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《The Fifth Annual Conference》

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

 

Chairman of Taihu World Cultural Forum, Yan Zhaozhu

 

Distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen:

 

I wish to extend appreciation to President Xi Jinping for his warm congratulations and important instructions for this Annual Conference! This is a valuable guidance and great encouragement to us! We will strive to enhance communication, build consensus, and arrive at mutual understanding through the Annual Conference to jointly promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind.

 

On behalf of Taihu World Cultural Forum, I would like to warmly welcome all guests and friends to Beijing, the capital of China, upon invitation to participate in the Fifth Annual Conference of the Forum. Under the theme of the Conference, "Cultural Dialogue: Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind," we will express our views and exchange on an equal footing to discuss the development of world culture and promote the great cause of world peace and development.

 

Distinguished guests and friends:

 

We are at an important historical juncture. The multiploidization of the world, the deepening of economic globalization, the information-transformation of society, and the continuous advancement of cultural diversity have brought the world ever-changing progress and new problems in moving forward. At the same time, climate change, cyber security, major infectious diseases, terrorism, and other global challenges are becoming increasingly serious. In the face of these challenges, no country can stay out of the way or be left alone, let alone be exclusive and self-serving.

 

The idea of building a community of shared future for mankind has received wide attention and high recognition from the international community since it was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. Building such a community is a winning strategy for us to jointly address global challenges and overcome various difficulties and countercurrents, and a thoroughfare for people of all countries to cooperate closely and create a better future. The idea of building such a community is in profound and rich connotation, which not only promotes different countries to live together in peace and win-win cooperation, but also promotes people and nature to coexist in harmony, encompassing economy, politics, culture, society, and ecology. It is conducive to bring about an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world with lasting peace, universal security. It reflects the fundamental interests and common will of all peoples in the world, conforms to the universal values of the international community, and responds to the current trend of peace, cooperation, and development.

 

Distinguished guests and friends:

 

Building a community of shared future for mankind is a grand and urgent task of the times, and a long and tortuous historical process. It puts forward historic new requirements for cultural construction, and, at the same time, demands strong support from culture. The building of a community of shared future for mankind is itself characterized by a cultural spirit and acute foresight, openness and inclusiveness, harmony without conformity, and win-win cooperation. It is of fundamental importance for cultural prosperity and development in the world today to carry forward this cultural spirit, listen carefully to the voices of people from all countries, promote cultural innovation, strive to develop a culture that meets the requirements of the progress of the times, play a long-term and basic role in promoting the building of a community of shared future for mankind.

 

At present, the international situation is treacherous and increasingly uncertain. Unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. However, as the situation is complex and volatile, we must remain unshakable in terms of building a community of shared future for mankind and refrain from laxation in cultural construction and innovation. I would like to take this opportunity to raise three issues to exchange and discuss with you.

 

One, we should unswervingly adhere to the cultural position of openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation.

 

The key to building a community of snared future for mankind is cooperation. Cooperation, openness, and inclusiveness are the basis, mutual respect is the premise, and cooperation for mutual benefits is the driving force. Now there is an argument that seems to suggest that if the West cooperates with China and if China's social system and values do not evolve as the West anticipates, Western policy toward China should change from cooperation to confrontation. The cultural stance of this argument is anything but openness and inclusiveness. The question is, is it true that only countries with the same social system and values need to and can cooperate? No, it isn.t.

 

