Lecture on “The Milestones of Asia Civilization Dialogue”

Asia is one of the earliest settlements of mankind and an important birthplace of human civilization. The exchanges and mutual learning between China and other civilizations in Asia have jointly promoted the development of Chinese civilization and world civilization. Today, Asia is one of the most dynamic and potential regions in the world. The status of Asian civilizations in the world structure is constantly rising. Asian civilizations characterized by learning, mutual learning, exchanges and integration are entering a new era for world peace. Development and sustainable development provide soft power and are accelerating the pace of building a new world order. Asia has a strong culture of inclusiveness, respect for different views, cultures and beliefs, pay attention to harmony and order, promote ‘and different. Compared In the West, individualism is the core value, and the values ​​advocated by Asian countries pay more attention to the unity of rights, obligations and responsibilities, and emphasize that respect is mutual. These bright spots are worth sharing with the world.

Asian civilizations in history

1. The birthplace of human civilization

Generally speaking, civilization refers to the material achievements and spiritual connotations shared by a group that are different from other groups, which are manifested in unique buildings and artifacts, as well as characters, values, lifestyles, customs and traditions, religious beliefs, society and politics, order, etc. The advanced nature of Asian civilization is mainly manifested in the following aspects.

( 1 ) The birthplace of world agriculture. The Mesopotamia in western Asia is the birthplace of world agriculture and laid the material foundation for the birth of world civilization. Civilization is not always there. Agricultural production first emerged in Asia, laying the material foundation for Asian civilization to lead the rest of the world. Archaeologists have discovered in the Yemo region of northern Iraq today. About 9,000 years ago, people here had grown barley, wheat, lentils and other crops. The earliest remains of rice in the world were also found at the Hemudu site in Zhejiang. Archaeologists have found numerous agricultural remains in a wide area of ​​the Asian continent between 20 degrees and 40 degrees north latitude . Based on this, they inferred that the area had experienced an “agricultural revolution”.

( 2 ) Shaper of world civilization. The Asian “agricultural revolution” caused a series of changes. People have gradually begun to settle since they cultivated plants and domesticated wild animals. The scale of settlements has continued to expand, and cities have formed. The emergence of private property has led to further division of social labor, resulting in writings and classes. And the country. Beginning around 4000 BC , the cuneiform writing of the Mesopotamia, the hieroglyphics of Egypt, the seal inscriptions of the Indus Valley, and the oracle bone inscriptions of China were successively created by the ancestors, and mankind mastered the preservation of knowledge and the dissemination of technology. Way. Taking the Mesopotamia civilization as an example, the ancient city of Babylon and the Hanging Garden built by the Mesopotamia civilization are hailed as ancient miracles; the Code of Hammurabi issued is the first complete written law in world history discovered so far. The cuneiform writing was the earliest writing and became the beginning of the western alphabet writing; the “Epic of Gilgamesh” recorded in the clay tablet document is the earliest recorded epic. The ancient Mesopotamia civilization also has many firsts in human history, such as the first public library, the earliest astronomical records, and the first worldwide empire across Europe, Asia and Africa-the Persian Empire. Around 4000 BC, many small countries centered on cities emerged in the Mesopotamia Region of West Asia. Soon after, countries appeared in the Nile River Basin in North Africa, the Indus River Basin in South Asia, and the Yellow River Basin in East Asia.

( 3 ) The center of world religion. The ancient Mesopotamia civilization had a profound influence on Jews and Judaism, and further influenced the emergence and development of Christianity and Islam. The stories about God’s creation, the flood story, and the garden of Eden recorded in the Christian classic “Old Testament Bible” are all derived from Judaism and its classics, and these can be found in the ancient Mesopotamia civilization. Jerusalem became the holy city of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. India is the birthplace of Buddhism and spread it all over the world.

In short, Mesopotamia civilization, Indus Valley civilization, Chinese civilization, and northern nomadic civilization are the origins of ancient civilizations in the world. These civilizations were 2000 years earlier than the appearance of the Cretan-Mycenae (present Greece, Italy) and Slavonic cultural circles (Present Ukraine, Macedonia, Serbia etc) as ones of the most influential source of Western civilizations.

2. A model of peaceful coexistence

In the long-term historical process, Asian civilizations have always been characterized by polycentricity and diversification. This feature not only did not trigger a “civilization conflict”, on the contrary, it also set a model for human beings to promote civilization exchanges and mutual learning. In the process of “learning” and “mutual exchange”, Asian civilizations have also been able to retain the traditions and power sources that have allowed them to make continuous progress. In the South Asian subcontinent, archaeologists have discovered that the seals from the Mesopotamia have the image of elephants unique to South Asia. These are manifestations of the exchanges and mutual learning between the Mesopotamia civilization and the Indus Valley civilization.

