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Global Civilization Initiative: To provide key public good for the world

A view of the Great Wall in Chengde, north China's Hebei Province, September 14, 2022. /CFP
A view of the Great Wall in Chengde, north China's Hebei Province, September 14, 2022. /CFP

A view of the Great Wall in Chengde, north China's Hebei Province, September 14, 2022. /CFP

Editor's note: Gao Lei, a special commentator for CGTN, is an associate professor at the Center for Xi Jinping Thoughts on Opening-up, Research Institute of Globalization and China's Modernization, University of International Business and Economics. Xia Lu, a special commentator for CGTN, is an associate professor at the National Academy for Development and Strategy, the Academy of Xi Jinping Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, Renmin University of China. The article reflects the authors' opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

On March 15, 2023, at the high-level dialogue between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and world political parties, CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech and put forward his Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) for the first time. Following the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in 2021 and the Global Security Initiative (GSI) in 2022, the GCI has become another important public good that China has provided to the international community in the new era. In his keynote speech, entitled "Join Hands on the Path Towards Modernization,""civilization" was one of the most frequently mentioned terms. As the future and destiny of all countries are increasingly connected, the inclusive coexistence and exchange as well as mutual learning of different civilizations play an irreplaceable role in promoting the modernization process of human society.

What has China done with the GCI?

As we enter the era of globalization, members of the international community should jointly advocate respecting the diversity of civilizations, promoting the common values of all mankind, attaching importance to the inheritance and innovation of civilizations, and strengthening international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. The GCI is in line with the GDI and the GSI, demonstrating China's determination and responsibility to promote the building of a global community of shared future in the new era.

In order to provide a practicable platform for the further promotion of the GCI, China has convened high-level dialogues and summits between the leaders of the CPC and world political parties, as well as conferences on dialogue among Asian civilizations. In addition, China has also continued to deepen cooperation with UNESCO and the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and China has 43 items included on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List as of December 2022.

In fact, China had already been undertaking substantial causes to enhance the communication among different civilizations even before the coining of the term. China has held more than 30 large-scale cultural and tourism years (festivals), and has promoted the continuous development of 16 multilateral exchange and cooperation mechanisms and 25 bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the BRICS Culture Ministers' Meeting,  the Arabic Arts Festival, and the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival.

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes in northwest China's Gansu Province. /VCG
Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes in northwest China's Gansu Province. /VCG

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes in northwest China's Gansu Province. /VCG

With the implementation of the "Cultural Silk Road" program, the Chinese government has promoted cultural and tourism exchanges along the Belt and Road as well as established an international alliance of cultural facilities, including theaters, museums, libraries, art festivals and art galleries along the Silk Road. By establishing about 3,000 pairs of sister cities (or provinces and states) with other countries, Chinese authorities have carried out the promotion of "Nihao China" inbound tourism.

By promoting the GCI, China has made a sincere call to the world to enhance exchanges and dialogue among civilizations and promote the progress of human civilization through inclusiveness and mutual learning. The international community has responded positively to the GCI, believing that it reflects China's global vision and growing international influence, and provides comprehensive solutions to the current problems facing mankind.

What does the GCI mean to the world?

In today's world, multiple challenges and crises are intertwined and superimposed, with the world economy struggling to recover, the development gap widening, the ecological environment deteriorating, and the modernization process of human society once again coming to a crossroads in history.

The GCI, combining with the GDI and GSI, does not merely reflect China's plans, but it also provides more wisdom and enlightenment to human society at the crossroads. The GCI is calling for equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among civilizations. At present, however, certain countries, based on their rigid hegemonic thinking, are trumpeting unilateralism in the cultural and ideological fields, engaging in so-called values-based diplomacy, which has seriously interfered with communication and exchanges among civilizations, therefore becoming a major obstacle to the progress of human civilization.

Although there are many differences among civilizations in terms of history, cultural background, and geographical context, there is no superiority or inferiority. That being said, the GCI is of great significance: Firstly, as it advocates exchanges, mutual learning, and tolerance among different civilizations, the GCI serves as a direction for human civilization in the future, playing a positive role in promoting the construction of a multipolar world and common prosperity. Secondly, by displaying the CPC's sincere desire to build a global community of shared future, the GCI reflects the CPC's high respect for the diversification of civilizations.

Chinese people believe that the coexistence of civilizations leads to peace and prosperity. On March 10, 2023, China brokered the reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia and reopened their diplomatic relations, demonstrating China's patience, wisdom and responsibility. On March 15, a high-level dialogue between the CPC and world political parties was held, allowing the world to see a more open, confident and successful China under the leadership of the CPC. It is then reasonable to expect that with the implementation of these innovative ideas, China will further promote the construction of a better global governance system and contribute its wisdom and strength to the stability and prosperity of the world.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

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