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《Paris Summit》


Speech In The Opening Ceremony By Lian Ji, Member of Standing Committee of Gansu Province Party Committee, Director of Publicity Department of Gansu Province


Distinguished Mr. Raffarin, Chairwoman Zhang Meiying,Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Good morning!
    
This year marks 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. To further promote the cultural exchanges, dialogue and cooperation between two countries, Paris Summit of Taihu World Cultural Forum is held here today by Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and Gansu Province People’s Government. I am very honored to attend this great event as the representative of Gansu Province. Firstly, on behalf of Gansu Province, I would like to extend my warm congratulations to the successful convention of the conference, my sincere appreciation and greetings to all distinguished guests present here today and my thanks to those of our two countries, who have made concerted efforts for this conference.
       
As President Xi Jinping just finished his trip to France, his visit further pushed the celebrating activities for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France into a new high. After his visit, we are lucky to gather together in Paris to jointly discuss the past, present and future of China-France cultural exchanges, which is of great significance.
       
You might be not very familiar with Gansu while probably have heard about it if I mention one place and two people--namely Dunhuang as the typical example of world cultural heritage, Mr. Paul Pelliot, the famous French scholar and Mr. Chang Shuhong, an artist who ever studied overseas in France and the first President of Dunhuang Research Institute.
   
From 1920s to 1930s, Mr. Chang Shuhong had ever studied in École Nationale Des Beaux-Arts De Lyon and École Supérieure Libre d’Art De Paris. He saw the drawing there in Musée Guimet, which was made in Cangjin Cave in Dunhuang by Mr. Paul Pelliot, the famous French scholar. All these drawings about excellent traditional Chinese arts shocked him a lot and a strong sense of responsibility prompted him to leave Paris, city of arts and to come back to Mo Kao Grotto at Dunhuang in vast desert in Northwestern China to devote himself to this magnificent art place.
      
With“Dun”referring to “large” while “Huang”to “prosperity” in ancient Chinese characters, Dunhuang gets its popularity and famous reputation due to its position as the hub for exchanges and integration of world three religions and four civilizations. Mr. Ji Xianlin, the famous Chinese scholar, pointed out, “ There are only four cultural systems in the world with profound history, vast land, independent self-mechanism and far-reaching influence-- namely China, India, Greece and Islam, while there is only one place for these four cultural systems to communicate and exchange with each other--namely Dunhuang in China.”Dunhuang gets its popularity and famous reputation due to its identity as an important representative of world cultural heritage. According to UNESCO indicators for world cultural heritage, in the world, there are only two sites meeting six indicators in total--Mo Kao Grotto at Dunhuang is one of those.
       
Dunhuang gets its popularity and famous reputation due to its identity as the brightest pearl in the ancient Silk Road. President Xi Jinping, during his visit to France, firstly went to Lyon--the end of the Silk Road in western countries while Shanxi, the hometown of President Xi Jinping, is the start of the Silk Road. Gansu Hexi Corridor is the most important strategic channel connecting the end and the start of the Silk Road. Therefore, we are proud to call Gansu as the golden section of the Silk Road.
   
During President Xi’s visit to France, he and President Hollande consistently believed that the continuous people-to-people cultural exchanges between China and France for past 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries have further promoted mutual understanding and communications between the two brilliant civilizations and closed up the gap between the two peoples. Today, the convening of the Paris Summit of  Taihu World Cultural Forum here with the theme of “The Silk Road--The Eternal Channel for Cultural Communications Between China and Western Countries”perfectly echoes and responds to the call of the heads of China and France to strengthen people-to-people cultural exchanges between the two countries. Although there are many media for China-France cultural communications, I personally believe that Dunhuang culture, as the common topic that Mr. Paul Pelliot and Mr. Chang Shuhong are both interested in, will be the most proper carrier to carry on past civilization, create new future and enhance China-France cultural communications.
      
