Interview: Chinese wisdom can contribute to world's future development, says Austrian scholar

[Source]    Xinhua [Time]    2019-09-09 15:08:54 

A senior Austrian sinologist believes the rich Chinese wisdom can contribute greatly to the world's harmonious development and calls for solidarity in the face of the numerous problems facing the world.

"China has a thousands-year-old history and a history of thought which includes miscellaneous schools of thoughts such as Confucianism, Taoism, and Mohism. Today in the 21st century, we must solve problems we have now and in the future. The rich Chinese wisdom can make important contributions to the future of China and the whole world," Richard Trappl, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna.

He also called for deeper two-way educational exchanges involving more Chinese students "going out" and more international students "going in" so as to cultivate in the younger generation an international spirit and a keener sense of global responsibilities.

The sinologist said he was "awe-inspired by the tremendous developments of China" over the past 40 years, taking as examples the rice fields-turned Shanghai Pudong New Area, the emergence of high-speed railway and the wide spread of personal automobiles.

He recalled that back in the 1970s, his Chinese acquaintances had neither been abroad nor seen any foreigners, but now data shows the Chinese are making a total of 100 million outbound visits annually.

"China's reform and opening up has not only led to the country's economic development and internationalization, but also freed the people's minds," Trappl said.

To understand China, the sinologist deems it necessary to know "both ancient China and contemporary China since classical and modern cultures are interwoven and neatly correlated."

Thus, universities' sinology departments and Confucius institutes should seek a comprehensive understanding and analysis of China and disseminate their experience to the students and audiences, the expert said.

"But theory and practice are two different things," the scholar said, adding that "to truly understand China, one must live in China for some time, or go there multiple times to experience on his or her own."

Calling himself "the lucky one," Trappl recalled how in the past four decades, his footsteps had touched Chinese soil stretching north to south from the city of Changchun to the province of Hainan, and east to west from Shanhaiguan Pass to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

For the Austrian expert whose affection for Chinese characters started right from his teenage years, his Confucius institute has "offered a platform allowing him to combine his passion and work."

Trappl said that thanks to various channels of cultural exchanges made possible at the university level, officially through delegations, or unofficially with friends, he has gained "a holistic and multi-dimensional picture of China's development."

He hoped that China would continue to develop peacefully and harmoniously and provide good living conditions for its people. He also noted the need to take care of the environment in the pursuit of economic development, saying this is a challenge facing not only China but the world at large.

As resources on Earth are very limited, laws and regulations are needed to coordinate the needs of different parties -- individual, national and countries' needs, Trappl said, adding that the political, economic, cultural and diplomatic ties between China and other countries are very important and great efforts are needed to further improve them.

The sinologist called for solidarity in a world faced with many problems, conflicts and dangers. "We have two choices: either to descend from a lack of understanding to misunderstandings, hatred or even war, or to ascend towards mutual understanding, accommodation and appreciation," he said.

(VIENNA, Sept. 8 Xinhua)

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