New Media Workshop delivers key messages, good insights

With a view to enhancing Myanmar-China media cooperation and deepening Swe-Myo-Pauk-Phaw friendship, Myanmar’s media delegation was cordially invited to visit the capital, Beijing, and Kunming City, a commercial hub of Yunnan Province of the People’s Republic of China. The Myanmar media delegation comprising ten representatives from nine media: MITV, The Global New Light of Myanmar, Myawady, Sky Net, Swe Myo Pauk Phaw magazine, The Standard Time Daily, Myanmar Golden Phoenix newspaper, Vidya and Monnect Group attended the New Media workshop in China from 22 to 28 April 2024. The China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration organized the workshop (also called the China Centre for International Communication Development (CCICD)) under the guidance of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Myanmar. That workshop emphasized media cooperation and digital media transformation to empower the content creator, media companies and consumers with innovative tools and platforms, cultural exchange and mutual understanding.
The Myanmar Media delegation also visited the Temple of Heaven in Beijing on 23 April. That massive complex of magnificent buildings is one of the top tourist destinations in Beijing, and it has historical facts, amazing architecture, symbolism, and numerology.
A brief introduction to the Temple of Heaven: an imperial sacrificial altar in Beijing
The dignified complex of temples is set in gardens and surrounded by historic pine woods. Visitors can visit three historic sites in the park: the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar. While visiting the Temple of Heaven, tourists can experience the grand praying ceremony of ancient emperors and observe impressive arts and crafts, the unique Echo Wall and the triple sound stones. The Temple of Heaven in Beijing is a masterpiece of ancient Chinese culture, architecture and landscape design. The entrance fee varies depending on peak season or off-season. All four gates are accessible by public transportation. Senior citizens over 60 years old with senior citizen privilege cards or related documents are free of charge, like most of China’s parks.
All the buildings share specific architectural details using circles and squares, with circles representing Heaven and squares representing Earth.
It was constructed in 1420 and used to be the palace where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped the God of Heaven and offered sacrifices to pray for bumper harvests and favourable rain. Most structures we see today were constructed in the Qing Dynasty in compliance with the layout system set in the Jianjing’s reign of the Ming Dynasty.
The compound wall was built in a semi-circle in the north and a square in the south. Surrounded by double annular walls, the Temple of Heaven is divided into an inner part and an outer part. The whole area is 273 hectares. In the inner part, ancient architectural complexes, including the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Circular Mound Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Abstinence Palace which served as a residence for the emperors during the period of abstinence before the rituals, as well as the Danbi Bridge (Red Stairway Bridge) the Long Corridor, the Seven-Star Stones, and the Nine-dragon Cypress, among others can be found. The main structure in the outer part is the Divine Music Administration, where the musicians and dancers rehearsed ritual music for ceremonies during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The Temple of Heaven is one of the ancient Chinese temples of its kind that still stands with supreme status, integrity and characteristics. In 1961, it was designated a “State Priority Protected Site’, and in 1998, it was inscribed on the World Heritage List. In 2007, it was listed among the national AAAAA scenic areas in China, and in 2009, it was listed among the national model scenic areas.

 

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
When we entered the complex, we could see the Long Corridor extending 1,148 feet long and 16 feet wide. The corridor is a popular gathering place for people to sit and read or hang out with friends. The senior citizens also play board games. It is a spot for daily exercises and dancing groups. Walking along the corridor, it leads up to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, which sits atop three levels of marble stone base. We felt amazed at the iconic structure. The building is constructed with only wood. The original building of the Qing Dynasty was built in 1420, but a fire burned it down. It was reconstructed 150 years ago. The four columns along the inner circle represent the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter), and the 12 columns along the middle circle represent 12 months. All the buildings have dark blue roof tiles, representing Heaven.
There is a famous tree called the Nine Dragon Juniper. It was named after the groves in the tree’s trunks, which looked like nine dragons wreathing up towards the sky. There is a small pavilion for snacks and souvenirs.
Danbi Bridge
Danbi Bridge is a 360-metre-long and 30-metre-wide avenue, extending from the Circular Mound Altar to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.
Lingxing Gates
These gates are made of white marble in the specialized gate form for the surrounding walls of ancient altars, similar to the monumental archway. The outer and inner surrounding walls of the Circular Mound are each equipped with four groups of gates, each group with three gates, totalling 24 Linxing gates, known as “Cloud Gates Towering Like Jades”.
Imperial Vault of Heaven
From the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, one can catch a glimpse of the structure: the Imperial Vault of Heaven, a smaller circular building constructed with crossbeams. The marble stone base is surrounded by a circular wall known as the Echo Wall. It is considered that if one speaks into it, another one on opposite ends of the wall can hear.
Circular Mound Altar
The Circular Mound Altar is an open, three-layered circular stone altar. The number nine represents the Emperor, so the balusters and steps are related to the number nine. At the very centre of the altar is a round slate (the Heart of Heaven) where the Emperor prayed for favourable weather. Nine circles of stones surrounded it. Some visitors stood in line to pray at the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.
Heavenly Centre Stone
As the surface of the uppermost terrace of the Circular Mound is paved with nine concentric rings of stone slabs, the round stone slab in the centre is called the Heavenly Centre Stone. It is surrounded from the inside to the outside by nine stones in the first ring, 18 in the second, and up to 81 in the ninth ring, symbolizing the Nine Heavens. If one speaks standing on the Heavenly Centre Stone, your voice will become particularly resonant and sonorous.
The Hall of Abstinence
Then, we got to the Hall of Abstinence. It was believed to be a special place for the Emperor to retreat and fast before the performance of sacrificial worshipping at the temple. The visit to the Temple of Heaven is a truly unforgettable experience to explore the essence of ancient philosophy, historical facts, and ancient Chinese architecture and design. It is worth visiting for a culturally enriching experience.

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