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American student interpreting Confucius wisdom at graduation ceremony gets thumbs up from netizens

By Hu Ximeng (People's Daily Online)    14:46, July 06, 2017

Ai Wen (Photo/sohu.com)

On July 5, Peking University held a graduation ceremony for this year’s graduate students. A graduate student from America, who goes by the Chinese name Ai Wen, talked about his interpretation of the Confucius wisdom: “A gentleman seeks harmony, not uniformity.” The video of his speech went viral on Chinese social media, getting thumbs up from netizens.

"I have learnt some Confucianism in America" (Screenshot)

Ai Wen first told a story about how he avoided a culture clash with his roommate Yang Le, now one of his best friends. In the beginning, Ai Wen found Yang so different. For example, Yang liked to do “beggar squats” for exercise, something Ai Wen had never heard of. Yang was also an advocator of Ying and Yang (a Chinese philosophy that believes two opposite forces may be complementary), so Yang would stop him from eating watermelons in May, as the weather was not hot enough to counter the cold temperature of the watermelon. Despite all the differences, Ai Wen was happy to make a new friend. The two exchanged their different views on philosophy, religion, and life every night.

Ai Wen’s understanding of the Confucius saying: “A gentleman seeks harmony, not uniformity,” was gradually enhanced by two other stories he shared in his speech. One was how he dealt with culture shock after he joined the university’s bicycle club, and the other one was how he started an English news group to help Chinese students practice their English and express their viewpoints.

Ai Wen demonstrates "beggar squats" (Screenshot)

“Everyone can do one thing to change the world. But that doesn’t mean you have to donate cash or volunteer your time; it could be as simple as just trying to communicate with someone who is different,” he said in Chinese.

At the end of his speech, Ai Wen even mocked US President Donald Trump, saying that the US president wants to build a barrier that is as strong as the Great Wall, isolating Americans from the world.

"Everyone could help make the world a better place through cross-cultural communication" (Screenshot)

“Too many conflicts are the result of poor communication, so everyone should open up and be tolerant in order to understand each other and make friends. Cross-cultural communication based on the principle of harmony but not uniformity will help make the world a better place,” he concluded. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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