-- Themed "dialogue among civilizations and global cooperation," the Nishan Forum on World civilizations saw its seventh gathering at Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius in east China's Shandong Province.
-- Experts from home and abroad agreed that only dialogue-based cooperation with mutual respect is the ultimate way out for the global challenges confronting all mankind, and for human civilization to march along.
-- In China, Confucianism has been deeply involved with the country's achievements, such as poverty alleviation, supporting other countries in battling COVID-19, expanding free-trade ports and zones and sparing no efforts to expand opening up.
JINAN, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic, wars, ecological crisis and disparities between the rich and the poor are still confronting humankind and testing the resilience of different civilizations, the Confucian philosophies have once again shed light upon solutions for the issues.
Themed "dialogue among civilizations and global cooperation," the Nishan Forum on World Civilizations on Monday saw its seventh gathering at Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius in east China's Shandong Province.
The forum offers a platform for renowned scholars and experts in cultural studies to forge better understanding on enhancing dialogues among different cultures.
Participants attend the Seventh Nishan Forum on World Civilizations, a forum on Confucius culture, in Qufu, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 27, 2021. (Xinhua/Guo Xulei)
Participants this year acknowledge that differences existing in social systems, development models, ideologies and cultures among countries should not become an obstacle for conversations. The world ought to be home to diverse civilizations, and civilizations can blossom based on dialogue of mutual respect.
They believe that dialogues advocated in traditional Chinese culture are still the way to fix bonds among countries that seem to drift apart. Communication still is the mainstream motivation driving human civilization to march forward and evolve over time. Equal dialogue among different civilizations has always been the theme of the Nishan Forum.
Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you -- Confucius
Serving as the general director of the forum's academic group for five consecutive sessions, Wang Xuedian, executive dean of the Advanced Institute of Confucian Studies of Shandong University, said that the forum has aimed to help solve disputes in the world through dialogue from the very beginning.
"It has been a decade since the forum was first held. Jeopardized by geopolitical confrontation and the COVID-19 pandemic, dialogue among civilizations seems to be halted. Some people even hold a rather pessimistic view about the fate of mankind," Wang said.
However, on the premise of mutual respect for the diversity of civilizations, dialogue is always the right solution. Mutual respect is the key. Cultures have their own strengths and weaknesses. Each of them represents different solutions for mankind to cope with existential crises that might come up. Learning from each other through dialogue is the best way for mankind to solve their own problems, Wang noted.
Harmony without uniformity -- Confucius
At the forum, more than 180 experts from home and abroad jointly proposed that the world now requires dialogue, not confrontation. They agreed that only dialogue-based cooperation with mutual respect is the ultimate way out for the global challenges confronting all mankind, and for human civilization to march along.
Their collective opinion echoes China's advocation for welcoming helpful suggestions and constructive criticism while opposing sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture others.
The confidence stems from the tolerance and diversity rooted in Chinese culture. Feng Jingwu, professor at China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong, said the Chinese culture is always reckoned as a combination of multiple thoughts since ancient Chinese philosophers proposed thousands of years ago that the world would not step forward until everything exist harmoniously in diversity.
A ceremony marking the 2,572nd anniversary of the birth of ancient Chinese educator and thinker Confucius is held at the Confucius Temple in Qufu, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 28, 2021. (Xinhua/Guo Xulei)
"Harmony in diversity is exactly the background of China's developing path," said Feng at the forum. "Instead of invading and exploiting others, China has always been dedicated to winning by virtue."
According to experts at the forum, seeking harmony in diversity is regarded as a fundamental item of Confucianism, due to its historical background. Confucius lived more than 2,000 years ago, when war erupted frequently and people hardly led stable lives.
"The reality might have enlightened the Chinese sage," said Yang Chaoming, head of the Confucius Research Institute. If Confucius had never experienced troubled times, his values and thoughts may not be so profound and appropriate to the present situation.
When the Great Way prevailed, a public spirit ruled all under Heaven -- Book of Rites
Roger T. Ames, an expert in Confucianism and visiting professor at Peking University, held that the biggest problem facing mankind is individualism, as people do not trust each other, and that the Chinese traditional culture may be the solution. Confucianism features inclusiveness. Different cultures connected with each other internally.
In China, Confucianism has been deeply involved with the country's achievements, such as poverty alleviation, supporting other countries in battling COVID-19, expanding free-trade ports and zones and sparing no efforts to expand opening up.
"This is a peaceful development path driven by Confucianism and traditional Chinese culture, which will benefit all parts of the world," Yang said.