By Sun Jingxin
On May 22, the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC) closed in Beijing as a huge success. It was my great honor to participate in the organization of the event. Now, in retrospect, my memories remain fresh. The CDAC produced new ideas, new visions and new thoughts. With them, people began to look forward to and work on creating a community of shared future based on mutual respect, equality, mutual appreciation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning, advancement with the times and innovation.
Keynote Speech Resonance
On the morning of May 15, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the CDAC, in which he made four proposals: “First, we need to respect each other and treat each other as equals; second, we need to uphold the beauty of each civilization and the diversity of civilizations in the world; third, we need to stay open and inclusive and draw on each other’s strengths; and fourth, we need to advance with the times and explore new ground for development.” Foreign leaders and guests attending the CDAC all agreed that the “clash of civilizations” argument has major flaws. President Xi’s speech responded to the “question of the times” with gusto. Asian countries should work hand in hand to find solutions and “play a role” in building a community with a shared future for mankind.
President Halimah Yacob of Singapore commented that the conference, which was first proposed by Xi, met the needs of the times and set a good example for exploring ways to create benefits for more people of the world and promote dialogue among Asian civilizations as well as those from other parts of the world.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar of the Philippines expressed belief that by backtracking on ongoing historical journeys and using them to connect our cultures and beliefs, we will surely find a common starting point, where the oldest and newest Asian civilizations will eventually come together based on human commonality.
Editors of the Voice of Vietnam website responded positively on the four-point proposal made by President Xi to promote dialogue and exchange among different civilizations. The report quoted President Xi as saying that China today is more than the country itself—it is very much a part of Asia and the world. The Manila Bulletin of the Philippines detailed the proposition President Xi made in his keynote speech on how to better promote mutual exchange among Asian civilizations, predicting that an open China would embrace the world with more enthusiasm and work together with other countries to shape a better future.
Multi-dimensional Discussion on
On the afternoon of May 15, six parallel sessions of the CDAC were held simultaneously. About 1,400 representatives from various sectors of government, industry, academia and research from Asia and beyond conducted in-depth dialogue and exchange in the events, which respectively focused on “Sharing Experience on Asian Governance,” “Safeguarding the Diversity of Asian Civilizations,” “Culture, Tourism and People-to-People Exchange,” “Responsibility of Young People in Carrying Forward Asian Civilization Heritage,” “Global Influence of Asian Civilizations,” and “Mutual Learning Among Asian Civilizations and Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind.”
At the sessions, organizers announced several achievements. For instance, China International Publishing Group released multi lingual versions of Keywords to Understand China: On Governance, the Assessment Report of Asia’s Role in Global Governance (Chinese and English) and the Report of the Survey on Mutual Understanding
Among Major Asian Civilizations. China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism released a Report on the Development of Tourism Cooperation in Asia. China’s National Radio and Television Administration released results of the supporting activities for the Outcome of Dialogue and Cooperation in Asian Network Audiovisual Communication Policies, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a research report titled “Mutual Learning Among Asian Civilizations and the Building of a Community of a Shared Future for Mankind.” After the parallel sessions, the 2019 Beijing Consensus of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations was released.
Veronika Sintha, head of the China Division of the Indonesian Centre for Strategic and International Studies, expressed belief that human beings living on the same planet need peace and harmony and that “mutual exchange” is the first step towards achieving peace and harmony for mankind. The China-sponsored CDAC created an opportunity for Asian countries to sit together and conduct dialogue and mutual exchange.
A Cultural Feast
On the evening of May 15, the Asian Cultural Carnival was held at the National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest) in Beijing and broadcast live to the world. It was a multi-national gathering celebrating exchange between Chinese and foreign civilizations. “Our Asia,” a choral and orchestralperformance featuring participation by 10,000 people, the dance and percussion performance “The Grand Regatta,” the hand dance “Silk Road Blossoms” and the song and dance “A Panorama of Asia” were all wonderful. Spectators were deeply impressed visually, aurally and even spiritually. “Deriving from your beauty and glory, hand in hand, we’re one family….” goes the theme song “Our Asia,” which quickly became well known.
Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, one of the famous four greatest tenors in the world, sang the classic aria “Nessun Dorma,” enrapturing the crowd with his ethereal voice and passionate performance. After the event, he revealed that although he couldn’t see the audience, he could feel the vibrations brought by the applause. The entire stage was vibrating. He felt a great impact in his heart and was reduced to tears.
Artists from Japan wrote a letter to the production team expressing their feelings and gratitude in Japanese, English and Chinese. The carnival’s director Yang Dongsheng described a touching scene: “Our original plan was for the Chinese performers to be the last to leave after the gala, but many foreign performers lingered. They were taking pictures on the stage and remained reluctant to leave for quite a while. After the audience exited, many foreign performers stayed right there with the Chinese performers.”
Asian Civilization Week, one of four major events of CDAC, featured an Asian Civilization Parade, Asian Cuisine Festival, Asian Cultural Festival, Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition, Asian Film and TV Week, Joint Exhibition of Asian Civilizations, and many other activities. These presented a panorama of colorful Asian cultures and splendid Asian civilizations.
As a saying goes, “Into blazing flames, we unite; into shining stars, we part.” Although the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations has concluded, the wealth it left and the enlightenment it has fueled us will be passed down and carried forward.