B&R can transcend clashes of civilizations

By Sun Shaoyong Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/23 21:38:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May has pushed the development of the Belt and Road initiative to a higher stage. In the past four years, the Belt and Road initiative has not only enhanced China's economic prowess but also manifested its national culture. This has mainly been embodied by the building of China's national image, the dissemination of cultural concepts and the promotion of international discourse power.

At present, countries along the Belt and Road have realized in-depth strategic integration with China and gained the economic benefits of the win-win cooperation the initiative brings. The importance of the development of Belt and Road projects has extended to cultural exchanges and cultural cooperation.

The countries and regions along the Belt and Road have showed more understanding of the initiative's humanistic aims, which has offered a good opportunity for the initiative to enhance China's cultural soft power.

The Belt and Road countries and regions have their own various ethnic groups, cultures and religions. The Middle East and Central Asia are areas with frequent terrorist, separatist and extremist activities. Strengthening cultural exchanges and people-to-people exchanges is vital to reducing cultural and religious conflicts and implementing the Belt and Road.

In the past four years, the initiative has gained substantial achievements in cultural transmission and trade.

Gansu, an important Chinese province on the ancient Silk Road, has highlighted the historical and cultural aspects of the initiative.

It developed its cultural and creative industries and created economic benefits by displaying large art and historical exhibits and holding events such as the Silk Road International Cultural Expo in 2016.

The countries and regions along the Belt and Road own age-old historic and cultural resources. They also have special regional and national cultures. These regions can make good use of their cultural resources by holding cultural exchange activities, developing cultural trade and strengthening educational exchanges. In this way, they can share their cultural heritage, art and literature.

The Belt and Road can help promote the friendship and affection of countries and people with different religious beliefs, cultures and social systems. This will lead to new Belt and Road common cultural memories, give rise to new cultural symbols that respect cultural differences, and link China to the world.

As of April this year, China has signed mutual recognition agreements on academic degrees and diplomas with 24 countries along the route. At present, more than 100 Confucius Institutes and 100 Confucius classrooms at primary and middle schools have been established among countries along the Belt and Road, effectively promoting the transmission of Chinese language and boosting the recognition of Chinese culture.

In addition, various cultural exchange activities have strengthened the understanding between China and other Belt and Road countries.

During the development of the Belt and Road initiative, China has always adhered to the spirit of tolerance and harmony, making efforts to build a civilized, prosperous, pluralistic and symbiotic cultural landscape in the world, and seeking reconciliation among different civilizations with mutual respect and tolerance.

In the 21st century, the spread of the information age and networking have deepened the cultural exchanges among different countries. An increasing number of countries have realized the coexistence of different civilizations and the importance of cultural exchanges and mutual learning.

The Belt and Road initiative, upholding traditional Chinese cultural concepts such as "great harmony," has created opportunities and platforms for cultural integration. Chinese civilization has promoted the positive gain of the diverse cultures of the world, and helped crack the dilemma of the clashes of civilizations to realize the coexistence of civilizations.

In the past four years, the development of the Belt and Road has won the world's attention, displayed the confidence of Chinese culture, shaped China's image during the transformation of international discourse power, and enhanced China's national cultural soft power in the process of promoting cultural exchanges and aggregating value consensus.

The author is a PhD candidate at the School of Marxism at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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