太湖世界文化论坛

《The Fourth Annual Conference》

Yan Zhaozhu: Working Together to Build a New Civilization with a Community of Shared Future for Mankind

Working Together to Build a New Civilization with a Community of Shared Future for Mankind

 

Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Fourth Annual Conference of Taihu World Cultural Forum

 

Yan Zhaozhu, Chairman of the Taihu World Cultural Forum

 

Distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen:

 

Good morning! First, on behalf of Taihu World Cultural Forum, please allow me to extend a warm welcome to all the guests from China and abroad who have come all the way here. And I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the foreign friends, experts, scholars, and people from all communities, and government agencies, cultural and academic groups and enterprises, especially the Macau SAR Government and the Nam Kwong Group, for their enthusiastic support and participation in the preparation of this Annual Conference!

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

Since the beginning of this century, the world has been in a complex evolution, but two major global phenomena have always existed and continue to develop, with increasingly prominent impacts. The first is a series of global crises such as climate change, which seriously threatens the survival and development of mankind; the second is the in-depth development of economic globalization, world multi-polarization and information transformation, which call for deep level adjustments in the international landscape and trigger complex reactions from countries around the world. These two global phenomena signify that the era we live in is undergoing major changes, and humanity, already at a crossroads in history, must make a historic choice for the future and destiny of mankind through the development and renewal of civilization.

 

How to deal with the relationship between man and nature and how to address social relations have always been the eternal theme of the development of human civilization. The current global crises facing mankind include the crisis of the relationship between man and nature, as well as the social crisis. The global warming shows no sign of cessation, environmental pollution, resource shortages, ecological damage and other problems are alarming. Major infectious pandemics frequently break out with dengue fever, Ebola, Zika, yellow fever, to name a few, ravaging the world. This is the consequence for mankind's arrogant assumption of the role as master of the nature with uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources since the industrial revolution and the punishment for mankind's violation of the natural laws and the destruction of ecological balance. The period after the international financial crisis in 2008 saw the sluggish global economic recovery, insidious international situation, and other chaos including local wars, regional unrest, terrorist attacks, the Middle East refugee influx to Europe, making the global situation even worse. The existing nuclear arsenal of each country is sufficient to destroy the world many times. The threat of a nuclear terrorist attack is like the frightening sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of mankind. This is the comeuppance of the division and confrontation of human society by the old civilization that has ruled the world for centuries, which pushed humanity into a ominous situation of existence and extinction.

 

Economic globalization, world multipolarization and informatization transformation have been taking place for many years, but the speed and direction of these historical movements are currently being recalibrated and new prospects for human development are taking shape. Against the backdrop of in-depth development of economic globalization, economies of all countries are closely linked with all parties involved. Despite differences in social systems and values, historical and cultural backgrounds, and levels of economic development, the convergence of economic interests of all countries has been improving, and the degree of interdependence has been deepening. Countries are different and may disagree with each other, but this does not deny their chance to form a community of interests in which benefit to one means benefit to all, whereas harm to one means harm to all. Mutual benefit and win-win cooperation have become the mainstream of international economic relations, which is the inherent trend of the historical development of the world today. Economic globalization and world multipolarization are two forces reinforcing each other. Emerging markets and developing countries are developing rapidly. The center of gravity and hope of world economic growth shift to the East with the orientation of economic globalization increasingly away from the West-centered approach and the gap between the North and the South constantly narrowing. The international landscape has overreached the inertia and expectations of power politics, unipolar world, and hegemony, fostering a multipolar world that is more balanced, just, open, inclusive, and ready to cooperation with benefits shared by all. With the rapid development of information technology and increasing integration of the Internet into production and our life, the vast cyberspace brings both new risks and opens new horizons for human development.

 

Ladies and gentlemen:

 

A series of global crises have now sent a warning red card against the unsustainability of the old civilization to mankind. A Chinese saying goes like this: things will develop in the opposite direction when they become extreme. The old civilization has dominated human society for centuries by pitting man against nature and pitting peoples against each other, with a few countries plundering and bullying the rest with their own strength and a few powers bossing around while the rest having to bow down and follow orders. Such a civilization in such an era is now on the wane and can no longer be sustained. No country can stay away from the global crises, nor can any country chase after only its selfish interests. Never have nations worldwide so interconnected, and never have mankind so intertwined in the face of shared weal and woe.

