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Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations on "Culture of Peace" (Agenda Item 15) at the Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

(Photograph by Baijie/Xinhua News Agency) 

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation welcomes the reports by the Secretary-General under the agenda item of “Culture of Peace.” In our present world, the ever deepening globalization, the spread of information technologies and more frequent exchanges among peoples of different countries have brought civilizations ever closer to each other, thus creating favourable conditions for dialogue and cooperation among them. In the meantime, peace and development have yet to become a reality; new global challenges keep on emerging; clashes between civilizations have intensified; there are still misunderstandings among religions and cultures; and religious and racial discrimination is far from being eliminated. Against such a background, it has become all the more important to strengthen dialogue and cooperation among different civilizations. In recent years, the General Assembly has held a number of high-level meetings on inter-culture and inter-faith dialogue, which has brought to the fore the importance and urgency of cultural cooperation and highlighted the intrinsic links between dialogue among civilizations and peace and development. It is necessary to maintain this momentum of cooperation and at the same time, carefully draw experience and lessons from the work in this respect, and identify effective ways and best practice in enhancing understanding, mutual trust and cooperation so as to ensure concrete progress.

Mr. President,

China believes that the following three points should be observed in carrying out dialogue and cooperation among civilizations.

First, respect each other and conduct dialogue on an equal footing. Diversity is a basic characteristic of human civilization as well as a common asset of human society. There are close to 200 countries in the world. Despite their difference in terms of social system, level of development, culture, tradition and religious belief, they have all contributed to human progress. It is therefore necessary for all countries to respect and learn from each other and live together in peace. Extremism, imposition of one’s beliefs or values upon others, discrimination based on religious, racial and other grounds, bias and xenophobia should be firmly rejected.

Second, work on multiple fronts in order to form synergy. Culture and religion cover a wide range of issues and involve complex issues, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dialogue and cooperation in this regard. Within the United Nations, multiple initiatives and mechanisms such as “Interreligious and Intercultural Cooperation for Peace” and “Alliance of Civilizations” have been launched. With distinct features and advantages, these initiatives and mechanisms should strengthen communication and coordination among themselves. The United Nations should play an important role as a platform for cultural exchange and enable various initiatives and mechanisms to complement each other and grow side by side.

Third, involve all sectors of society and work for concrete results. Dialogue among different civilizations is ultimately about promoting people-to-people contacts, thus it should not be limited to the national level only. Rather, civil society, the academia and the media should all be mobilized to disseminate the message of “Culture of Peace” to communities and schools so as to bring the whole society on board. It is particularly important to convey the message of tolerance, understanding and respect to the young people so as to foster their ability to resist religious hatred and discrimination. The media should conscientiously shoulder their social responsibility by upholding social morals and contributing to the creation of a social atmosphere of tolerance and understanding.

Mr. President,

China is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. The Chinese civilization has been imbued with the concept of “harmony” throughout history. The Chinese government adheres to the policy of freedom of religion, fully respects its citizens’ religious beliefs and safeguards this freedom with the Constitution and other laws. Different religions in China co-exist in harmony and enjoy equal status. Religious and non-religious citizens respect each other and live together in harmony. Religious figures in China carry forward fine traditions of patriotism, religious devotion and philanthropy and actively participate in charity work and other public welfare undertakings, thus contributing to social harmony and stability.

Mr. President,

China is in favour of cultural diversity and believes that different civilizations should learn from each other, seek common ground while shelving differences and jointly contribute to the prosperity and progress of mankind. China actively supports dialogue and cooperation among civilizations and religions and has hosted major events to this end, such as ASEM Interfaith Dialogue and the World Buddhist Forum. In two weeks’ time, “Expo 2010 Shanghai” will draw to its close. As the first such global event hosted by a developing country in the history of World Expo, it has attracted the participation of 246 countries and international organizations and over 60 million visitors over a period of more than five months. The Shanghai World Expo offers a platform for countries to demonstrate their cultural achievements and share development experience, giving full expression to the diversity of the world’s civilizations. It has become a showcase of cultural diversity and harmony and an event of happiness and friendship for all. The Chinese government will further strengthen cultural dialogue and exchanges with other countries with a view to contributing to the creation of a world of lasting peace, common prosperity and harmony.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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