Through the exchanges between civilizations, the Chinese have long proposed the open civilization of “harmony without difference”. The phrase “harmony but different” comes out of “The Analects of Confucius”, which means that despite different opinions, one can still get along in harmony. Chinese civilization has gone through more than 5,000 years of historical changes, but it has always been in the same line. “Harmony but difference” “Tolerance is great” is an important reason for the continued growth and growth of the Chinese nation, and it is also an important principle for learning from the outstanding achievements of various civilizations. Chinese civilization is a civilization created on the land of China, and it is also a civilization formed by continuous exchanges and mutual learning with other civilizations. For this reason, the exchanges between China and other civilizations in Asia not only promoted the development of Chinese civilization, but also promoted the development of world civilization.

The Chinese civilization is an active promoter of exchanges and interactions among Asian civilizations. In more than 100 BC , China began to open up the Silk Road to the Western Regions. Zhang Qian of the Han Dynasty made two missions to the Western Regions in 138 BC and 119 BC , spreading Chinese culture to the Western Regions, and also introduced grapes, alfalfa, pomegranate, flax, sesame, cucumber and other western species, which enriched our vegetable basket; learn The culture of the Western Regions such as Huanghou and Pipa. During the Western Han Dynasty, the Chinese fleet arrived in India and Sri Lanka and exchanged Chinese silk for glass, pearls and other items. The Tang Dynasty was an active period of foreign exchanges in Chinese history.  According to historical records, there were more than 70 countries with diplomatic relations with China in the Tang Dynasty , and envoys, businessmen, and students from various countries gathered in the then capital, Chang’an. This great exchange promoted the spread of Chinese culture to the world, and also promoted the introduction of cultures and products from various countries into China. At the beginning of the 15th century, Zheng He, a famous Chinese navigator in Ming Dynasty, made seven ocean voyages through various Southeast Asian countries and reached Kenya on the east coast of Africa, leaving behind good stories about China’s friendly exchanges with the people of other countries along the way. In 1987 , 20 magnificent glazed wares were unearthed in the underground palace of Famen Temple in Shaanxi, China.

Buddhism originated in ancient India. In 67 AD , the eminent monks Kaye Moteng and Zhu Falan from Tianzhu came to Luoyang, China to translate the scriptures. The translation of “Forty-two Chapters” became the earliest Buddhist scripture translation in the history of Chinese Buddhism. After Buddhism was introduced to China, after a long period of evolution, it merged and developed with Chinese Confucian and Taoist culture, and finally formed a Buddhist culture with Chinese characteristics, which had a profound impact on the religious beliefs, philosophical concepts, literature and art, etiquette and customs of the Chinese people. . The Chinese developed Buddhist thoughts based on the characteristics of Chinese culture, formed unique Buddhist theories, and spread Buddhism from China to Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and other places.

3. All-round historical contribution

In addition to advancing the progress of its own civilization, Asian civilizations have also provided assistance to the progress of other civilizations in the world. For example, the influence of Asian civilization on European civilization is like this. AD 830 – 930 years, in the Arab region , at the time of the Abbasid launched the famous “Hundred Years of translation movement” for wealth preservation and spread of Western civilization has achieved a lot. American historian Will Durant pointed out: “The Greek civilization is the envy of the world, but in reality, the vast majority of its civilization comes from cities in the Near East.” “The Near East is truly Western civilization. Creator”.

Arabic numerals originated in India, influenced the world by Arab merchants, and became the universal mathematical language in the world. China’s four major inventions of papermaking, gunpowder, printing, and the compass drove world changes and promoted the European Renaissance. Chinese philosophy, literature, medicine, silk, porcelain, tea, etc. were introduced into the West and penetrated into the daily life of the western people. “Marco Polo’s Travels” has made countless Westerners yearn for China. On the basis of the natural economy, Asian civilization has formed regional trade networks such as the China Trade Circle, the Indian Ocean Trade Circle, and the Southeast Asian Monsoon Trade Circle; it has opened up key material channels such as the Silk Road, the Spice Road, the Tea Road, and the Arabian Peninsula Trade Route All these have laid the foundation for the development of commerce in the era of European navigation. Scholars from France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, etc., learned cotton fabric manufacturing methods in India and China free of charge, and provided a lot of knowledge and technology for the transformation of the European textile machinery industry. As a result, the European industrial revolution may take the lead from the cotton textile industry.

To this day, there are still Westerners who strongly call for learning from the East, saying that “the East played a pivotal role in the rise of modern Western civilization. If the West does not understand the profoundness and breadth of Eastern civilization, then when the nations of the East learn from the West When awakening from the shock and destruction caused by expansion and invasion, the West will become fragile and vulnerable. Compared with the Chinese method, the Western approach has greater limitations. The future of Western civilization lies in the East. “.

The modern encounters and rise of Asian civilizations

In modern times, facing the impact of Western civilization, Asian civilization has gradually lost its former glory. Western civilization uses “war capitalism” to create a new capitalist world system. In this process, most of the Asian civilization centers suffered colonial and semi-colonial plunder, and the people in the Mesopotamia, Indus and Ganges civilization and even the Chinese civilization were suffering.

