Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with German sinologists and representatives of faculty members from Confucius Institutes and Chinese language learners

[Source]    Xinhuanet [Time]    2014-04-08 16:22:42 

On March 29, Chinese President Xi Jinping met and held talks on strengthening the exchanges of language and culture between China and Germany in Berlin with German sinologists and representatives of faculty members from Confucius Institutes and students studying Chinese.

The attendees from the German side included scholars specialized in Chinese history and culture studies, experts on Chinese language teaching and young people interested in Chinese language and culture. Prior to the discussions, President Xi shook hands and had a cordial chat with them.

President Xi Jinping extended his gratitude and respect to these German scholars and experts for their continuous efforts for and contributions to the promotion of China-Germany cultural exchanges, and then said that he would like to hear ideas and opinions from them first.

The first Director of the Goethe-Institut Peking Michael Kahn-Ackermann, Director of the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Michael Lackner and Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Duesseldorf Cord Eberspaecher respectively delivered speeches. They talked about the achievements of the China-Germany collaboration, their understanding of Chinese culture, their advice on promoting China’s image and their expectations of Confucius Institutes, and then suggested that China combine her traditional culture with her modern culture and publicize in a way that foreigners find easy to accept and comprehend so as to improve her soft power and expand her international influence. They also said that a growing number of Germans desire to learn Chinese language and culture, so China should strengthen her cultural exchanges with foreign countries.

President Xi Jinping took notes while listening to their speeches. After their talks, President Xi congratulated them on their exceptionally fluent Chinese, and said that he not only was greatly inspired by their in-depth, insightful opinions and suggestions but also felt their affection for China and identification with Chinese culture, which he thought reflected the value of China-Germany cultural exchanges. He added that he would seriously take into account all their suggestions.

Xi Jinping pointed out that in an age when the world is multi-polarized, economy globalized, cultures diversified and international relations democratized, people-to-people exchanges become crucial and country-to-country collaboration necessary. He further said that language is vital to communication since it carries the charm of a country’s culture and conveys the cohesion of a nation, thus the key to a new culture. Only by learning different languages, he added, can we possibly understand the differences among various cultures and as a result see the world in a more objective and rational way and be more inclusive and friendly.

President Xin Jinping accentuated that the bias against China is mainly derived from strangeness, estrangement and misunderstanding. He said that one can never truly understand China if he only focuses on one side of her, and therefore when introducing China to other countries, we should include her unique aspects and overall conditions, her past and present, her economic and social development, and her people and culture. Profound traditional Chinese culture, he remarked, has become the gene of Chinese culture as a whole, which is deep-rooted within Chinese people and subtly influences the behavior of every Chinese. We are now endeavoring to build socialist core values, and part of them stem from traditional Chinese culture, he added.

President Xi Jinping also noted that we ought to be confident of, persistent with and stick to our own culture in exchanges with foreign ones. He quoted several Chinese sayings to illustrate that so long as we continuously strengthen exchanges with the rest of the world, the prejudice and misunderstanding will eventually disappear, such as “Peaches and plums do not have to talk, yet the world beats a path to them”, “The loudest sound is soundless, and the greatest image is shapeless” and “Constant dropping wears away the stone”.

President Xi Jinping said that Germany has bred many renowned literati, philosophers and art masters, and we respect German culture. Today, an increasing number of Germans are learning Chinese language, and many schools in China have also set up German courses. President Xi encouraged Confucius Institutes to play a more positive role in promoting exchanges and cooperation of languages and comparative studies between the East and the West. He expressed his hope that the young people in the two countries could strengthen their communication and carry forward their friendship, adding that we would very much like to hear, humbly and respectfully, suggestions from foreign experts on China studies, including the ones present.


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