BEIJING, June 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from China.org.cn on China’s Global Civilization Initiative:
A few days ago, I had a conversation with an international student, and I asked him what intrigued him most about China. He responded, “Obviously, Chinese Kung Fu!” After a short pause, he added, “And palace drama.”
The appeal of China extends beyond martial arts. Many people from other countries also like other aspects of Chinese culture, including the art of tea-making, Hanfu – traditional Chinese clothing, and Peking Opera. These aspects collectively form a key part of both our Chinese and global intangible cultural heritage. And now, China is gearing up to celebrate these cultural treasures.
China will celebrate this year’s Cultural and Natural Heritage Day on June 10, under the theme “Preserving and Utilizing Cultural Relics, Cultivating Cultural Confidence and Self-improvement.” The occasion is also set to mark the 20th anniversary of the “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.” As part of the celebration, there will be a series of vibrant activities, such as the Intangible Cultural Heritage Folk Art Performance Week and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Shopping Festival. These events emphasize the importance of preserving and reimagining our cultural traditions while reminding us of the historical and cultural values that still hold relevance in today’s modern world. It also represents a concrete step towards actualizing the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) proposed by President Xi Jinping earlier this year.
The key objective of the GCI, as demonstrated by this event, is to encourage developing countries, including China, to cultivate their own unique cultural industries and to respect cultural diversity. At the same time, it also seeks to foster exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations worldwide.
In pursuit of this first objective, China has been working hard for years to revive its traditional culture. Many ancient and unique cultural practices, such as ink-making, single bamboo drifting, and traditional vinegar-making techniques, have been given new life. I grew up listening to Pingshu, a traditional storytelling style in northern China, and I was amazed by many performances at this year’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Folk Art Performance Week in Wuhan. In addition, China has also ramped up efforts to support the development of other countries’ indigenous cultures. Chinese cultural heritage preservation workers have participated in the restoration of endangered cultural legacies in many countries, including Mongolia, Cambodia, Nepal, and Myanmar. Chinese museums have also protected historical relics from Afghanistan and Syria in times of conflict.
China has a rich history of engaging with other civilizations. Notable examples include the journey of imperial envoy Zhang Qian to the Western Regions during the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.). During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Chinese navigator Zheng He embarked on voyages to the western Pacific and Indian oceans. There’s also the journey of Monk Xuanzang to India for Buddhist scriptures in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Today, China continues its tradition of cultural exchanges with Belt and Road partner countries. It’s in the DNA of the Chinese nation to march toward a common future through communication and mutual learning. In the context of Chinese society, such exchanges are emblematic of openness and inclusiveness, which is reflected in the ancient Chinese saying, “The ocean is vast because it admits all rivers.” The courage and willingness to learn from other countries’ excellent cultural achievements demonstrate China’s profound cultural heritage and strong cultural confidence.
Compared with the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative proposed by China, the Global Civilization Initiative is about the shared values of humanity. It’s about cooperation and integration at the cultural-ethical level, providing a deeper foundation for ideas and perspectives.
The three initiatives, which complement and interconnect with each other, represent China’s wisdom and solutions for the world.
Global Civilization Initiative: Celebrating the vibrancy of world cultures