Exhibition on ethnic scripts of China opens at UN headquarters
Updated: 2013-11-20 14:19
United Nations---An exhibition on ethnic scripts showcasing China's multi-ethnic culture debuted Tuesday at the UN headquarters.
Sponsored by China's permanent mission to the UN and the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology, the three-day event presents more than 50 different ways of writing "he", or peace and harmony, which is not only the essence of traditional Chinese culture, but a common goal for mankind.
Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, said at the opening ceremony that the languages of ethnic groups are part of the Chinese civilization and the shared wealth of humanity.
"Diversity enriches culture and makes our world a better one," he said. "Ethnic interactions and interdependence have formed a unique multifaceted cultural heritage in China's 5,000-year history."
The Chinese envoy said most ethnic groups have developed their language systems, oral, written or both. "These languages crystallize wisdom," he said.
Tegegnework Gettu, under secretary-general for General Assembly Affairs and Conference Management of the UN, praised the exhibition as a display of "exquisite artwork."
"In my view, the various ethnic scripts on display represent the richness of these cultures that are part of China's heritage," he said. "The Chinese writing system is one of the oldest known written languages in the world."
Gettu stressed that many of the ethnic scripts have deep roots in history, serving as a communication tool for daily activities that has been used to record the social and economic development of the Chinese people through time.
"They're indispensable resources for understanding China's multi-ethnic history and culture. These ethnic scripts not only contribute to the preservation of unique cultural identities, but also celebrate cultural diversity around the world," he said.
China is home to 56 ethnic groups with a total population of 1.339 billion today. Excluding the Han population, the ethnic minority population amounts to some 114 million, making up 8.49 percent of China's total population.
Among it, more than 68 million from 54 ethnic groups, except the Huis, speak more than 80 languages other than Chinese Mandarin. And 22 ethnic groups, including the Uygurs, Tibetans and Mongolians, use more than 28 forms of written languages other than the Han scripts.