Cultural Exchange

Civilization Shines through Exchanges

The world is populated by over 200 countries and areas, more than 2500 nations and various religions. Diverse civilizations came into being when influenced by different historical traditions, national conditions, and folk customs. Throughout history, cultural exchanges have led to enriched human civilizations and advanced human society. As is emphasized by President Xi Jingping, “We should champion equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations.” This outlook on culture complies with the laws of humanity development, caters for all peoples’ common wish of increasing cultural exchanges. It also transcends outdated concepts such as clash of civilizations and cultural superiority, and leads the whole humanity to harmonious co-existence.

Every civilization formed throughout the profound human history is profound, unique, and deserves to be respected and cherished as the treasure to the humanity. The world enjoys variety and prosperity only when all nations embrace diversity, respect and learn from each other, because cultural diversity propels human progress, and cultural exchange is a wish shared by all peoples.  Denial or disrespect of cultural diversity and the delusion of culture hegemony run counter to the world’s development trend, and thus will never work. Therefore, we should uphold cultural diversity, let all civilizations shine together and complement each other, so that we can create a more colorful world.

One way of recognizing and respecting cultural diversity is to treat all civilizations equally with open mind. “Different dishes all taste good when they are complementary to each other.”  Civilizations embody the wisdom of their nations, and hence differences in characteristics and geography are inevitable. While such cliches as clash of civilizations and cultural superiority never stop, it has been repeatedly proved by the reality and history that various civilizations can co-exist in harmony to drive human spiritual development as long as we advocate equality, inclusiveness, and diversity in harmony, respect and learn from each other. We should open our mind to learn the best from each other, join hands to address the challenges faced by the whole humanity. In this way, we safeguard world peace, bring new drives to development and let the star of civilization shines brighter in the sky of humanity.

Where there is diversity, there is communication. With communication comes integration. When cultures integrate, social progress ensues. Cultural exchange is the fountain of human development. Looking back in history, no civilization thrived and not human progress was made without cultural exchanges. Civilizations are enriched via cultural exchanges, and become profound through mutual learning. Through cultural exchanges, we accelerate human progress and maintain world peace, enhance mutual understanding and respect, strengthen ties and friendships. In turn, world peace will be better safeguarded. Today, all nations should respect cultural diversity. It is with this principle in mind that we cooperate bilaterally or multilaterally on culture, education, science and technology, environmental protection, health care, tourism, youth development, social media, sports, etc., to facilitate mutual learning and people-to-people exchanges.

President Xi’s outlook on culture highlights the diversity of human civilizations. It is advocated that, when civilizations meet, we should bridge estrangement with communication, address conflicts by mutual learning, and replace superiority with coexistence. The outlook exhibits the China’s manner and wisdom as an ancient civilization, and China’s openness and confidence as a world’s major economy. Chinese culture was born locally, yet developed through absorbing the essence of foreign civilizations. China always embraces other civilizations with an open mind, encourage different nations to learn from and complement one another, so as to build a human community of shared destiny. China, as an ancient and major civilization, will not only pass on its brilliant traditions, build on socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, but will also strive to maintain world peace and promote human progress. (Original article from People’s Daily, translated by Xiang Yueyi the Cultural Exchange Organization of Presenting China to the World)