Chapter 560 "Why Should I Forgive You"!
Bai Yi stopped his speech midway.
The other people also turned to where the voice sounded from.
The person who had interrupted the speech was a head of the school. Seemingly having just gotten off a phone call, he hurriedly yelled out and interrupted the speech, "Wait a moment, there are some important guests arriving!"
Who could they be?
So important that they even had to interrupt the speech?
Upstairs, the university delegation group stood up and faced the main entrance upstairs respectfully. A few leaders of the group went outside the hall themselves to receive the guests with a different attitude from what they had been giving to the Chinese earlier. A few escorts from the Peking University side also went along to receive the guests. This phone call was quite unexpected as there was no advanced notice to inform them. Then, it turned out that the guests were actually high-ranking officials from the Japanese political delegation. As there was a change in their afternoon schedule, and possibly hearing of the Sino-Japanese University Exchange that was taking place today, the team had chosen to come and make a visit here!
"I don't know."
"Aiyo, I think it's one of the Japanese political delegations!"
"They're here at Peking University too?"
"Oh, why are there so many reporters here as well!"
The first thing they saw upstairs when the doors opened were not people but camera flashes going off continuously. About 20 Chinese and Japanese reporters came along with the group, and they were busy photographing and recording the delegation on the way here. A Central TV reporter who tripped and fell got up quickly to continue photographing without even dusting off his shirt.
It was a delegation of around a dozen people or so.
The group was led by a Japanese official named Matsumoto. "Hello."
The Peking University group immediately welcomed them, "Welcome, welcome."
Matsumoto smiled and said, "#$%^&!"
The translator said, "We heard about this Sino-Japanese University Exchange event today and were very interested in attending as we are very pleased to see such a cooperation taking place. Please go on with the ceremony and ignore our presence."
With the arrival of important guests, they were naturally invited to take a seat in the front row upstairs. The Japanese university delegation immediately stood up to let the newly arrived guests take the front row, while they themselves settled down behind them. As for the rest of the seats, they were taken up by the Peking University's escort staff as well as the Chinese government officials who were accompanying the Japanese political delegation. A few familiar faces were spotted in the crowd, consisting of some officials from the Chinese education world. They were here to accompany the Japanese political delegation today.
A Chinese government official said to a Peking University staff member, "Go on, don't further interrupt the event because of us."
The Peking University staff nodded. "Yes sir, Teacher Bai was just in the middle of giving a speech just now. We will continue from there." He then gave a signal to the stage for them to restart the ceremony.
The Peking University students were all silent. Some of them occasionally turned their heads to look upstairs. As they had not before seen so many important people gathered together at once, they couldn't help themselves, whispering and making noises.
Seeing how even the political delegation was here, Bai Yi was very surprised. As though he had suddenly been injected with an adrenaline shot, he straightened his posture and took a deep breath to suppress his nervousness before opening his mouth to continue with his speech, "Right now, we're interested with the cultural level of the Japanese, as well as the systematic and political levels. What we have yet to currently achieve in the latter has already been achieved by the Japanese, as well as some Western countries. As the Western countries and Japan are aligned on these levels, it becomes something that Westerners take for granted. What interests them in Japan are its culture, politics, as well as its history. This is the reason why our feelings are more complex than Westerners when it comes to such issues."
As Bai Yi was not a professional literary person, his speech was not as well written as Professor Yan's. It was not written with structure but still managed to express the core idea that he wanted to assert.
"Our concern with Japan is to set them as the 'other' so that we may learn from them. But such a viewpoint originates from the expectations that China has set for herself. Based on the development towards those goals, and using Japan as the 'other,' we are undoubtedly still going to experience all of it as China. We are able to stand freely in the consciousness of the problems and set off after observing Japan, keeping Japan as the 'other' in this whole process. But in order to do all of this, we need to show everyone our perspectives and observations, not be an inadequate observer or doer. If we were to show an incomplete side of us, it would not be fair to Japan as well."
Some people had their reservations about this viewpoint but they could understand it very well. Talking about the thoughts towards Japan from this perspective was indeed rather rare.
Upstairs, Matsumoto nodded as he whispered to the official beside him.
Bai Yi: "We need to set an example starting from ourselves, to learn to forgive..."
Bai Yi: "We need to start from ourselves, to learn to respect..."
One by one, he listed his perspectives and finally, he said, "Without understanding, there is no right to speak. We need to learn how to understand other people, other countries, to learn how to forgive and respect another person or country. Yes, that is what I want to say and so my speech will end here. Thank you, everyone." Bowing, he left the stage.
Matsumoto led the applause!
The political delegation followed his lead and clapped loudly!
The Tokyo University students and teachers also clapped warmly!
Only the Peking University students downstairs were very silent. Some of them did clap, but their eyes showed no spirit and their clapping was mechanical. Many of them felt as though something heavy weighed on them, thinking about how the speeches were so reasonable. Yet they were unable to accept them. It was as though something was wrong, somewhere!
Some Peking University teachers felt the same.
Su Na took a few deep breaths and even felt a sense of regret.
Another History Department professor in his fifties could only sit there expressionless, not saying a word.
