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The Power of Culture
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A vivid illustration of art lubricating politics is the Palace Museum's current exhibit of more than 100 antiquities from the collection of the British Museum. The exhibit includes objects showing how 18th-century Britons perceived China, part of a cameo of the exchanges between China and Britain.

The show is rich in the historical tidbits that left important marks on the two countries.

Fast-forwarding a few centuries, this year's cultural exchanges include a September show at the British Museum of more than 20 terracotta sculptures from the mausoleum of China's first emperor.

Cultural cooperation and exchange are as vital as any other kind of relationship between countries. Meeting places for cultural ideas are as important as assemblies where political and economic discussions find a forum.

To learn about others, culture is one of the brightest channels. It reflects a nation's spiritual being.

For this reason, China and Britain's ongoing exchange programs are most welcome.

The earth is a global village where encounters among members date back to prehistoric exchanges.

Archaeological findings from China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region show that Chinese and Japanese began exchanges about 7,000 years ago. The encounters occurred on a route from Northeast China along the Russian coast to Japan's Hokkaido and Honshu.

China's cultural exchanges with the world have multiplied in recent years, with a view to enabling other countries to know more about the real China - its progress and problems.

Last year's packed cultural schedules included the Year of Russia in China, the Arabian arts festival during the second ministerial meeting of the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum, the second arts festival of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's members, the Year of Italy, and the Year of China in Rome and in Hamburg, Germany.

These cultural events helped enhance understanding between China and other parts of the world.

The more we understand each other, the less we will clash. This is truly the message of culture.

(China Daily March 20, 2007)

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