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Xi Jinping Holds Discussion with German Sinologists, Faculty Representatives of Confucius Institutes and Student Representatives of Chinese Language Learning,

2014/03/29

On March 29 local time, President Xi Jinping met with the German sinologists, the faculty representatives of the Confucius Institutes and the student representatives of Chinese language learning in Berlin. He held a discussion with them on strengthening the language and cultural exchanges between China and Germany.

The German participants in the discussion include the scholars who study Chinese history and culture, the experts who are engaged in Chinese language teaching, and also the young people who are interested in Chinese language and culture. Before the discussion, Xi Jinping shook hands with each of them and had amiable talks with them.

Xi Jinping said, most of you are German sinologists and China hands who have made unremitting efforts in and contributions to promoting the cultural exchanges between China and Germany. I should pay my respect to you and I wish to listen to you first.

Michael Kahn-Ackermann, the first director of the Goethe-Institut in Beijing, Michael Lackner, the dean of the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), and Cord Eberspacher, the German director of Dusseldorf Confucius Institute, made their remarks. They introduced in fluent Chinese the achievements made in exchanges and cooperation with China, talked about their understandings of the Chinese culture, put forward valuable suggestions for establishing China’s image and conveyed their expectations for the Confucius Institutes. They suggested that Chinese traditional culture and contemporary culture should be combined in a better way and disseminated to the world in a manner more accessible to foreigners so as to improve China’s soft power and international influence. They said that nowadays more and more Germans are willing to learn Chinese language and hope to know Chinese culture. They suggested that China should strengthen cultural exchanges with foreign countries.

Xi Jinping took notes while listening. After they finished, Xi Jinping said, I have been amazed that you speak excellent Chinese. I am also greatly inspired by your profound, insightful and pertinent viewpoints and suggestions. I can feel your friendly feelings towards China and your identification of Chinese culture, and perceive the value of cultural exchanges between China and Germany. I will work seriously on your suggestions.

Xi Jinping pointed out, under the background of world multipolarization, economic globalization, cultural diversification and democratization of international relations, the people-to-people communication is very important and the cooperation between countries is quite necessary. Language is the important tool for communication. The cultural fascination of a country and the cohesion power of a nation are mainly expressed and delivered by language. Mastering a language is just like acquiring a key to the culture of a nation. Learning different languages can make people understand the diversity of cultures, and then see the world in an objective and rational manner and get along with each other in an inclusive and friendly way.

Xi Jinping stressed that, some people are biased against China. The biases are mainly caused by unfamiliarity, estrangement and misunderstanding between each other. To understand China, one should avoid making an overall judgment of China by understanding just one point or one aspect of it, just like the blind men trying to size up the elephant by touching only one part of it in Chinese fable. To introduce China, we should not only introduce the characteristics of China, but also the panorama of China; not only the ancient China, but also China in modern times; not only China’s economic and social development, but also Chinese people and Chinese culture. Chinese fine cultural traditions have been deeply rooted in the hearts of Chinese people and become the gene of Chinese culture, affecting people’s behavior mode without being noticed. We are now building the core socialist values, some of which are originated from Chinese culture.

Xi Jinping pointed out that, in the cultural communication and exchanges between China and foreign countries, we must maintain confidence, endurance and composure to Chinese culture. As Chinese sayings go that though peach and plum trees do not speak, a path is worn beneath them, which means a culture of true worth attracts admiration; Great music has the faintest notes, and the great form is without shape; Constant dripping wears away a stone, exerting influence in an imperceptible way. As long as we strengthen and maintain our communication and exchanges, prejudices and misunderstandings will eventually fade away.

Xi Jinping said, Germany is the birthplace of many litterateurs, philosophers, scientists and masters of art. We give high respects to German culture. Nowadays, more and more people in Germany have started to learn Chinese while some colleges in China also set up German courses. We encourage to further enhance the role of the Confucius Institutes, accelerate language exchanges and cooperation, and carry out more comparative studies between Chinese and western cultures. Hope that young people of the two countries will intensify contacts and inherit the friendship between the two countries. As for the foreign China specialists including all of you present here, we are willing to share views with you and listen to your opinions with a humble and respectful heart.

Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Yang Jiechi and others were present.

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