Cultural Traditions and Human Rights
October 14,2014   By:CSHRS


Cultural traditions are the huge riches contributed by each nationality to the human beings: natural knowledge, literatures, music, spirituality, lifestyle, etc. Cultural traditions are the collective intelligence of human beings, which reflect the biodiversity of animals and plants. If people destroy the biodiversity, we will be impoverished. If we continue to follow the logic, our world will be uniform and dark and we will have no future. Our planet will become flat and soulless and will be an unlivable land. People will have no mean to live independently after killing all other life.

I know everyone here, my friends. Though it is the third time that we meet in Beijing, we have totally different cultures. And that is the reason I appreciate everyone here: the difference. My life becomes colorful because of you, and I can also enrich your live. This does not need abundant material wealth, but the literature, philosophy, music, science and technology of various kinds accumulated for thousands of years by little Europe, or even little France.

For me, I inherited from philosophies of Greece, Roman, Christian, the French Revolution and socialism, and even automobile, airplane, radio and television...

I do not neglect the negative and tragic influences of the Western nations in terms of human rights.

On your side, you have brought me the culture traditions which are totally different from mine, and not higher or lower than my culture. Without your cultures, I would turn around intellectually as a caged animal. When Europeans like Marco Polo first reached China, it was a mystical country for us. We realized that there were other ethnic groups with totally different philosophies and literatures from ours. They had created different technologies and had different lifestyles...

We have the same discovery when we discovered America, and later, Africa, India and Oceania...

In his masterpiece Tristes Tropiques, the great French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss in the 20th century depicted his life in Amazon. He called for people to respect local customs.

The Western imperialism once wanted to rule the whole world and impose its values on other countries, though it denied its own values several times. This is totally wrong because human rights do not mean conflicts of power, but dialogues among different civilizations, which is also known as "clash of civilizations" today.

Fortunately, people have resisted. As time went by, people impeded the error. The confrontation lasted for a long time. But what does 100 or even 200 years mean compared with thousands of years of people's cultural activities?

We also have confrontation in ideological area. The disintegration of the former Soviet Union is the best example. People believed that was the end of the socialism… Today, the world situation has changed greatly and even the United States needs to borrow money from China.