UN Geneva office celebrates day of Chinese language, culture

Updated 2018-04-17 15:30:58 Xinhua

Francesco Pisano (3rd L, Front), Director of the Library, United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), and Yu Jianhua (2nd L, Front), China's Permanent Representative to the UNOG, watch a Chinese calligraphy show during the exhibition "Charm of Chinese Culture: from Characters to Literature" at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 16, 2018. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

The United Nations is happy to count on China as an important partner, said the chief of UN Office at Geneva (UNOG) on Monday, when celebrating the Chinese Language Day, one of the days the UN sets aside for each of its six official languages.

Speaking at the opening of an exhibition, "Charm of Chinese Culture: from Characters to Literature", at UNOG, Michael Moller, director-general of UNOG, said, "As one of the Permanent Members of the Security Council, it plays a unique role in our global peace and security architecture."

He noted China's success in lifting hundreds of millions people out of extreme poverty and its performance on many of the other Millennium Development Goals.

"China's leadership and commitment in this context are encouraging," he said.

Moreover, Moller said, "Multilingualism is the basis for multilateralism. Only if we understand each other can we find common ground."

The Chinese language is not only one of the oldest today, but also one of the most widely spoken around the world, said the UN Geneva chief. He praised the "ambitious project of learning Chinese for their invaluable contribution to building bridges across language divides."

Moller said the Geneva exhibition will have an interactive workshop with touch screen games, video clips, and demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy. Books of contemporary Chinese literature and its translation are also presented.

PUT PEOPLE FIRST

China's permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Yu Jianhua, explained that one of the thousands of Chinese characters in use today that holds the key to understanding Chinese philosophy is "Min," or "people" in English.

This, he said, is central to the idea of "putting people first, a founding principle of the Chinese society" a value echoed by the UN's theme for 2018 with "people at the center."

Yu said that since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 the government has developed further the "idea of putting people first."

"In formulating every policy, the government asks itself these questions: Do we have the people's support? Do we have their consent? Will they be happy? Will they agree?" said Yu.

"Taking the pulse of the times," he said that today the Chinese leadership has shown great insight by highlighting a people-centered philosophy of governance.

"Development, he said, must be for the people; realizing, upholding, promoting their interests is our fundamental goal. Development must be by the people," said Yu.

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