Xi calls for all nations to uphold equality

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) – Every civilisation should be allowed to ‘fully bloom’, he tells dialogue conference. 

All countries should create the conditions for other civilisations to develop while keeping their own civilisation vibrant, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday in Beijing.

“We should allow all civilisations of the world to fully bloom,” Xi said in the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations.

Xi also said all countries should uphold equality and respect and abandon pride and prejudice to promote dialogue and harmonious coexistence among civilisations.

There will be no clash of civilisations as long as people are able to appreciate the beauty of them all, he said.

Xi stressed the need to ensure openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning among civilisations.

He said the conference aims to create a new platform for advancing equal dialogue and mutual learning and inspiration among civilisations in Asia and the rest of the world.

The conference, being held from Wednesday through May 22, has drawn more than 1,300 leaders and representatives from countries and international organisations worldwide to Beijing to work toward consensus on the benefits of a global community with a shared future.

Participants in the conference, which is seen as a new starting point for greater inter-civilisational dialogue, expressed hope for Asia and the international community to conduct more extensive and in-depth interaction.

Singaporean President Halimah Yacob, one of the Asian leaders who spoke at the opening ceremony, said dialogue and empathy are essential to improving understanding and trust and bridging differences.

She said Singapore, with its emphasis on racial and religious harmony, presents a microcosm of a “larger challenge facing the world in getting people with different religions, values and backgrounds to live together harmoniously”.

The conference is a good example of conducting dialogue within Asian civilisations as well as reaching out to other civilisations in the world, she said.

Author and public intellectual Parag Khanna, pointing to the major issues that were set to come out of the dialogue and their importance in the current international climate, told China Daily, “The most significant geopolitical reality of the 21st century is that we live for the first time in human history in a world that is both multipolar and multi-civilisational.

“Powers of the East and West are equally influential in the world. Thus we need a new kind of understanding of how civilisations will relate to each other premised on co-existence rather than dominance,” said Khanna, author of The Future Is Asian: Commerce, Conflict, and Culture in the 21st Century.

“Among the main obstacles are historical mindsets that presume that one power must dominate the system for it to be stable, which is false,” he said, adding that there are many “unique civilisations, with none more special than the others”.

German Sinologist Ole Doering said the message he took from President Xi’s speech was that of “openness, that everybody should contribute what they can and try to engage in mutual learning”.

Uxi Mufti, founder of the National Heritage Museum in Pakistan, said Xi “has come up with a wonderful idea. His idea will generate co-operation, in Asia at least. The paradigm of going forward has changed. We are into an age of interdependence.”

Laurence Brahm, a senior international fellow at the the Beijing think tank Centre for China and Globalisation, said, “President Xi’s speech set forth a fresh paradigm based on a set of universal values founded on the core heritage and culture of very ancient civilisations.

“The values of Asia are based on non-duality, harmony and synergy, while Western values are premised on the concept of duality often expressed in a zero-sum game,” Brahm said.

Other luminaries from the public and private sector also discussed related topics at various forums during the conference, while an Asian culture carnival, Asian civilisation week and Asian food festival were being held in conjunction with the main event.

At a forum on the global influence of Asian civilisations, Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, said dialogue is the “origin of civilisation”.

Chinese civilisation “also originated from dialogue”, and conflict in itself cannot produce civilisation, said Zheng, whose research interests include China’s transformation and its external relations.

Cambodian Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said understanding different civilisations means understanding each other to promote prosperity in a more collaborative way.

“I am very optimistic that today’s meeting will form the basis of mutual understanding, thus creating a better world,” he said.

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