First, Asian civilization is marginalized. Since 1500 , with the opening of new routes and the “discovery” of the American continent, human history has entered modern times. European civilization used “war capitalism” to squeeze out the original regional traders through “warriors and traders” in a violent way, and rebuilt a capitalist world system. After this process, most Asian civilizations lost their original sources of trade. In addition to the agricultural failures caused by climate change, the original government was unable to resist external aggression and internally integrate the society. The original trade network and social organization relations declined rapidly. Most Asian civilizations have lost their central position on the world stage of history, and have fallen into a “center-periphery” world system constructed with Europe as the center, and have been forced to stay on the edge.

Second, the differentiation of Asian civilizations has been accelerated. Asian civilizations, which used to be mainly farming, began to diverge, and there was a wave of learning from Europe. From the reforms of the Ottoman Sultan Mahmoud II, the Westernization Movement in China to the Meiji Restoration in Japan, people with lofty ideals in all countries tried to catch up with the times and save themselves. However, due to the limitations of history and time, most reforms ended in failure. Only Japan was prevented from becoming a colony, but it has embarked on the road of military despotism. In modern times, the collapse and division of traditional social organizations, wars, aggression and colonization have caused the people living in the traditional Mesopotamia civilized areas, the Indus Ganges civilized areas and even the Chinese civilized areas to suffer.

In the struggle for national independence and liberation for more than a century, the Asian people sympathized with and supported each other, and jointly promoted the awakening of Asia. After the end of the Second World War, based on similar experiences and common ideals, Asian developing countries, together with other developing countries in other parts of the world, made a new voice in the international arena. This is what was famous at the Bandung Conference. Five principles of peaceful coexistence. Based on the desire of most developing countries in the world to seek political independence and equality in international relations, China, India, and Myanmar have followed this historical trend and jointly advocated “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and equality. The five principles of mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as the basic guideline of China’s handling of international relations, 20 Century 60 ‘s the rise of the Non-Aligned Movement also put the Five Principles as a guiding principle; 1970 and the 1974 United Nations General Assembly adopted a declaration on the peaceful coexistence accepted Five principles. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have been adopted by a series of international organizations and international documents in the world today, and have been widely endorsed and abided by by the international community. Sundar Nath Bhattarai , chairman of the Nepal China Studies Center , believes that “the five principles of peaceful coexistence proposed by the late Premier Zhou Enlai have now become the inseparable cornerstone of the development of diplomatic relations between countries. It is said that these five principles originated from and were influenced by the cultural concept of peaceful coexistence of human beings in ancient China.”

The status of today’s Asian civilization in the world structure is constantly rising. Asia is one of the regions with the most development vitality and potential in the world. It is the region with the fastest global economic development, the greatest potential, and the most active cooperation. It is an important engine for the recovery and development of the world economy. But today’s Asia is also facing challenges in all aspects.

Asia is one of the most dynamic and potential regions in the world today. The development of Asia is closely related to the development of other continents. Into the 21 century since, the volume of trade within Asia from 0.8 up $ to trillion 3 trillion dollars, the Asian trade with the rest of the world from the  $ 1.5 increase of $ 4.8 trillion. Today, Asia accounts for 40% of the world’s population , 57% of the total economy , and 48% of the total trade volume . Regional and sub-regional cooperation between Asia and the rest of the world is showing vigor and bright prospects. President Xi Jinping pointed out: “Now, the’Belt and Road’, two corridors and one ring, the’Eurasian Economic Union’, etc. have expanded the channels for cultural exchanges and mutual learning, and cooperation among countries in the fields of science and technology, education, culture, health, and people-to-people exchanges is flourishing. With the development, Asian civilizations have also developed and grown through exchanges and mutual learning within themselves and with world civilizations.” At present, people are speculating whether Vietnam and Cambodia will break out the next economic miracle.

The Key Concepts

The concept of Asian civilization in the new era should be able to push human society towards a new future as much as possible. At present, the world is facing a series of challenges such as climate change and regional conflicts, which must be resolved through cooperation of various countries. Therefore, some people call for, “The world is diverse, the culture is diverse, and the construction of modern civilization models is diverse. The 21st century belongs to both the East and the West; the 21st century belongs to us, yours, and theirs. In short The 21st century belongs to everyone, and it belongs to all mankind.” The future world order should be based on the tolerance and harmony of different civilizations. 

 It is necessary to strengthen communication and dialogue among different countries, nations and cultures, enhance mutual understanding, mutual trust and friendship between peoples, and consolidate the human, social, and public support for the building of an Asian community with a shared future and a community with a shared future for mankind.

This is why we need some very good cases to understand the rich and extraordinary cultures of Asia. Whether it is the ancient Silk Road, or the current ASEAN or other economic organizations, it is all in order to increase our understanding of each other. We must work hard to understand what It can bring the common prosperity of mankind and how to grow together in a mutually reinforcing way. We will learn a lot from Asia.

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