The second Sino-French cultural forum was held on September 26 in the southern French city of Lyon.
The two-day event, under the theme of "The Cultural Silk Road, the Franco-Chinese Confluences", will have elites sharing their insights and experiences in various fields, including culture, art, and education.
Lyon was one of the final stops of the ancient Silk Road trade routes. Known for its gastronomy and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city was historically an important area for silk production and it was also the birthplace of cinema.
Chen Zhu, president of the Western Returned Scholars Association, said enhancing cultural exchanges was an effective way to dispel misunderstandings and prejudices and to promote mutual understanding and trust between the two countries.
Former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffrain also noted the importance of the culture for both countries, saying "the relationship between France and China is primarily a cultural relationship".
Raffrain praised the spirit of the "New Silk Road". The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by China in 2013, showed a path of cooperation in a spirit of openness, which is especially important for today's world, he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming to build trade and infrastructure networks along the ancient Silk Road routes connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.
The spirit of the Silk Road is embodied in solidarity and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, inclusiveness, a disposition to learn from each other and cooperation in finding win-win solutions.
The first Sino-French Cultural Forum was held in May 2016 in Beijing.
The forum, jointly put forward by Chen Zhu and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, is aimed at building a non-official and non-profit Sino-French communication platform. The forum will be held in China and France alternately.
(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2017)