By Ma Xiaoning from People’s Daily
“To meet our common challenges and create a better future for all, we look to culture and civilization to play their role, which is as important as the role played by economy, science and technology,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC).
Seeing the importance of mutual learning among civilizations for the peaceful development of mankind, President Xi proposed to hold the CDAC five years ago.
The conference, focusing on mutual respect and equality, has established a new platform for different civilizations to appreciate the value of others, learn from each other with inclusiveness, and progress with the time to achieve innovative development.
The CDAC covered a series of activities from the opening ceremony to sub-forums, from cultural relic exhibition to the Asian Cuisine Festival, and from the interview of film artists to the Asian Civilization Parade, presenting a splendid picture of cultural interaction across the Chinese territory, including Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Chengdu, the host cities of CDAC activities.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said at the CDAC opening ceremony that civilizations are bound to meet each other, stressing dialogues among civilizations will help create a better future. This is the reason for him to attend the CDAC as a leader of a western country, he added.
He extended his gratitude to President Xi for holding such a conference on cultural dialogues and resolutely leading the Chinese people to promote mutual learning among civilizations.
As President Xi put in his speech at the CDAC opening ceremony, China today is more than the country itself; it is very much a part of Asia and the world.
Sam Barnett, CEO of the largest Arabic broadcaster MBC headquartered in Dubai, said that the CDAC, attended by thousands of representatives, is a proof to the significance of dialogues among civilizations.
“What China holds for civilizations reflects the multilateralism upheld by the Chinese diplomacy,” he added.
Barnett, whose business cards were printed with “We see hope everywhere”, expressed his appreciation for President Xi’s remarks at the CDAC opening ceremony that “civilizations don’t have to clash with each other; what is needed are eyes to see the beauty in all civilizations”. He believes that media practitioners should have such an eye and shoulder the responsibility to spread the beauty of civilizations.
He said he was glad when President Xi announced to launch initiatives promoting film and TV exchanges and cooperation in Asia, as he thinks literature, music, movies and TV dramas are strikingly infectious.
The Chinese culture, which values the importance of family and seeks harmony, is being appreciated by more and more people, Barnett noted.
It is because of the common aspiration and expectations for a bright future that people with different cultural backgrounds gather together and cherish each other.
Cultural dialogues are able to change people’s perception. However, it is achieved with the spirit of inclusiveness that features equality, integration, complementarity, and common development, rather than the so-called cultural superiority.
“We should keep our own civilizations dynamic and create conditions for other civilizations to flourish. Together we can make the garden of world civilizations colorful and vibrant.”
What President Xi said demonstrated China’s confidence in revitalizing the Chinese culture, and showcased the responsibility of a major country.
Rhoads Murphey, an American historian, said in his book A history of Asia that “the world of the twenty-first century seems likely to be dominated by Asia, even more than its traditional and glorious past.”
Following the footprints of their former generations, the Chinese and Asian civilizations are bound to make new glories through the exchanges with other civilizations in the world.
Actors and actresses perform during the Asian Civilization Parade, May 16, 2019. Costumed performers from 16 countries and 28 domestic performance teams presented festive songs and dances to showcase the distinctive charm of Asian civilizations. (Photo by Weng Qiyu/People’s Daily Online)
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