Civilisations of different countries, with their unique features, are blooming like colourful flowers in a botanical garden.
But there are some individuals from certain countries with the mentality of the Cold War era propagating the doctrine of “clash of civilisations”, which has raised eyebrows in the international community.
‘History is the best teacher’
Chinese civilisation has persevered in the tradition of enriching itself, as the sea maintains its vastness by taking in all rivers flowing its way. China is committed to building a world that cherishes harmony in differences, where every country appreciates other forms of beauty with openness.
It is simply not in the genes of Chinese to uplift themselves at the cost of others or create artificial prejudices between peoples. Nor did China impose colonisation or enslave others under the banner of civilisation.
In the past, Chinese tea, porcelain, and silk were transported along the ancient Silk Road to Africa, and African sorghum, watermelon, and sesame were introduced to China.
Zheng He, the Chinese navigator from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), led seven voyages and sailed to the coast of East Africa, leaving behind some of the most positive stories of exchanges between Chinese and African civilisations.
China believes no race or civilisation is superior to others. Both China and Africa have colourful civilisations that have made contributions to the progress of the world.
Chinese and African civilisations embody people’s aspirations for a better life and national rejuvenation.
Equal treatment is the underlying core of China-Africa inter-civilisational exchanges.
Similar experiences, struggles, and development tasks make China and Africa natural partners of common thought and action in the fast-changing international arena.
Our differences present no impediment to our connection, as we stick to the principles of equal treatment and seek common ground while shelving differences.
China believes that all countries and civilisations are equal regardless of their size, race or wealth.
We promote exchanges of people to facilitate dialogue and communication, support each other on issues of concern and core interests, and respect that African countries should explore and choose social systems and development paths befitting their national conditions.
We welcome African solutions to African problems and look forward to carving a new path of inter-civilisational exchanges between developing countries.
Openness and inclusiveness are the cornerstones of China-Africa inter-civilisational exchanges.
The Belt and Road Initiative provides a new platform for China and Africa to learn from each other.
By joining hands in the BRI, the exchanges, integration, and cooperation of civilisations will transcend misunderstandings to bring about common development and mutual benefits to both countries.
China upholds ideas of common consultation, joint construction and shared results, pursues policy coordination, and facilitates connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people affinity.
China and Africa are striving to synergise development strategies and strengths, broaden cooperation channels and innovate cooperation models to support Africa’s industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, and economic integration, thus creating favourable conditions for exchanges and integration of Chinese and African civilisations, and facilitating the sharing of dividends of development and openness.
Common cultural prosperity is the inevitable choice in the China-Africa inter-civilisational exchanges. Diversity of the world’s civilisations is the force powering the development of human society.
In recent years, Confucius Institutes and Chinese cultural products are taking root on the African continent.
The Museum of Black Civilisations was opened in Senegal with Chinese aid. Every year, hundreds of African arts groups visit China, with events such as Africa Culture in Focus becoming an important window for Chinese to learn about African arts.
The number of annual tourists from both sides has risen to around 1.5 million. The pyramids in Egypt and Lalibela rock-hewn churches in Ethiopia, and the Great Wall and the Forbidden City have become well-known tourist sites to Chinese and Africans.
China-Africa inter-civilisational exchanges and cooperation serve as a bridge to strengthen understanding between both countries.
The achievements and experiences of China-Africa inter-civilisational exchanges are testaments to the value of cooperation and exchanges between civilisations.
The vicious campaign based on the theory of clash of civilisations is destined to fail as it runs counter to the interests of the people.
It is my firm belief that the ancient civilisations of China and Africa through exchanges and integration will propel the two sides to higher levels of common development and win-win cooperation, and contribute to a world of civilisations featuring equality, harmony, and prosperity rather than prejudice.