People in China and Europe have a long history of interaction and the part of it that I find most exciting is the ancient Silk Road that had connected Asia with the European continent through a network of trade and cultural transmission routes. While the main idea of the Road had been the development of trade, I find that the most beneficial effect of this endeavor had been the exchange of culture between different civilizations. Indeed the Road of silk had enormous contribution to bringing people of different cultures to interact more and to know each other better.
While trade relations can be expanded in a variety of ways, they are subject to influence of many factors of the environment. At certain point they would reach saturation and would need more and more of people’s energy and innovations, in order to exist. Trade is a game of give and take. Culture, on the other hand, is not a game. It is part of the environment in which trade games are played. It is the resource that humans employ while developing their personal abilities, competences, skills and knowledge. It is an expression of a person’s or a society’ understanding of how our world ought to be organized. It is engrained in all social relations between people, including the ones that result in trade.
Nowadays China and the European Union are great economic actors but they are also carriers of fascinating ancient cultures. The Chinese and the European cultures existed even before the famous Silk Road had been established in 114 BC. While modern relations between China and the EU are well facilitated on the market side, trade is also about sharing ideas, music, dance, art, fashion, cuisine, innovations, etc. I wish to see more efforts invested in facilitating a better understanding of Chinese and European people’ cultures as they are different in a way that I find impressing. I have never been in China and I am aware of the fact that not every citizen of a country acts in one particular way. I believe, however, that one can have certain impressions about the predominant culture or identity of a society. These impressions, as combined with knowledge, can help us understand situations on local ground and to provide us with some guidance as to how to behave.
The most impressive part of Chinese culture is the humbleness of the individual and the commonly accepted understanding among Chinese people that the harmony in the society is more important than the individual desire for well-being. This notion is very different from the one on which the Western culture is based and which promotes the needs of the individual in social life. I believe that both cultures can profit from sharing their experience in this regard. In my vision, this could be facilitated through creating more opportunities for artists, scientists, professional experts (for example in agriculture), journalists and ordinary people (for example by making trips between China and Europe more affordable) in both countries to share their experience and interact with each other.
And last, as a human I wish to experience Chinese culture in its native environment. As journalist I wish to write about it from my personal experience. I wish I could see the modern Chinese architecture, and how modern Chinese people walk their ways to work, how they talk on the streets, how they organize their daily lives. I wish I could experience the atmosphere on a Chinese market and take pictures with me back home. I wish to visit a Chinese museum, to see how people had lived in a part of the world that is so far away from my home in Europe. And oh how I wish to see a Chinese opera or a theater piece! That would be the most exciting experience of my lifetime.