At this moment, many people felt that they had something to say but could not say it, nor did they know how to say it, especially when the Japanese political delegation and university delegation were both upstairs. And so, they could only applaud and go with the flow.
A Peking University female student mumbled to herself, "Was our attitude in the past really wrong? There's no meaning to that? We need to learn to forgive?
The freshman beside her shook his head. "I also don't know."
Another freshman who was classmates with them said, "Professor Yan and Teacher Bai have already said so, then it must surely be reasonable. Hai, I just feel a little uncomfortable but unsure why I feel that way."
Another student said, "We really cannot just throw away the Japanese products in our houses."
At the back, Yao Mi was totally silent.
Li Li said, "Mimi, what's wrong?"
Yao Mi clenched her fists. "I don't feel well. I want to go back now."
"You don't feel well?" Li Ying asked, concerned.
Beside her, Senior Song had a dark expression. "She must be feeling a sense of unease in her heart. I feel the same, like there's something stuck in the chest and won't go away!"
Senior Zhou was also thinking about Teacher Bai's speech. "Forgiveness?"
At this time, the host went on stage to introduce the next speaker, "Next up, we have famed mathematician, Teacher Zhang Ye of the Math Department of Peking University, giving a speech on academics. Please welcome him." There was no mention of Dale's Conjecture as it was still being validated by the authorities. Since it had not been fully verified yet, there was of course no comment on Zhang Ye proving a mathematical conjecture.
Applause sounded throughout the hall.
But among the Peking University's students and teachers below stage, many of them were feeling quite bored by now.
Upstairs, a Peking University staff introduced to the political delegation, "That is Zhang Ye. He was the mathematician who made a breakthrough in the proof of Dale's Conjecture."
The Japanese mathematician interrupted, telling Matsumoto, "Dale's Conjecture has not been verified yet, so it's not been confirmed."
The translator did not tell this to the Chinese.
Matsumoto and a few other Japanese officials nodded and looked at Zhang Ye interestedly.
The other political and university delegations also focused on Zhang Ye, including those Japanese reporters who also pointed the cameras over to him. They were very interested in knowing how he had managed to solve Dale's Conjecture.
The atmosphere upstairs was very different from downstairs, like ice and fire.
Zhang Ye, with script in hand, proceeded up to the stage. He could feel the current mood of the Peking University students. On the other side, Professor Zhang had gone upstairs after his speech and joined the political delegation, while Bai Yi had also briskly made his way upstairs after his speech, probably eager to meet the Japanese officials. Zhang Ye just stood on stage, looking around at one person and then another, glancing upstairs and sweeping his eyes back downstairs. There were all kinds of expressions on people's faces, but none were lively.
The host shot him a meaningful glance.
Su Na could not understand what Zhang Ye was doing either.
Dean Pan looked at him, thinking if he had forgotten what to say. But how could that be with a memory like yours? Even if you really forgot, you could still read from the script, no?
Forgiveness and respect?
Zhang Ye asked that to himself again in his mind.
Then, he held the script up firmly and scanned it. He knew that in this current setting, with thousands of pairs of eyes on him, with the political delegate present as well, in the environment of friendly Sino-Japanese ties, he should put himself above the situation and let them say whatever they wanted. He could just follow the script and read it line for line and his task would be complete. That was really what he thought, and so, he opened his mouth wanting to speak, but found himself unable to make any sound at all. It was like an inner voice was shouting constantly at him.
He lowered his hand and looked around, then placed the script onto the rostrum. He held the microphone tightly, finally ready to speak.
When he said the first sentence, everyone who had been expecting him to talk about academics and Dale's Conjecture were taken aback.
Zhang Ye spoke in a light, calm tone, "The Japanese Prime Minister is on a political visit to China. The Japanese political delegation is here on a visit to Peking University. All these to the cheers of many countrymen applauding them: Turning over a new leaf for the friendship between China and Japan!"
It suddenly became quiet upstairs!
When Matsumoto heard the translation, he had a look of bewilderment.
Professor Yan was stunned!
Bai Yi also stared down at Zhang Ye who was standing at the rostrum!
The Chinese and foreign reporters, Peking University's students and teachers, including many of those who were still immersed deep in thought from the earlier two speeches-all of these people suddenly looked up in surprise!
Zhang Ye calmly went on, "Professor Yan's new perspective has found a footing, Teacher Bai's goodwill theory for Japan has gotten practical support. There are some who claim that there are more Japanese who know China well, compared to Chinese who know Japan well. There are some who are broken-hearted over how the Chinese aren't as civilized and courteous as the Japanese. There are some who curse at the narrow-mindedness and nationalistic countrymen, lacking the standing of superpower...It seems that the decades of abnormal relations between our countries after the war were the fault of us Chinese. We should be the ones turning the pages of history, to face the future, so that we can open up new situations for friendly relations between China and Japan."
Under the cover of silence, a "pui" sound that came without warning reverberated across the hall, startling everyone into cold sweats!
Zhang Ye slammed his hand on the surface of the rostrum and said, "Why should I forgive you! Japan!!!"