Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum for Public Diplomacy in the New Era

Time:2019/12/12 13:25:18        

International Advisors,


Distinguished guests,


Ladies and gentlemen,


It is my great honor to attend today's forum.


I am really thrilled to join you today. About 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in planning the construction project of this memorial, or the preservation of the historical site. Before I came to this forum, I’d already heard about the success of SJRM and its reputation in the international community. Still, I was moved by the introductions by Mr. Wu Qiang and Mr. Chen Jian last night. When I saw the memorial with my own eyes, I felt simply incredible.


I believe that SJRM, from its birth to maturity, reflects the strong commitment of CPC Shanghai municipal committee, the municipal government, and CPC Hongkou district committee, Hongkou district government, and their leaders.


I also appreciate the dedication, enthusiasm and careful work of the memorial staff. They have done a great job in collecting historical materials, finding and visiting the survivors, raising funds, and preserving the memories that are gradually disappearing. Their efforts have made it possible for the dying history to come back to life here.


Some of the exhibits are artistic creations and some are real objects. In whatever form, they consense the memories and feelings of several generations, and convey the righteous aspirations for peace of a great many people from different ethnic, national and cultural backgrounds.


Hereby, I would like to thank all the people who have contributed to the development of SJRM. Commitment to human civilization is at the core of this memorial. I believe it serves the purpose of building a community with a shared future very well, by telling a good story of China.


Taking the opportunity of the inauguration of the International Advisory Board, I would like to make a few remarks.


First of all, it is always challenging to build a shared sytem of values and moral pursuits among people in different economic, political and social settings. The experience of Jewish refugees in Shanghai, however, is a proof that the difference of religious cultural and historical background or the disparity of economic development won't deter the expression of love and friendship. The local Shanghai people's commitment to peace and justice is highly applaudable, especially as it was so tangibly expressed during the extremely difficult years. Shanghai was very poor and difficult at that time, but the people opened their arms to their Jewish friends who had suffered from anti-Semitic hostility and persecution in Europe. The compassion, kindness, tolerance and love of the ordinary people warmed up hearts of the Jewish refugees who were trying to survive in a strange city speaking a strange language. They found out very soon that they were safe and free here.


The goodness of human nature is a basic condition for building a community with a shared future. Our world needs tolerance and kindness, peace and justice, and these are our common values. We are living in a global village, or a global community.Peace and cooperation are critical to all.


Second, people-to-people exchanges are key to promoting mutual understanding and learning among people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Exchanges foster mutual respect, tolerance, appreciation and therefore cooperation.


People-to-people exchanges, however, have been mistakenly subordinated to political communication and economic cooperation. People-to-people exchanges are like a catalyst. They may stimulate wonderful chemical reactions and produce unexpected results.


Towards different cultures and civilizations, China is always open and embracive. The Chinese culture has grown by absorbing the essence of different cultures and civilizations to a great extent, and on the other hand, we are exerting greater external influences.


Exchanges are not necessarily based on interests, but more on the need to get into other people's hearts. People-to-people exchanges are playing an indispensable role in the world today.


Promoting exchanges across civilization barriers to overcome conflicts and help diverse civilizations co-exist in an equal and peaceful way, to foster mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual trust among countries, is what soft power building is about.


Third, the aspiration for a new type of international relations with win-win cooperation at the core is an embodiment of the traditional Chinese culture in the new era.


There are differences, conflicts and even antagonisms between countries due to differences in culture, religion, economic development, social system, interests and needs, or geographical relations. But as long as we treat each other with mutual respect, engage each other in equal and win-win cooperation, and properly manage our differences, I believe peaceful coexistence is absolutely attainable.


The world is undergoing unprecedented changes. Facing the threats of unilateralism, populism, trade protectionism, counter-globalization, increasing complexity of international relations, and more and more uncertainties, it is impossible for any country to stay safe alone. Anyway, no one is an island. Humility, tolerance and confidence are crucial for China while we grow our strength and drive the formation of a new type of international relations.


Last but not least, SJRM must play a role in public diplomacy in the new era. SJRM is a mirror, a classroom, a monument, and a database of international relations, so to speak. It tells a Chinese history that must be remembered by people today and our future generations. In this sense, the memorial belongs to Hongkou, belongs to Shanghai, and even belongs to China. In the new era, SJRM will play a unique role in diplomacy, especially serving to reduce enemies and increase friends. It is the mandate of this advisory board to make this happen.


Thank you. And I would love to share the insights of advisors and experts.


President of Translators Association of China, consultant of Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum International Advisory Board members Zhou Mingwei addresses the inauguration of international advisory board.