The Power of Culture
Remarks by Ambassador Jiang Jiang at "Encounters with China" at the University of Malta

Dear Friends,

    Good evening. What a delight to join you at "Encounters with China".

    For a nation, culture is often seen as its "root", its "soul" . To know a country, one starts with its culture.

    Tonight's event features the Chinese culture, one nurtured by the millennia-long Chinese civilization. To have a good grasp of this topic, broad and deep, I suggest that we focus on the following three key words:

    The first word is peace.

    The pursuit of peace among all nations has been a philosophy guiding the conduct of the Chinese people throughout China's history.

    Some 600 hundred years ago in China's Ming Dynasty, Chinese navigator Zheng He led the most sophisticated fleet of vessels on seven voyages, covering over 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa. He and his men brought the locals Chinese tea, porcelain, silk and handicraft, and yet occupied not a single inch of others' land.

    In modern times, China suffered the invasion and humiliation of foreign powers. The scarring memories from the scourge of war made the Chinese better appreciate the value of peace.

    Today's China is a staunch upholder of world peace, an active player in fulfilling international obligations, and the largest troop contributor to UN peace-keeping missions among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    China follows an independent foreign policy of peace, and keeps to the path of peaceful development.

    China does not impose its own will upon others or interfere in others' internal affairs, and likewise we do not allow others to meddle in our domestic affairs.

    China seeks no hegemony or expansion, whenever and wherever. Instead, China will remain a staunch force for global peace.

    The second keyword is harmony.

    Harmony is first about the way man lives with nature.

    The Chinese nation has the tradition of respecting and loving nature, pursuing the unity of man and nature, of human society and the eco-enviornment. The Chinese people believe that humankind should follow the law of nature and be moderate and measured in their use of what the nature offers.

    Today, China is exploring a path to green, low-carbon development to enhance ecological conservation. China is also deeply involved in global environmental governance, pushing for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, tackling climate change and promoting global sustainable development.

    Harmony is also about the way countries engage and interact. Mutual respect and mutual support, seeking common ground while reserving differences - this is the right way to go for countries to live with each other.

    In face of rising unilateralism and protectionism, China remains firm in upholding multilateralism, and deepening cooperation with other countries at the UN, the WTO, the G20, APEC and other multilateral frameworks to inject positive energy into global development.

    We oppose advancing one's own interest at the expense of others'. We do not think the Thucydides trap is destined to happen. We believe in living in harmony and seeking win-win through cooperation.

    By developing the Belt and Road with partner countries, China is safeguarding multilateralism, international rules and free trade in an effort to promote the building of a global community with a shared future.

    The third keyword is inclusiveness.

    The Chinese civilization is known for being open and inclusive. Rather than keeping people who differ out with use of force, China seeks co-existence in inclusiveness.

    China is home to 56 ethnic groups, each of which has its unique culture. People of the 56 ethnic groups are like members of one big family, living side by side in unity, amity and harmony.

    The songs and dances of the Uygurs, the folk customs of the Tibetans, the fine cuisine of the Mongolians, to name but a few, are all valuable components of the Chinese culture.

    China is also a multi-religious country where people of different religious belief live side by side in mutual respect and harmony, jointly contributing to the progress and prosperity of the motherland.

    We believe that between the different cultures in today's world, there also requires an open and inclusive approach, and mutual learning. Since the launch of reform and opening-up, China has worked actively to integrate into the world, by drawing on the experience of other cultures and contributing its share to cross-cultural exchange and dialogue.

    Take Malta for example, China and Malta have maintained close contacts in the cultural field. The China Cultural Center is the first of its kind in Europe. The Confucius Institute at the University of Malta celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The Mediterranean Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine at the University have alleviated the pains of numerous Maltese patients. All of these institutions have made valuable contributions to forging a closer bond between the people of our two countries.

    Dear Friends,

    This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The past seven decades have seen China develop from a poor country into the world's second largest economy, and the Chinese nation become self-reliant, get richer and grow stronger.

    These achievements are possible because we have found a development path suited to China's own conditions. This is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is a path deeply rooted in China's traditional culture and we have strong confidence in this path.

    I was told many present tonight are students. So, maybe a "tip" from the Chinese culture to share with the students present: that is hard work and dedication to learning, a fine quality that can take you far in life.

    I hope that you will seize every opportunity, make the best of your time of youth, and play your part in serving the well-being of the people of our two countries and in promoting global peace and prosperity.

    Thank you!

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