President Xi Jinping hosted a banquet on the evening of June 9 to welcome guests gathered in the coastal city of Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit.
Xi said Shandong is the home of Confucius and the birthplace of Confucianism.
Confucianism states that "a just cause should be pursued for the common good" and it champions harmony, unity and a shared community of all nations.
There is much in common between Confucianism, which emphasizes unity and harmony, and the Shanghai Spirit. As the SCO's underlining values, it advocates mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and the pursuit of common development, Xi said.
A book series about Confucianism titled, The Essentials of Qilu Culture, displayed at the Summit's media center was popular among Chinese and foreign journalists alike, perhaps because of Xi’s comments about Confucianism at the banquet.
How did foreign journalists react to the key concepts of Confucianism mentioned by Xi at the banquet? Beijing Review interviewed several foreign journalists.
"Within the four seas all men are brothers," Allabert Anna, a Russian journalist working for China Radio International, cited a line from Confucius' The Analects.
Anna has lived in China for over a decade and knows Chinese culture very well, including Confucianism. She said the endorsement of "a shared community for all nations" still applies to the contemporary world. Countries in Eurasia have different political systems and cultures. They should strengthen cooperation in areas of anti-terrorism, economy and culture in order to enable their peoples to live better lives.
A Japanese journalist said countries should learn and adopt the concepts of harmony and unity and make them their action principles.
Pachkevitch Yan, a journalist from Belarus, said the presence of India and Pakistan together at the summit exemplifies the Shanghai Spirit. Although the two countries have differences and disputes, they are willing to sit down and solve problems through negotiations.
He said China and Belarus have carried out cooperation in multiple fields under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Understanding Confucianism which underpins traditional Chinese culture and Xi’s thought on the governance of China is crucial for boosting bilateral cooperation.
Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo