The opening ceremony of the World Conference on China Studies - Shanghai Forum held in Shanghai, Nov 24, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)
President urges experts, scholars to help connect Chinese, foreign civilizations
President Xi Jinping has underlined the importance of exchanges and mutual learning among various civilizations in the world, and said that only through mutual learning can different civilizations achieve common progress.
Xi made the remarks on Friday in a congratulatory letter sent to the World Conference on China Studies — Shanghai Forum, which was held in Shanghai.
Xi pointed out that China studies are not only the studies of historical China, but also the studies of contemporary China.
Chinese civilization has a long history and has been enriched and developed through exchanges and mutual learning with other civilizations in the world, endowing Chinese modernization with profound cultural heritage, he said.
"Only by tracing the origins of history can we understand the reality of the world, and only by following the cultural foundation can we identify present-day China," he said. "It is through the mutual learning of civilizations that common progress can be achieved."
Xi expressed the hope that experts and scholars from various countries will act as messengers connecting Chinese and foreign civilizations, uphold inclusiveness and openness, continuously promote China studies worldwide, foster mutual exchange of civilizations, and inject intellectual and cultural strength into the flourishing garden of world civilizations.
Themed "Chinese Civilization and China's Path — A Global Perspective", the event brought together more than 400 well-known experts and scholars in China studies from nearly 60 countries and regions.
While addressing the opening ceremony, Li Shulei, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said the forum aimed to help the world understand ancient and modern China, and envision China's future at a deeper level.
It is also intended to help facilitate dialogue and mutual learning among civilizations and foster better understanding and closer ties between the Chinese people and those from other nations, he said.
The establishment of the World Association for China Studies, a nongovernmental international social group comprising institutions and experts specializing in China studies, was announced at the forum.
"Headquartered in Beijing, the association has 73 founding members from universities and think tanks from 29 countries, and will carry out research and deliver reports with an aim to strengthen communication and cooperation and promote the common prosperity of the world," said Gao Xiang, president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Timothy Brook, a professor emeritus from the Department of History at the University of British Columbia in Canada, who has published several best-sellers on studies of China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), said he seeks to put research on Chinese history in a global context, and identify connections between China and the West.
"Because there is only one world, and we all live in the same world, the important thing is to decrease the prejudicial views that people have of other places," he said.
He said the importance of getting foreigners to understand Chinese history is to make Chinese history not appear to be something that is far away.
Many experts attending the forum said that deepening China studies can add wisdom to the construction of a more prosperous world.
Moeketsi Majoro, former prime minister of Lesotho, said that China's strength in digital technology, artificial intelligence, solar energy and new energy vehicles further proves that the country is making key contributions to global innovation and transformation.
He added that more than 150 countries and three-fourths of the global population are involved in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, showing that the nation's global role is being widely accepted.