Diversity spurs dialogue
By Kang Caiqi  ·  2023-08-14  ·   Source: NO.33 AUGUST 17, 2023
Was die Nationen als Nationen getan haben, haben sie für die menschliche Gesellschaft getan. That's German for "What nations have done as nations, they have done for human society."

On May 27, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the 39th group study session of the Political Bureau of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). 

In his speech, Xi quoted the line, which derives from a manuscript written by German philosopher Karl Marx (1818-83) in March 1845 entitled Über F. Lists Buch: Das nationale System der politischen Ökonomie, which translates as About F. List's Book: The National System of Political Economy.

F. List stands for Friedrich List (1789-1846), one of the most prominent economic philosophers of the 19th century. In his 1841 book The National System of Political Economy, List described, among other things, how the development of sophisticated industry requires carefully designed and sequentially planned state interventions. Marx, the main founder of Marxism, criticizes the concept of a political economy both for failing to relate its insights to a broader set of social concerns and for failing to recognize its nature as a historically grounded system of thought and practice.

The quote Xi used conveys the idea that national character and civilization will not fade away, but integrate into the overall process of global history.

An example. After being introduced to China some 2,000 years ago, Buddhism, originating in ancient India, underwent a long evolution and merged with aspects of Confucian and Taoist cultures, until eventually, a Buddhist culture with Chinese characteristics emerged.

From religious beliefs to philosophical ideas, literature and art, as well as etiquette and customs, this has greatly impacted Chinese society.

Countless examples show that diversity spurs interaction among civilizations, which in turn promotes mutual learning and further development.

At the CPC in Dialogue With World Political Parties High-Level Meeting in March, Xi proposed the Global Civilizations Initiative, outlining the way to transcend estrangement, clashes and superiority by calling for a respect for the diversity of civilizations, advocating the common values of humanity, valuing the inheritance of civilizations, and promoting people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

China has provided the world with this initiative as another major public good following the Global Development Initiative, which advocates both staying committed to development as a priority as well as a people-centered approach, and the Global Security Initiative, which calls for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, both put forward by Xi in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The diversity of civilizations is in itself a prominent global feature and a source of vitality in the progress of human society.

Over 2,500 ethnic groups from over 200 countries and regions in the world form a colorful tapestry of civilizations. And all have their unique values and roots that run deep. Culture is colorful because of communication and mutual learning enriches civilizations.

In that light, China International Communications Group in 2022 created the Orchid Award. The awards target cultural sectors in their broadest sense and commend and reward non-Chinese nationals or organizations that have contributed greatly to international cultural exchanges. They are designed to promote the common values of humanity, which are peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, consolidate the cultural foundation for building a community with a shared future for humanity, and facilitate cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world as well as mutual learning among global civilizations.

Every exploration and action from every nation is based on its own conditions, all providing more, promising options for the present and future of human civilization.

In keeping with the Global Civilizations Initiative, China champions equality, mutual learning, openness and inclusiveness.

Humanity will thrive as one community only when different civilizations live in harmony.

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon 

Comments to kangcaiqi@cicgamericas.com 

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