Civilizations need dialogue and mutual learning, not a single standard that creates new cold war: forum
Published: Jan 10, 2022 11:27 PM
The second Dialogue on Exchanges and Mutual Learning among Civilizations kicks off in Beijing on January 10, 2022. Photo: Zhang Han/GT

The second Dialogue on Exchanges and Mutual Learning among Civilizations kicks off in Beijing on January 10, 2022. Photo: Zhang Han/GT

A forum was held in Beijing on Monday delivering the message that the world should work together to promote the shared values of humanity: peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, freedom, upholding true multilateralism and opposing one standard to judge different civilizations. 

The second Dialogue on Exchanges and Mutual Learning among Civilizations, hosted by the Chinese Association for International Understanding, was held in Beijing online and in person, with the participation of 260 guests, including diplomats, former officials and scholars from more than 40 countries. 

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, in his video address to the forum, said China is willing to uphold true multilateralism and build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation.

Former Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, emphasized that in addition to European integration, it is important to enhance the integration of Europe with other parts of the world. "Countries should work together to promote cultural cooperation and social progress," Zapatero said. 

The most impressive message delivered at the forum was on the understanding of diversity of world civilizations and how the concept was developed based on the history, and background of countries. Using one single standard to define the diversity of civilizations is against the shared values of humanity. 

On the shared value of democracy, China has explored the model of whole-process people's democracy that fits its social, cultural and economic realities best. However, the US has been attacking it as authoritarian.

Experts at the forum pointed that diverse democratic systems are part of the political civilization of mankind and no single country can monopolize the right to define it. Using the values of American democracy to identify allies and enemies is not embracing democracy but using it to create ideological conflicts and brew a new cold war. 

Zheng Ruolin, a senior fellow at the Taihe Institute, referred to the US' failure in dealing with the pandemic and how common Americans have suffered while some interest groups reaped benefits in the process. Americans elect the president but their interests are not represented in the political process. 

Multiple speakers, including Stephen Marbury, Head Coach of CBA's Beijing Royal Fighters, also noted that the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games are an important gathering where sports act as a vehicle for exchanges and mutual understanding at a difficult time when the world is still fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Guests also expressed their opposition to any politicization of the event. 

Egyptian Ambassador to China, Mohamed Elbadri, told media at the event that the Olympic Games were started to enhance unity and countries and peoples are brought together through sports. The ideal is reflected in the forum which aims to become a bridge. 

"Clashes of civilizations are not true. There are only clashes of different interests," the ambassador said in his address to the forum, noting the event has come in a time when world politics are at a crucial juncture and the true embodiment of shared values of humanity is needed.