China, EU inaugurate people-to-people dialogue
Updated: 2012-04-20 08:05
By Fu Jing in Brussels (China Daily)
A year's good plans shall start with spring. This Chinese saying was put into action by China and the European Union on Wednesday, as about 500 Europeans and Chinese attended panel discussions on media, youth, education, trade and culture, in an effort to boost people-to-people understanding.
Visiting State Councilor Liu Yandong and her European counterpart, Androulla Vassiliou, attended the closing ceremony of the forums after they inaugurated the High-Level People-to-People Dialogue and discussed the multiple possibilities for strengthening bilateral relations.
"An ancient Chinese proverb seems appropriate on this April afternoon: A year's good plans shall start with spring," said Vassiliou, who is European commissioner of education, culture, multilingualism and youth.
"We want this third pillar to take its place alongside and on an equal footing with those that already exist - the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue and the High-Level Strategic Dialogue," she said.
Liu said that both China and the EU have shown great interest and determination to boost the dialogues to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences.
"It is an essential component for us to deepen understanding and strengthen our strategic partnership," said Liu, adding that both sides will continue the momentum.
China and the EU's active arrangements to boost dialogues have echoed positively with youth.
Fu Xuhai, chairman of the overseas Chinese youth federation in Belgium, said he hoped the dialogue could help associations get more support from governments on both sides.
"People are in need of concrete projects as well as an injection of confidence to keep going on," said Fu.
He said his organization is at a critical moment to get more support from the government. "The strength of our generation lies in our understanding of both Chinese and European cultures. This will not be the case for the coming generation, born and raised in Europe."
Gabriela Radu, Foreign Policy Analyst at the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning in Romania, said the people-to-people dialogue is incredibly important for EU-China Relations.
"People in Europe tend to misjudge China. However, I always stay optimistic about China's destiny, despite all the problems that China is facing today," said Radu, who is fascinated by Chinese civilization.
She even opened a personal blog on China after her first visit to China last summer. "It is stupid to judge China if you can't put yourself in the shoes of a country with more than one billion people," said Radu.
David Cordonnier, president of the "Jeunes socialistes de la Belgium", based in Belgium, said that Europe is not homogeneous as a block, and its dialogue with China should pay more attention to diversity itself, to the richness of the diversity within Europe.
Tan Xuan contributed to this story.
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