To nourish people-to-people amity, build a community of cultural exchanges for all

Global challenges test the quality of human civilization.

At present, the “clash of civilization” and “racial superiority” theories are emerging every now and then in the international society, and the COVID-19 pandemic even exacerbated the social divide and racial conflicts in some countries. The more complicated the international situation is, the more urgent it is to enhance mutual learning and promote harmonious existence among civilizations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) via video link in Beijing, capital of China, on Nov. 10, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

“Each civilization is distinct and none is superior to others. We need to promote mutual learning between our civilizations and enhance good-neighborliness and friendship between our countries. This allows us to enhance public support for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) long-term development,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO. Proposing to nourish people-to-people amity and build a community of cultural exchanges for us all, Xi’s remarks enriched the connotation of building a closer community of shared future for the SCO and carried profound significance.

History proves that mutual learning vitalizes civilizations, and inclusiveness contributes to harmonious co-existence of different civilizations. The SCO gathers a number of ancient civilizations of different ethnics, cultures and religions. As long as they stay inclusive and learn from each other, they can inject lasting impetus into their friendship and common development of the world.

From promoting equality, mutual learning, dialogue and mutual accommodation between civilizations, to proposing to build a community of cultural exchanges, China is actively working with all parties to make the SCO an example of inclusiveness and mutual learning. It indicates the broad mindset of the Chinese nation, and demonstrates the importance it lays on the future of the world and the mankind.

China is not only an initiator but also a doer to promote mutual learning between civilizations. It has raised a series of measures to build closer people-to-people exchanges. Cooperation projects of the country in education, sci-tech, culture, tourism, health and disaster relief sectors are steadily advancing, including the SCO media summit, women’s forum, and the meteorological satellite program FY-2.

Xi announced at the SCO summit this year that China will continue to hold SCO Youth Campus events, to which 600 young people will be invited in the coming three years, to deepen mutual understanding among the younger generation and bring them closer together. The people from SCO members expressed their gratitude to China, saying brotherhood is more valuable than gold.

Human history is a grand picture scroll of civilization communication, mutual learning and integration. SCO countries are all important countries along the ancient Silk Road, and the Silk Road spirit featuring peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit has laid a solid foundation for deepening cultural and people-to-people cooperation in regional countries.

Today, as the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) advances, cultural exchange programs in regional countries are prospering, injecting new impetus into the people-to-people amity of the SCO.

Zamir Awan, deputy dean of Chinese Studies Center of Excellence at Pakistan’s National University of Sciences and Technology, noted that SCO members have largely improved their interconnectivity and enjoyed increasingly closer people-to-people ties thanks to the joint construction of the BRI.

The practices in the past 19 years since the founding of the SCO prove that civilization differences are never the source of clashes. Under the guidance of the Shanghai Spirit, which embodies mutual trust, equality, mutual benefit, equal rights, mutual consultations, respect for the diversity of cultures, and aspiration for joint development, regional countries’ actions to replace estrangement with exchange, clashes with mutual learning, and superiority with coexistence are of global significance.

As regional countries continue making efforts to build a community of cultural exchanges, the SCO is bound to make greater contribution to the development of human civilization, and make mutual learning between civilizations a driver for human progress and a bond that safeguards global peace. 

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