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Chinese official: Mutual appreciation, peaceful coexistence key to world harmony
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12:58, February 20, 2008

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Mutual appreciation and peaceful coexistence among different cultures hold the key to reaching world harmony, a senior Chinese official told U.S. academic and religious representatives Tuesday.

It is important to learn to respect and value the beauty of different cultures and civilizations, Ye Xiaowen, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs of China (SARA), said in a speech delivered at Georgetown University.

Many scholars believe that the principle of mutual appreciation and peaceful coexistence answers why the Chinese civilization has never been interrupted during the past 5,000 years and the nation has seen rapid growth for three decades, Ye said.

Historical experience, he said, has demonstrated that "if we do not allow the coexistence of different civilizations, there will be no peace in the world."

"If we appreciate different cultures and encourage peaceful coexistence, we will be able to learn from others' strengths and eventually build a harmonious world," Ye noted.

To that end, we need to adhere to the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences, he added.

Ye said the lack of exchange and understanding led to incorrect impressions about China among some Americans.

China is making great efforts to build a harmonious society, he said, adding that "we believe that Americans can understand the Chinese ideal of harmony and appreciate the beauty of China, so as to contribute to the building of a harmonious world."

Ye arrived here Monday for a four-day visit at the invitation of Georgetown University. During his stay, he will meet people from U.S. religious, academic and political circles.

Ye also signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with Georgetown University to enhance exchange and cooperation between SARA and the university.

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