In fact, climate change, ecological disasters, major infectious diseases, and nuclear contamination respect no social systems and values. Global cooperation is indispensable to combat climate change, prevent nuclear proliferation, and oppose terrorism. Economic globalization has also strengthened international cooperation, and different countries and regions are becoming more and more intertwined. All these international cooperation transcends the boundaries of social systems and values. History and reality have repeatedly proved that countries with different levels of economic development, different historical and cultural backgrounds, different religious beliefs, and different social systems can fully tolerate each other, treat each other as equals, and cooperate for mutual benefit. The ancient Silk Road, built more than two thousand years ago, is a historical example of peaceful interaction and common prosperity among countries along the Asian, African, and European routes. "The Belt and Road Initiative" is rewriting the glorious chapter of the Silk Road spirit under the new conditions of the times. Ancient Chinese philosophers have long put forward the concept of "Harmony Without Conformity" and emphasized that "all living things should grow in harmony without hurting one another", holding that different civilizations need not exclude each other but rather seek common ground while reserving differences and learn from each other; they also stress that "harmony actually fosters new things and similarity doesn't sustain" and that "the beauty of harmony lies in combining differences", underpinning that civilizations are colorful due to exchanges and enriched by mutual appreciation. In today's world, the common interests of all countries outweigh their differences, and cooperation is the main theme, the right path, and an unstoppable historical trend. We must properly manage conflicts and disagreements in cooperation through negotiation on an equal footing to refrain from clashes and confrontations and march on a path of win-win cooperation in firm strides.

 

Second, we should unswervingly advocate the morale of advancing with the times and pioneering innovation.

 

To build a community of shared future for humanity, we must hold an acute foresight, grasp the direction of the development of world civilization, and move forward together with the times. The world today is in a period of great development, change and adjustment. One of the most prominent developments is the rapid and sustained development of emerging economies such as the BRICS countries, and more and more countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are witnessing economic take-off. The majority of the world's population, including nearly 1.4 billion in China and more than 1.3 billion in India, together with other rapidly developing third world countries is changing its historical destiny and creating a better future through its own struggle, which is an unprecedented spectacle in human history! The situation of the past few centuries, in which a few people in a few countries were rich while the rest were poor, is changing. The world economic landscape is adjusting in a more balanced and rational direction, bringing about broader and broader prospects for the world's economic and social development. We should rejoice in this and let our thinking and culture move forward together with such a new era. We should stop following the old vision of racial discrimination and double standards, repeating the old doctrine that a strong country must dominate and bully the weak, and enshrining the old logic of winner-takes-all and zero-sum game. We should honor the right of all peoples to choose their own development models and development paths, respect every achievement of peaceful development of all peoples, and create a new horizon of human development together.

 

China, as the largest developing country, has become the world's second largest economy. Over the past 40 years of China's Reform and Opening up, it has not only lifted 800 million people out of poverty in China but has also contributed more and more to world economic growth. China's great achievements are attributable to the diligence and wisdom of all its people, to the Reform and Opening-up policy, the mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the world, and the rules-based multilateral trading system and international order, in which China has consciously become a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of international order, and a constant positive force for world development. Although China is not yet rich and its GDP per capita is still relatively low, it adheres to the tradition of "establishing others while self-establishing" and responds to the common expectations of people from all over the world for peace and development by proposing "the Belt and Road Initiative", which has been jointly consulted, built, and shared with countries along the route. It injects new impetus to the common prosperity of all countries in the world and carries out new practices for building a community of shared future for mankind.

 

Third, we firmly advocate the cultural ethos of adherence to reasons and ideals.

 

In today's world, challenges and risks are increasing, and irrationality is becoming more and more exasperating, so there is an urgent need for the spirit of rationality. Normal cultural exchanges should not be seen as hostile actions with ulterior motives, students studying abroad should not be collectively framed as spies stealing information, and buying foreign goods should does not mean allowing foreign countries to steal our money. Kant said, "what is above me is splendidly starry; what remain within is moral law." We must always remain rational and not be embroidered in irrationality; always work for the benefit of all mankind instead of being blinded by the narrow self-interest of a few; always look at the general situation of the world, observe the real needs of the people, pay attention to the fate of mankind, bear the torch in the mist, and draw wisdom and strength from the great practice of the people in creating history.

 

Distinguished guests and friends:

 

The ability to replace barriers for exchanges, conflicts for mutual appreciation, and superiority for coexistence is related to the rise and fall of the world's security and the future destiny of all mankind. For a better tomorrow, let's work together to break the waves in the struggle to build a community of shared future for mankind!

 

I wish the Annual Conference a great success!


Thank you.

 

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