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Going big and bold at Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

05-18-2017 15:31 BJT

By Huang Huilin, Senior Professor, Beijing Normal University; Director, Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture

Considered by many as the largest domestic diplomacy since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation had been successfully convened, which can also be taken as a major promotion of Chinese culture.

 2017 Looking China International Youth Film Project opening ceremony

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the forum and gave a toast at the welcome banquet. His remarks are very encouraging, which puts me in a mood to share my thoughts on the Belt and Road Initiative from a culture perspective.

"Belt and Road" Initiative is the Unity of Knowledge and Practice at the World Scale

The Initiative is a response of the Chinese Communist Party to adapt to current global conditions. It is an exploration, a judge and an answer to construct a better world that would stand at the height of a community of common destiny for all humanity.

It reflects the unity of knowledge and practice, the Chinese philosophical idea and a pragmatic layout with a practical path.

On international communication of Chinese culture and the mutual benefits and mutual learning of Chinese civilization and other civilizations, "people-to-people connectivity", and "road of civilization" construction, Xi said in his keynote speech, " 'Belt and Road’construction would ensure that different civilizations' exchanges will replace estrangement; mutual learning will replace clashes; and coexistence will replace a sense of superiority. This will boost mutual understanding, respect and trust among different countries.”

The speech demonstrated cultural confidence and boldness of action, which originated from unique historical experiences of China that offers a clear vision of macro strategy and concrete actions.

"Belt and Road" Initiative is the Responsibility of Chinese Academia

In 2013, Xi introduced the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" (B&R). In his opening address at the BRF, he referred to "representatives of government, industry and academia."

From this, we can draw that academia should play a pivotal role in providing intellectual support for the B&R Initiative. We scholars should undertake research and get ready for new ideas and welcome a talent reserve to implement a strong vision of the B&R.

The purpose I proposed the "Third Pole Culture" in 2010 is in the hope of to spread Chinese culture worldwide.

We sorted out four connotations of Chinese culture: Respect and uphold the values of "people-oriented" spirit of humanity; promote "humanity of all virtues" moral characters and spiritual integrity to favor moral sentiments and moral sense of people; emphasize moral commitment for the world and all ethnic groups, while supporting a national identity; advocate for a "harmonious and syncretic" outlook of the world and life.

Such levels of Chinese culture have been reflected on frequently in Xi's Belt and Road speeches.

Our academy has integrated the B&R initiative with academic research. From March 2015, we organized resources to survey dissemination and reception of Chinese films within Belt and Road areas.

In March 2016, we issued an investigation report on the B&R influence over Chinese films. We also published the Silver Book—Annual Report of Chinese Films International Communication, conducting academic research and market development on Chinese films.

Since 2011, our Academy has hosted "Looking China—Foreign Youth Film Project," 98 young foreigners from 14 countries along the route of Belt and Road visited China, experienced Chinese culture and produced 98 Chinese culture short films that presented a variety of profiles on contemporary China through a foreign perspective.

As the films were broadcasted through global networks and social media platforms, more and more viewers were attracted to experience and understand Chinese culture. In 2015, Xi mentioned "Looking China" project while delivering a speech at National University of Singapore. He reaffirmed the significance of the project for youth cultural exchanges.

We compiled the book People-to-People Connectivity—"Belt and Road" Looking China this year, containing all the 98 short films, along with their profiles, posters, creative thinking, cultural feelings and tutor’s messages.

The book was selected for the Forum by the Information Office of the State Council and was handed out for free. The "Looking China" Project embodies "peace and cooperation, openness, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win spirit of the Silk Road" for People-to-People Connectivity.

Belt and Road Initiative is Chinese Original Methodology

Xi said the B&R originates from China, but belongs to the world…It opened to all like-minded friends, it does not exclude or oppose to any party.

In terms of cultural influence, suppose American and European cultures are the two poles, Chinese culture would be the third pole of the world culture, which is the source of "the Third Pole." And the Belt and Road Initiative is a methodology originated from China, where the "the Third Pole" of culture lies.

The methodology is practical and realistic, specific and pragmatic,  demonstrating openness, inclusiveness and maneuverability for implementing the B&R.

Xi has put forward grand plans in five fields: Road for Peace, Prosperity, Openness, Innovation and Civilization.

As a methodology, the Initiative explored academic issues, developed discipline construction, put forward new demands and offered opportunities for scholars to conform its strategic needs at home and abroad.

Long overdue problems, such as "Should universities set up an 'International Communication of Chinese Culture' department?" Or "How to train talents on Chinese culture and know how to communicate with foreign audiences?" have emerged.

The Forum played a grand cause for the B&R and will usher in accelerated development. Scholars should be bold to shoulder on the historical responsibility, dare to consider major global cultural issues, make contributions to the community of common destiny for all humanity to make the Belt and Road an amazing success story.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)


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