Respect Diversity of Civilizations
--Speech at the Headquarters of the League of Arab States
Your Excellency Secretary General Amr Moussa,
Your Excellencies Diplomatic Envoys,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted today to have the opportunity to meet you, diplomatic envoys and Egyptian friends from various sectors, here at the headquarters of the League of Arab States, symbol of the solidarity, unity and strength of Arab countries. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I would like to pay high tribute and offer best wishes to all the Arab countries and people.
There is an Arab saying which goes, "Whoever drinks the Nile water is sure to come back again." Three years ago, right in front of the pyramid by the Nile, I joined people from Egypt and China in celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Today, returning to this beautiful land imbued with splendid civilization, I feel much at home.
China and Arab countries enjoy a time-honored friendship. Both sides went through tremendous changes in modern times and embarked on the road of national rejuvenation. Similar experiences and common pursuit of development have bonded us close together. Sharing weal and woe, we have tided over difficulties side by side and forged profound friendship. The Chinese people see the Arab people as good friends, good partners and good brothers. We rejoice at every success you have achieved on the path of development, and we warmly congratulate you on all your accomplishments.
The title of my speech today is Respect Diversity of Civilizations.
There exist diverse civilizations in the world, just like there are diverse species in the nature. The world today is home to over200 countries and regions, more than 2,500 ethnic groups and 6,000-plus languages. As different musical notes make a beautiful melody, people of different ethnicities, colors and historical and cultural backgrounds have jointly made our world a splendid and colorful place. Dialogue, exchanges and integration among different civilizations form the powerful current of human civilization, surging ahead ceaselessly.
Both the Islamic and the Chinese civilizations are treasures of the human civilization and both have made indelible contributions to the progress and development of the human society.
Dialogue and exchanges between the Chinese civilization and the Islamic civilization date back to antiquity and the world-famous Silk Road offers us the best example. Through this ancient road, walnuts, pepper and carrots were introduced to China two thousand years ago and have since become very popular among the Chinese people. One Thousand and One Nights, a literary classic in the Arab heyday, is known to every Chinese household. And Islamic music, dance, dress and architecture are warmly appreciated in China. Likewise, the ancient Chinese culture and technologies were introduced to Arab countries and via Arab countries, Chinese porcelain, silk, tea and papermaking technique were passed on to Europe. Six hundred years ago, Zheng He, a Muslim navigator in China, landed in the Arab region several times on his seven voyages to the Western Seas. He is remembered as an envoy of friendship and knowledge. The ever expanding and deepening exchanges between China and the Arab world have not only enhanced our respective cultural prosperity and economic development, but also promoted interactions between the Eastern and Western civilizations.
Civilizations can be different, but no civilization is superior to others. Each civilization embodies the common vision and common aspirations of mankind shaped in the course of development and progress. The Chinese civilization has long advocated the great ideas that "Harmony is most valuable," "Seek harmony in diversity" and "Don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you." Similarly, the Islamic civilization values peace and calls for tolerance. The Koran contains more than 100 references to peace. We should build consensus and seek harmony in a world of diversity and push forward development through exchanges. This is the approach all mankind should embrace in advancing civilization.