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Time to accept sage advice

By Wang Xin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-30 08:30

Kim Won-soo, former under secretary-general of the United Nations. CHINA DAILY

To further global study of Lao Tzu's philosophy, Nankai University launched the College of Philosophy Global Laozegetics Research Center this year. To date, experts from 13 countries have joined, including those from Germany, South Korea, Japan, Iran, the United States, Indonesia and Slovakia.

The teachings of Confucius also remain relevant today.

"Confucius emphasized filling oneself through learning, whereby one could internalize benevolence and courtesy and establish life norms. Equally profound is his advocacy of a culture in which the elites build an ideal state by learning to govern home, society and the world," Kim said at the forum.

David Ferguson, honorary chief English editor of the Foreign Languages Press, took another perspective, sharing his story and understanding of the hospitality and friendship rooted in Chinese people.

"Hospitality to guests is a longstanding tradition in China that has endured from the times of Confucius and before, up to today. I have spent many years in China, and I have come to value hospitality and friendship as one of the greatest strengths of Chinese culture and the Chinese people," said Ferguson.

Going further, Ferguson pointed out that the concept of friendship extends to the national level, and it is reflected in China's approach to its relations with other countries, proved by the five principles of peaceful coexistence and the win-win mindset when it comes to international cooperation.

"Win-win captures a fundamental difference between China and the West. So China sees competitors as potential partners, with whom it can work to the benefit of both. The West sees competitors only as adversaries and enemies, to be crushed and beaten," he explained.

Ferguson noted that the Belt and Road Initiative, which he described as "a driver of change", perfectly encapsulates this phenomenon.

"If the BRI is successful, it will bring opportunities for growth and development to poor and underdeveloped countries involved, transform the future prospects of all participating countries, and create a fairer international order that is more just and equitable. It will give a stronger voice to developing countries, and allow their voices to be heard on the international stage," he said.

Notably, the BRI will promote people-to-people exchanges, and bring civilizations and cultures together, Ferguson added, which echoes with the well-known saying of Confucius: "To welcome friends from afar, is it not a great joy?"

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