Monday, June 25, 2007


Interfaith Dialogue Concludes in Nanjing

A harmonious future for Asia and Europe hinges on wisdom that can steer the course of their interactions.

So said delegates at the third annual Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Interfaith Dialogue, which wrapped up yesterday in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province.

In the Nanjing Statement, issued at the conclusion of the event, participants from the two continents vowed to deepen and broaden the dialogue process to foster a peaceful and harmonious partnership, Cui Tiankai, assistant minister of foreign affairs of China said at a joint news conference with Senator Gianni Vernetti, undersecretary of state at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Building on the achievements of the first two meetings, in Bali in 2005 and Cyprus in 2006, the two-day dialogue co-hosted by China and Italy served as a platform for religious and political leaders and academics to address their diversity and commonality in faiths and deliberate on further tapping the potential of interfaith talks in enhancing mutual understanding in an era of globalization, he said.

China adheres to the policy of guaranteeing the freedom of religious belief, and acknowledged the active role religion plays in building a harmonious society, he said.

It has been proved by history that faith is an objective reality, it can neither be imposed nor deprived, Ye Xiaowen, Minister of China's State Administration for Religious Affairs said at the closing ceremony.

"In Chinese culture, harmony is underpinned by diversity. Seeking harmony while acknowledging differences means that a country or an ethnic group, while preserving its own cultural heritage, should be open and tolerant to other civilizations," Ye said.

In a world wrought with uncertainties, it is vital to pursue mutual understanding through dialogue, and achieve harmony through tolerance, he said.

The Fourth ASEM Interfaith Dialogue will be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Thailand next year in Amsterdam.

(China Daily June 22, 2007)2007-06-22 09:14:05Interfaith Dialogue Concludes in Nanjingasem1007International -->

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