Zhongxin Park: Birth of the South Mati Lake
Across the road of Mati Lake, on the old site of the South Mati Lake is the Zhongxin Park of Nankai University. “Zhong Xin (中心, ‘the center’ in English)” does not mean it is in the central position of the campus, but was originated from Dazhong Road and Mati Lake.
In July 1937, Japanese army attacked Tianjin and bombarded the campus. The whole campus was burned in fire, with devotions and expectations turning into ashes. Nankai people had tabandon the campus and moved to the south.
In 1946, Nankai University was in a devastating point after its successfully returning to Tianjin from Kunming Southwest Associated University, and the South Mati Lake was destroyed by Japanese’s bombs. All could be seen was trenches everywhere, a bleak campus and a few purple wild chrysanthemums along the road. At that time, because of limited fund, Nankai was powerless in recovering the Mati Lake, so the university could only change it to a simple park. The lack of the South Mati Lake broke the “zhong (中)” design of the campus and left endless pity to Nankai people. That’s why the park was named as Zhongxin Park till today. In 2004, the university employed a professional landscape design company to rebuild the park.
Today’s Zhongxin Park is the biggest park of Nankai. There are artificial hills, ponds, flowers and various trees. In warm spring, intangible fragrance floats in the air. Surrounded by the fragrance, beside the pines and cypresses stand the bronze busts of Nankai’s founding father Yan Fansun and previous president Zhang Boling. Evergreen plants protect these two Nankai founders peacefully and quietly.
On October 17, 1989, the bronze bust of Zhang Boling was moved to the Zhongxin Park of Nankai University.
To the south of the Zhongxin Park is Siyuan Building, and to the southwest is a small villa called “House Ning”. This is a villa built by Nankai University in 1980s for welcoming the return of Mr. Chern Xingshen,.a famous alumni of Nankai University and an international mathematician In 1985, Mr. Chern established the renowned Chern Institute of Mathematics. Since 2000, when he returned to China, he settled down in House Ning. Yang Zhenning, Jin Yong and other celebrities have stayed there temporarily as well. To the west of the park is the site of Xiushan Hall of Nankai University. Xiushan Hall was donated and constructed by Li Xiushan, a military governor of Jiangsu Province, and was used as the teaching building for liberal arts. It was bombarded by Japanese army during the war, and now it changes into the Kindergarten of Nankai University. The residence of the mathematic master was embraced by the joyful laughter of kids.
Translated by Shi Yuchen
Proofread by Ada Yan