During the period between the 1980s and the 1990s, in a situation where the evolution of contemporary music was becoming fossilized because of avant-garde musical criteria, the composer already showed a fine individuality. His views, critical with regard to any kind of academicism, are unequivocal:
"In the west, the official system of contemporary music engenders numerous parasites. Some experts or critics live in the main as hangers-on of modern music and serve the interests of various cliques. Art has to be personal and free; it cannot in any event subscribe to a norm. For me, the first principle is to remain faithful to oneself and to rise above the pedantic advice of would-be experts in modernity. The recognition of the public, so strongly decried in certain quarters, is for me the measure of a new bond forged between society and the artist, the sign of a real renewal in musical creation."
The allure of Qigang Chen lies quite definitely in his double culture, in this fragile, perilous intersection where the gap is sometimes so difficult to bridge, the distance between the two cultures so great that one might think it impossible for the two sides to meet. It is from his particular situation, between two seas, that he draws his wisdom: "No-one has a monopoly of the truth. What counts is freedom of expression."