Dialogue of civilizations offers benefits in long term
Memories of my just-completed trip to a number of Asian countries convinced me that the upcoming Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing is set to reap rich fruits that will benefit the area's development over the long run.
As a member of a delegation of Chinese journalists, I managed to cover a handful of cities of Vietnam, India and Myanmar within 10 days. While exchanging ideas with local journalists and other people, I was impressed with the pride they showed in their respective civilizations. Driving or walking through the broad streets or narrow lanes, one couldn't help but be amazed by the timeworn structures that are hundreds or thousands of years old. They stand there to remind us of the splendid civilization that has survived until today.
Asia is the mother of a large number of ancient civilizations. When the babies were born, they looked very much alike-in fact I was a little shocked to find that the stone and bone tools and weapons of the Neolithic Age as exhibited in these countries' museums are very similar to those of the same age in China. Then, because of geography, religion or politics, civilizations in Asia developed in different directions, sometimes so different that we wonder if they are from the same mother.
Different as they are, Asians are, like the Chinese, all understandably proud of their long histories of civilization. But the fact that most of the Asian countries are still underdeveloped seems to raise a question to them all: How can we benefit from our glorious past?
To me, ancient civilizations are not just something to take pride in. They should be able to bring solid benefits to people in the present day.
Such a result can be achieved only when it is well-combined with modern mentality and technology. And this proves to be a challenge for all.
To me, glorious as they are, all the civilizations still have room to learn from their counterparts, as a civilization can have great vitality only when it is open.
The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing is a chance for different civilizations to mingle and to learn. Therefore it deserves our blessing for success.
The writer is deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily.