Strengthening Exchange and Mutual Learning Between China and the Rest of the World

The exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations should not be based on the monopoly of one civilization or denigration of another.

As an ancient Chinese philosopher said, “Amity between peoples holds the key to sound state-to-state relations.” This is often cited by President Xi Jinping to emphasize the importance of exchanges and mutual learning of civilizations in the development of international relations.

Today, influenced by the pandemic and geopolitical shifts, the road to global economic recovery remains bumpy. There is also a severe lack of strategic trust between major countries and people-to-people exchanges are at a low level. However, there is much we can do to remove barriers, enhance dialogue, and builde consensus between China and other countries.

During the “Two Sessions,” Du Zhanyuan, a member of the Standing Committee of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and president of the China International Communications Group (CICG), shared his views on how to enhance international communication, advance exchange and mutual learning of civilizations and help the world better understand Chinese modernization so that China and the rest of the world reach out to each other.

People-to-people exchanges building closer bonds and facilitating mutual learning

With over 200 countries and regions, more than 2,500 ethnic groups, and various religions in existence today, different civilizations have evolved, based on diverse histories, national conditions and customs. People-to-people exchanges and interactions play a crucial role in promoting people-to-people ties and enhancing exchanges and mutual learning. In today’s world, as changes unseen in a century accelerate, exchanges and mutual learning between diverse cultures are more necessary and important than ever.

A bridge of friendly exchange and integration should be built based on the coexistence of civilizations. The exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations should not be based on the monopoly of one civilization or denigration of another. Only by respecting the diversity of civilizations and promoting dialogue, peaceful coexistence and harmony among civilizations can the richness of human civilization be enhanced, and the prospects for human development become brighter.

We should implement the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative and follow the prevailing trend of our times — peace and development. We should draw on the best of all civilizations to adopt a people-first development philosophy, a development vision of mutual benefit, a development approach of harmonious coexistence, and measures to enhance solidarity and cooperation. We should respond to the call of people worldwide for peace and development, promote building a community with a shared future for humankind, and seek the broadest common understanding on building a beautiful world.

An Italian volunteer displays Hanfu, the traditional attire of Han Chinese, during the Venice Carnival at the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy, Feb. 13, 2024. (Photo/Xinhua)

Introducing China’s modernization drive to the world

Chinese modernization has broken away from the patterns of Western-style modernization. It has proven its feasibility and effectiveness, representing a significant innovation of the global modernization theory and practice. For many developing countries, it offers an alternative to independent modernization paths.

Telling good stories of Chinese modernization is key to overcoming international prejudices against China and helping the world understand the Communist Party of China (CPC), the People’s Republic of China, and the Chinese nation. To achieve mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world and tell absorbing stories of Chinese modernization to international audiences, we must first accurately grasp the essence and characteristics of Chinese modernization. Chinese modernization shares common features with the modernization of other countries but at the same time also possesses distinct characteristics based on its own national conditions.

Second, it’s essential to present the successful practices of Chinese modernization in all aspects through vivid examples via diverse communication channels and multimedia formats to audiences from different cultures and backgrounds. Chinese modernization represents the creative transformation and innovative development of Chinese civilization. Communication about it requires an open, inclusive attitude and open and transparent dialogue platforms. Through international conferences, academic seminars, cultural exchange activities and other channels, we should encourage all parties to share their understanding and opinions on Chinese modernization, break down cultural barriers, and enable the international community to gain a deeper understanding of China’s cultural heritage and path to modernization.

Enhancing China’s international communication capacity in the AI era

Currently, a new round of technological revolution and industrial change led by artificial technology (AI) is accelerating, profoundly changing public opinion, the media landscape and communication methods in international communication. But technology is a double-edged sword. While new technologies such as AI should be highly valued and explored to promote innovation in international communication, measures must also be taken to prevent the phenomenon of “bad money driving out the good” in the international public opinion arena due to technological competition.

As an international communication organization, the CICG is exploring the application of new technologies such as AI, big data, the Internet of Things, 5G, smart robots and computer vision in international communication, contributing to the upgrading of China’s international image in the new era. Empowering the national translation capacity through new technologies has facilitated the rapid development of new translation formats such as remote translation and online simultaneous interpretation, enabling massive translation outputs in multiple languages.

The CICG has adopted an integrated development vision, keeps exploring new paths for the application of AI in mass communication, cultural and people-to-people exchange, and utilizes new technologies for process optimization, platform reconstruction, and management restructuring to improve the effectiveness of China’s international communication.

This photo taken on Dec. 3, 2023 shows the opening ceremony of the 5th World Media Summit (WMS) in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province. (Photo/Xinhua)

Closing the information gap in international understanding of China

China-related global opinion polls with significant international influence are still dominated by Western polling companies, research institutions, media organizations and industry groups. With English-language information accounting for more than 70 percent of online contents, most international audiences learn about China through Western media. However, the international community generally expects China to play a greater role in the international order and global governance, and to hear China’s voice more on major issues.

International communication should be carried out in multiple forms and on varied platforms to meet the international audiences’ need for information about China in various aspects.

First, it is necessary to innovate the content of international communication, covering not only the Chinese path to modernization, but also a community with a shared future for humankind. We need to focus on global governance, economic recovery, climate change, environmental protection, technological advances, AI, humanitarianism and other areas of wide concern to the international community, and carry out targeted communication for different audiences.

Second we should innovate the way of discourse when communicating with foreign audiences, and follow the principle of precise and targeted communication. Based on the different habits and characteristics of different foreign audiences, we need to employ widely accepted concepts and expressions to deliver China’s views and messages in response to matters of international concern. We need to present both facts and opinions, and include both the voice of Chinese people and that of personnel from other countries in our reporting. In this manner, China’s stories will be more widely recognized by the international community.

In addition, it is necessary to innovate the means and methods of international communication with mobile, visual, social communication, data and intelligent technologies. We also need to reach a broader audience and increase the Chinese communication capability, influence and credibility in talking to the international audience.

Finally, it is essential to help improve the international community’s understanding and recognition of the Chinese civilization, the Chinese path propositions, and help the world to understand China, the Chinese people, the Communist Party of China, and the Chinese nation. We need to develop a voice in international discourse that matches China’s comprehensive national strength and international status, creating a good external environment for advancing Chinese modernization and fostering a modern civilization for the Chinese nation.