Delegates are united in desire to see greater international cooperation
The "Bengbu Consensus" was reached during the sixth annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum, and it was released at the closing ceremony in Bengbu, Anhui province, on Wednesday.
The consensus noted the current world situation, stressed cultural diversity, environmental protection, cooperation in combating COVID-19, poverty alleviation, technological innovation and cooperation.
It also called for international cooperation to advance the Belt and Road Initiative and benefit people across the globe.
With the theme "Mutual Learning Among Civilizations: Jointly Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind", the forum included parallel discussions on the BRI, cinematography, poverty alleviation and other fields in building a community of shared future for mankind.
During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, there was a system that enabled the government to help send home foreigners who met with accidents at sea and drifted to China. Most of those people came from what are now Japan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Vietnam.
"For example, when a Korean fisherman drifted to what is now Fujian province, the government would spend money to transport him to what is now Beijing, the capital, and send him to the Korean diplomatic corps to take him back home. China didn't establish diplomatic ties with Japan during the Qing Dynasty, but when Japanese people drifted to China, the government sent them to the Korean leader of the time, who had such ties with Japan, and asked for them to be sent back to Japan," said Liu Xiaofeng, a professor with the Department of History at Tsinghua University in Beijing, during a meeting about the BRI as part of the forum.
The BRI, a project to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. As of Aug 23, more than 200 cooperation agreements with 172 countries, regions and organizations had been signed under the BRI framework, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
"What will China's Belt and Road Initiative bring to the world? From the history of ancient Chinese saving those who drifted on the sea, we know that China actually brings the power of peace and development to the world. So the initiative, which carries the cultural spirit of Chinese civilization, can bring more possibilities to the world," Liu said.
As a country crossed by the ancient Silk Road, Azerbaijan has many legacies from the old trading route, including ancient cities, castles and public bathhouses, which are still carefully protected.
Akram Zeynalli, Azerbaijan's ambassador to China, said: "Our country supports the values contained in the Belt and Road Initiative. It calls on us to respect the interests of others while pursuing our own, and urges us to work for the common interests of all the countries.
"Azerbaijan has never seen the BRI as just an initiative for infrastructure development, but as a mechanism and platform to improve relationships between countries and enhance people-to-people communication."
Chen Ganglong, a professor with the School of Foreign Languages at Peking University, pointed out that cultural communication requires people to observe and experience other cultures in an immersive way and to try to understand their uniqueness.
He cited the example of a project to translate poems from countries along the route of the BRI. "Although people have different ways of expressing themselves in poems, their pursuit of a better life and virtues are the same," he said.
"Rather than viewing a foreign culture through stereotypes, we have to better try to understand it with a cordial attitude and get to know the many facets of the culture, its features and its connection with other cultures."