Dunhuang culture is the progress and achievement of civilization, created in the history of more than 1000 years from the 4th century to the 14th century. There are still 735 caves,more than 3000 painted sculptures and nearly 50,000-square-meter murals in Mo Kao Grotto at Dunhuang and more than 50,000 volumes of scriptures scattered around the world including in France. As a result, an independent international school--Dunhuang Studies came out and was formed.
       
Dunhuang culture is an encyclopaedic culture, a highly rational spiritual culture, a lofty and beautiful culture, an inclusive and opening culture as well as a culture inclined to goodness and integrity, integration, peace and harmony. Compared with the culture in general meaning and form, Dunhuang culture is different in the structure of cultural type and pattern. It is not like the target-ring type with primary and secondary classification, but like the “Olympic Rings”as Olymipic Logo, which represents equality. I want to specifically stress that the core of Dunhuang culture is the equal treatment mutually among different cultures. Dunhuang culture focuses on differences rather than superiority or inferiority and advocates exchanges and integration among different cultures while respecting the independence of each culture. Dunhuang culture belongs to history, but possesses the features of the times adaptive to and consistent with current world trend of cultural development, best demonstrating the Silk Road spirit of “solidarity and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, inclusiveness, a disposition to learn from each other, and cooperation in finding win-win solutions”advocated by President Xi Jinping.
       
To further enhance inheritance and innovation of ancient Chinese civilization, Chinese government approved Gansu Province to build up Inheritance and Innovation Area for Chinese Civilization. Gansu Province is taking this as the platform and the construction of Dunhuang International Culture and Tourism Renowned City as the opportunity to deeply join in the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt put forward by President Xi Jinping.
       
The strategic idea of building up Dunhuang International Culture and Tourism Renowned City is to embark on the pathway of smart development and growth featuring as being internationalized,demassificated,hi-tech, academic, branding, countryside life-oriented, integrated and sustainable, based on world-class cultural resources and brand influence of Dunhuang and the principle of “protection first, limited volume, content- and countryside life-oriented city”, in order to build Dunhuang into a world top-class tourism destination and a strategic platform for cultural cooperations and communications between China and Western countries to achieve revitalization of Dunhuang culture in modern times.
        
I would like to take this opportunity to put forward the following suggestions on strengthening cultural exchanges and cooperations between Gansu and France.
        
一、Dunhuang is in China while Dunhuang Studies belong to the world. I sincerely suggest that China and France should conduct active communications and cooperations in the research of Dunhuang Studies, strengthen sharing of research materials and outcomes of Dunhuang Studies and expand the research fields and influence of Dunhuang Studies in the world.
 
二、We are actively seeking to set up an international platform for cultural communications and dialogues with the Silk Road culture as the carrier. At that time, we are willing to welcome and invite friends from academic, cultural and artistic fields in France to join in and celebrate the great event. We are also willing to cooperate with people in cultural field of France to actively build up more platforms for cultural communications and dialogues.

三、We are actively negotiating with world tourism organizations on the development of tourism industry of the Silk Road in Gansu Province to seek for more supports. France has obvious advantages in cultural industry, tourism industry, fashion industry, art industry, etc. and thus it is suggested for us to conduct practical cooperations in aforementioned fields.
  
四、The construction of Dunhuang International Culture and Tourism Renowned City requires more international elements and features. We welcome friends working in relevant fields in France to join in the construction of Dunhuang International Culture and Tourism Renowned City in a mutually beneficial way.
     
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
       
During President Xi’s visit to France, he and President Hollande pointed out clear directions and explored new ways for concluding the past, carrying forward friendship,building on past achievements and striving for new progress to push China-France relations into a new high. We, through extensive cultural communications and in-depth academic discussions, have to make our own contributions to further progress of China-France relations. President Xi ever said, “Friends become closer if they visit each other more and good words make people more connected.”I sincerely hope that this conference, around its theme, could enlighten our wisdom and help us share outcomes and reach consensus to jointly explore new level of revitalization of the Silk Road culture in modern times, based on mutual respect, mutual understandings and friendly and frank atmosphere.
 
Thank you!


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