 

The only way to resolve global crises and create a better future for mankind is through establishing a community of shared future for mankind, replacing confrontation with cooperation, and rebuilding human-nature and social harmony. To this end, it is necessary to rescind old concepts and thinking that created a confrontational society in which man and the nature are enemies and strive to build a new culture and civilization characterized by mutual respect and win-win cooperation. The premise for sincere cooperation lies in equality. Countries should treat each other as equals in respect, concord and trust, and different civilizations should tolerate each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, and carry out mutual learning. We can no longer blindly believe in Western-centrism, trample on the diversity of civilizations with arrogance and prejudice and engage in racial discrimination and double standards. We can no longer be obsessed with hegemony, bossing around and dominating the international community. We must carry out close cooperation driven by mutual benefits. Countries should seek common development, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation. We should properly consider core interests of other countries and manage disagreements and conflicts through dialogue and consultation and based on mutual understanding and accommodation, thus contributing to world peace and common prosperity. We must rid the outdated law of the jungle and "zero-sum game" that allured us to consider the development of other countries as threats against ourselves and form circles of certain countries to suppress others. We must stay away from the Cold War mentality that guided countries to defy international law for selfish interests, flaunt muscle, and disturb the peace and stability.

 

Ladies and gentlemen:

 

Ancient Chinese sage said: "If you are confused about reality, examine history; if you are confused about the future, review the past." Mutual respect and win-win cooperation among different civilizations are valuable experiences in the progress of human civilization and an excellent Chinese tradition. Chinese civilization has always advocated "unity of man and nature", claimed "Tao models itself after nature", emphasized the importance to "refrain from imposing undesirable demands on others" and "establish others during self-establishing", and proposed "harmony among all nations", "harmony without conformity", "the common good" and "great harmony". This is the mystery of Chinese civilization, which has been alive and thriving for 5,000 years. And this reveals why historian Toynbee pinned his hopes on China, believing that Chinese civilization would provide endless cultural treasures and intellectual resources for the future transformation of the world and human society in the 21st century.

 

Chinese civilization is not enclosed but rather open-minded, inclusive, and ready to learn from other civilizations. The renowned ancient Silk Road is a great exchange between Chinese civilization and the world. Messenger Zhang Qian in the Han Dynasty traveled to the western lands, Monk Xuanzang and Monk Jianzhen in the Tang Dynasty set out their journeys westwards and eastward respectively, Zheng He in the Ming Dynasty voyaged to oceans far away; all of them, through all the hardships, expanded the ancient Silk Road and wrote a magnificent epic of peaceful interaction and mutual learning between different countries, making indelible contributions to the development of China and world civilization. The history of the ancient Silk Road proves that countries of different races, faiths and cultural backgrounds can share peace and develop together if they adhere to the principles of unity, trust, equality, tolerance, mutual learning, and win-win cooperation. As a great spirit embodied in the ancient Silk Road is the essence of the convergence of Chinese civilization and various civilizations along the route, it should become the core concept of community of shared future for mankind today. At present, China has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative as inheritance of the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, which calls for us to practice mutual respect and win-win cooperation and build a community of shared future for mankind.

 

Ladies and gentlemen:

 

A famous Tang poem reads: "To see a thousand miles; one should ascend another story." We should, with a comprehensive observation of history at a commanding height, deeply understand that the community of shared future for mankind is in line with the current trend of peace and development and the fundamental interests of all peoples in the world. The great cause should be unswervingly promoted. There is no doubt that this will be a long and arduous historical process. However, no great mountain can stop the river from surging forward, nor can any difficulties and challenges stop the march of the times. I hope that all guests feel free to contribute their wisdoms to recovering the harmony between mankind and nature, rebuilding social rapport, and creating a better tomorrow for mankind.

 

I wish the Conference a complete success! I wish you all a happy stay in Macau, China!

 

Thank you!


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