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Statement by Counselor ZHANG Dan of the Chinese Mission at UNGA 61st Session on the return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin and the culture of peace (Item 43 and 44)

2006-11-03 00:00

Madam President,

The Chinese delegation would like to make the following joint statement under agenda item 43 and 44.

Civilization results from human progress and development. During its long history, mankind has created,enriched and further developed civilizations of various kinds. History has taught us that dialogue, exchanges and indeed convergence among different civilizations are but a natural tendency, and also an intrinsic quest of any civilization for its own refinement and sustained development. We believe that the consideration by the General Assembly of the agenda item on culture of peace is conducive to reinforcing inter-civilization dialogue, promoting settlement of disputes by peaceful means, and establishing a family of nations characterized by harmonious coexistence. In recent years, the relevance of the concept of culture of peace has grown increasingly important, especially the idea that it is necessary to avoid equating terrorism with any specific civilization and/or religion in the fight against terrorism.

The Chinese nation has always been a peace loving nation. Our ancient thinkers have left us with a great idea of "concord with difference". It means concord without monotony and difference without conflict. Observing and addressing issues with this idea in mind will not only help countries maintain friendly relations with neighbors, but also facilitate the resolution of problems of the international community.

The Chinese delegation is pleased to note that by adopting the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations and its Programme of Action, the international community is paying more and more attention to dialogue among different civilizations. The United Nations, relevant international organizations and member states have used various means like study trips, educational activities and scientific research to help people of various countries acquire a better understanding of cultures and religions of other peoples. All this has greatly promoted the culture of peace.

Madam President,

The long process of history has left mankind with a rich cultural heritage. Unique to each nation, this heritage is an invaluable property not only of individual nations and peoples, but also of the whole mankind.

The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the protection of cultural heritage. It has acceded to relevant international instruments such as the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. It has also set up the framework of its own system of laws in this regard centered on the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics. The government has designated the second Saturday of June each year as the Cultural Heritage Day with the aim to raise the awareness of the general public of the importance of cultural heritage protection and to create a favorable atmosphere encouraging everyone to take part in such endeavors.

China will continue to participate actively in the activities of UNESCO on the return of cultural property to its countries of origin, seek appropriate solutions in this regard, and contribute to the international efforts in cultural heritage protection.

Thank you, Madam President.

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