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French entrepreneur: Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence critical for tackling global challenges


View over the city skyline from Jingshan Park, Beijing, China, May 31, 2024. /CFP
View over the city skyline from Jingshan Park, Beijing, China, May 31, 2024. /CFP

View over the city skyline from Jingshan Park, Beijing, China, May 31, 2024. /CFP

The world is at a critical crossroads where solidarity and unity under the values embodied in the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are essential to tackling global challenges and building a future of multilateralism that benefits everyone, French entrepreneur Arnaud Bertrand has said.

"The Five Principles are China's commitment to developing peacefully and to coexisting with other countries, which are often very different from China. And I think this is a key question in today's world," he said.

"The Principles are actually closely linked to the UN Charter. For instance, one of the key principles is mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs. That's also part of the UN charter, (which prohibits interference by states in the internal affairs of others,)" he said.

"Its being part of the UN Charter shows that, in fact, a lot of countries share the values in the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence," he added.

The global order stands at a crossroads, where humanity has to choose between a world respecting the UN Charter and international law or a unipolar world dominated by one country that sets the rules, he said.

"I very much hope that the world will evolve in the first direction where all countries are considered equal, mutually respect each other, do not interfere with each other, and are committed to a peaceful resolution of conflicts," he added.

Bertrand highlighted the cultural exchanges and mutual learning in history between China and France, the first major Western country to establish formal diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China.

"If you look, for instance, back to the Enlightenment with thinkers like Voltaire, we have this mentality of trying to understand China and being inspired by China. And vice versa," he said.

Bertrand, who lived in China for seven years and once studied acupuncture at a traditional Chinese medicine school, is now working on an entrepreneurial project with his wife to develop a range of products inspired by traditional Chinese herbalism.

"In order to learn it (acupuncture), you have to do all the points on yourself. So I literally tried all the acupuncture points on myself. Every single one of them," he said with a big smile, pointing at the back of his hand.

Bertrand believes his project will contribute to bridging Chinese and European cultures.

"At the heart of our business, it is about explaining a key part of Chinese culture to the West," he said. "When you try to understand Chinese medicine, you also understand the very root of Chinese culture."

"By helping people grow interested in traditional Chinese medicine, we also help them understand a bit more about how China perceives the way the human body works, and also in general, key concepts in Chinese culture like harmony, which is to find the right equilibrium between yin and yang," he added.

He speaks enthusiastically of China's visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from a dozen countries, including France, to enter and stay in China for up to 15 days for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit.

"I think it's a very, very good policy because at the end of the day, in order to understand China, the single best way is to come here and see the country with your own eyes. And it's also a show of confidence by China to tell the world: Come and see the country for yourself, we have nothing to hide, and we are proud of our country," he said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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