How China’s ancient civilization links to the world today

CGTN’s Jamie Owen; Qian Gao, Assistant Professor of Archeology at the University of Durham; Alan Macfarlane, historian and Emeritus Professor at King’s College Cambridge; and John Hobson, Professor of International Relations at Sheffield University. /CGTN

Stephen Perry, 48 Group Club chairman, chats to Yang Xiaoguang, charge d’affaires to the Chinese Embassy in the UK. /CGTN

Guests experience the interactive exhibition of the “Journey Through Civilizations”

LONDON, UK, October 12, 2023 / — Modern China and its influence in today’s world has been profoundly shaped by its history, a diplomat from the country told a China Media Group (CMG) event in London.

“Civilizations are enriched by exchanges,” China’s Charge d’Affaires Yang Xiaoguang told the Journey Through Civilizations Forum. “China is willing to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations with other countries in the world to promote common development.”

Yang pointed out that flagship Chinese initiatives such as the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative were built around respect for the diversity and innovation of different cultures around the world.

His comments were delivered at a keynote speech marking the launch of a new online experience which recreates ten key historical sites from the holy land of civilizations – Liangzhu – to the light of the ancient Shu Kingdom at Sanxingdui and examines 100 unearthed cultural relics.

Jointly organized by CMG Europe, CGTN Europe, Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) and Cambridge Asian Culture Association, the exhibition is designed to highlight and enhance cultural ties between China and the rest of the world.

CMG’s president Shen Haixiong told the audience in a video speech that he saw the mission of the broadcasting group as communicating the values of Chinese civilization internationally “to encourage people from across the world to understand each other and build a shared future.”

And Yannick Lintz, president of the Guimet Museum in Paris, stressed in a recorded message the importance of understanding cultures from different perspectives. European museums like her own, tend to have a European perspective built in over many years, she noted, but seeing historical items in their context in China offers a different point of view.

On a panel discussion moderated by CGTN’s Jamie Owen, three experts discussed the concept of civilization and the impact China’s history has had through the years.

Alan Macfarlane, historian and Emeritus Professor at King’s College Cambridge, began by defining the criteria used to separate tribal societies from civilizations, listing literacy, advanced craftsmanship, governmental organization, dense settlements and taxation. Using such a definition put the origin of China’s first civilization between 4,000 and 7,000 years ago, he said.

“China’s past is probably the most interesting of any country in the world. It has done pioneering activities in all kinds of ways,” said John Hobson, Professor of International Relations at Sheffield University and author of ‘The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization.’

He pointed out that industrialization in the west could never have come about without innovations that originated in China such as plough designs and techniques for purifying cast iron into wrought iron.

The launching ceremony was attended by participants including diplomats and representatives of business and cultural communities in the UK.

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Journey Through Civilizations

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