Traditional culture and modernization discussed at forum on civilization

Updated: Jul 11, 2024 By Liu Weiling and Zhao Ruixue in Qufu, Shandong China Daily Print
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A guest looks at traditional handicraft items on Wednesday at the 10th Nishan Forum on World Civilizations in Qufu, Shandong province. LIANG BEN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

Participants in a forum that opened on Wednesday in Qufu, Shandong province, the hometown of Confucius, said the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence embody the wisdom of Confucius, such as the idea of harmony in diversity, and this helps keep the whole world safe.

At the 10th Nishan Forum on World Civilizations, Jeffrey D.Sachs, president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, said: "I believe that sustainable development is at the core of what we need to do together when we look for harmony in diversity. As the basis of sustainable development, we have the UN Charter, and aligned with the UN Charter, we have China-proposed Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence."

The five principles — mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, noninterference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence — have been the bedrock of China's independent foreign policy of peace since they were proposed by the Chinese leadership in the 1950s.

Yasuo Fukuda, former prime minister of Japan and chairman of the International Confucian Association, told the forum that Confucian concepts, which stress coexistence and the concept of peace, strongly align with the five principles in contemporary society.

"To achieve the peaceful coexistence advocated by the five principles, more focus is needed on rethinking the importance of culture and civilization," he said.

Fukuda said he believes that the concept of peace advocated by Confucius will help in understanding the diversity of civilizations and the sharing of values, which will greatly promote peace in the world.

The forum has been held since its launch in 2010 to promote the shared values of traditional Chinese culture, such as the Confucian concepts and mutual learning among civilizations.

This year's forum has the theme "Traditional Culture and Modern Civilization", aiming to draw wisdom from traditional culture to find solutions to global challenges.

Sachs said: "What kind of world will it be? Confucius gives the right idea — one is harmony in diversity, and another is a shared future."

More than 700 guests, including nearly 400 international guests from 63 countries, participated in discussions at the two-day forum on topics such as civilizational exchanges and mutual learning amid global challenges, Chinese-style and Western modernization, civilization inheritance, and innovation in the process of modernization.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the forum, Sun Chunlan, president of the International Confucian Association, said: "The forum, a practice that carries forward the Global Civilization Initiative, not only showcases the unique charm and value of traditional Chinese culture to the world, but promotes cultural exchanges among countries and ethnic groups, contributing to building a community with a shared future for humankind and advancing world peace and development."

Lin Wu, Party secretary of Shandong, said civilizational exchanges involve mutual learning and are an important driving force for advancing civilization.

"We will focus on exchanges among civilizations and strive to build the Nishan Forum and the International Confucius Cultural Festival with higher standards to better promote the development of Chinese civilization through exchanges and mutual learning with other civilizations," he said.

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