演讲稿:The Impact of Globalization on Traditional Chinese Values
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen:
Before western and Chinese civilization came into close contact, Chinese people had always longed for a life depicted in traditional Chinese paintings. Those paintings present a harmonious coexistence of people and other life forms. Regarded as the essence of ancient Chinese philosophies, harmony has been deeply-rooted in the minds of the Chinese people. On the one hand, it has contributed to the unique continuity of Chinese civilization. On the other, Chinese people became too much contented with their achievements to desire any further changes. As globalization deepens, it is bound to affect our ideal of harmony.
First, globalization urges China to speed up its modernization, which threatens our regard for the harmony between Man and Nature. For instance, many dams and hydropower stations are being built for economic benefits at the expense of the well-preserved natural habitats. However, ecological malpractice of such kind goes against the notion of harmonious coexistence in ancient Chinese philosophies. More than 2,000 years ago, long before the concept of environmental protection came into being, DuJiang Weir, a great irrigation project was built in southwestern China's Sichuan province. It succeeded both in controlling floods and in facilitating the agriculture without posing a threat to the environment.
Moreover, globalization has brought with it intense competition. Traditionally, moderation is a golden principle, presiding over inter-personal relations in China. Today, however, motivated to come to the top, some people become so self-centered that they choose to sacrifice love, friendship and even family ties.
Last but not least, diverse cultures have met in China as a consequence of globalization. Therefore, a clash of cultures becomes inevitable. Unfortunately, the past decades have witnessed a huge loss of cultural heritage in China. In cities like Beijing and Xi'an, hundreds of century-old Chinese-style houses are being demolished to make room for skyscrapers, shopping malls and eight-lane expressways.
From these examples, we see the disharmony brought about by globalization. Yet it is not globalization that is to blame. As long as we approach globalization with harmony in mind, its benefit will outweigh its cost. Take my hometown, Hangzhou, for example, thanks to the strenuous efforts made by the municipal government in achieving eco-development, various water birds have returned to the West Lake, calling it home again after years of migration elsewhere. From the lake bank, we see skateboarders and trick cyclists showing off together with people flying kites and kicking shuttlecocks on the plaza nearby. Although they compose a picture quite distinct from traditional Chinese paintings, this picture conveys a modern sense of harmony in this era of globalization.
Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude, I would like to quote from British philosopher Bertrand Russell. In contrasting Chinese and Western civilizations, he observed: "The distinctive merit of western civilization is the scientific method; the distinctive merit of the Chinese is a just conception of the ends of life. It is these two that one must hope to see gradually uniting." As we see the tremendous progress China has been making drawing on experience abroad, we may also expect the Chinese traditional value of harmony to enrich the world. I look forward to the time when Russell's prophecy comes true.
Thank you very much.