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.