long tomb-guarding promise

Culture 9

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HEFEI, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Gu Changxin, 55, is the 49th generation tomb keeper in his family for Li Bai, ancient China's iconic poet dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), who died in today's Anhui Province in east China.

Gu's family passes on the responsibility of keeping the millennia-long promise made to Li Bai as their ancestor Gu Lanxin sent his friend, the bedridden poet, a good plot of land in today's Gujia Village, Dangtu County in AD 762 as his final resting place and vowed to guard his graveyard out of respect and long-standing friendship.

Li Bai is a household name in China as Shakespeare to the United Kingdom or Tagore to India. He lived between 701 and 762, also a golden age of Chinese poetry, and his poems are brimful of patriotism and romanticism.

Gu's generation's relay of guarding the tomb serves as a great testimony to Li Bai's famous verse on good faith, "Hai Yue Shang Ke Qing, Tu Nuo Zhong Bu Yi." The words simply mean that even if the oceans dry up and mountains fall apart, the promise made remains unchangeable.

Chinese people have long cherished good faith as one of their top values and essential virtues in life and pursued harmony.

In Dangtu County, the locals' good faith has brought them more than a good reputation but also tangible benefits.

In August 2019, the county launched a pilot credit rating program in the townships of Wuxi and Huhei, which can grant the villagers low-interest unsecured loans via cooperation with local banks.

Based on solid evidence and cautious ratings on personal performances, Shi Hailin in Qifang Village received a total of 600,000 yuan (about 84,200 U.S. dollars) of loans via the program to buy raw materials, upgrade equipment and expand his crab farming business.

Shi's good faith was proven by daily good acts, including keeping promises, active participation in social welfare activities, respecting the elderly, and caring for the young.

Different from the conventional credit rating system, the county's programs advocate more good faith embodied in one's daily performances. "The loans need no collaterals because honesty is the best alternative," said Li Baogen, deputy Party secretary of Qifang Village. ■

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