Theme I: Macau and Sino-western Dialogue - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

Theme I: Macau and Sino-western Dialogue

Print this article

Theme I: Macau and Sino-western Dialogue

In 1583 Matteo Ricci, an Italian missionary from the Society of Jesus (Societas Jesu), entered Mainland China via Macau, thus opening the 400-year-long history of dialogue between the Christian cultural world and the Chinese cultural world. In the globalisation era of the 21st century, new rounds of dialogue between China and the West are being launched in a new cultural context.

1. Macau embodies the grand history of China and Europe

Professor YANG Xusheng of Peking University divided the dialogues between the two cultural entities of China and Europe into the Pre-dialogue Era, the Dialogue Era, the China-being-dialogued Stage, and the Real Dialogue Era. Mr CHEN Yueguang, Associate Dean of the Academy of Chinese Culture, summarised the three historical backgrounds of encounters between China and Europe: the first was a peaceful dialogue with religious and cultural appeals; the second was a dialogue accompanied by military forces in the 19th century; and the third was a dialogue focusing on economics and trade combined with cultural integration. Macau has been a crucial witness to these encounters. Dr YU Shuo of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University summed up the encounters as those of sacred persons, of heroic persons, of economic persons and of ecological persons.

2. Macau’s understanding of its own cultural values is inadequate, it should enhance the investments in humanity

Mr José Luís de Sales Marques, president of the Institute of European Studies of Macau, believed that Macau’s cultural values had been overlooked for a long time and that research on the Macanese was greatly inadequate, especially in terms of history and anthropology. As a result, Dr Gary Ngai Mei Cheong called for wise use of Macau’s abundant financial resources (300 billion pataca/year) to explore Macau’s cultural resources and to promote international exchanges such as the Macau and Sino-Europe Debate.

3. Research on Macaology is of great importance, and the de-casino symbol of Macau is also of great necessity

Dr YU Shuo offered a positive recognition of Macaology from three aspects: first, Macau had the most far-reaching history of exchanges between China and the West; second, Macau people needed to construct their own identity; and last Macau had a geographical advantage for real academic research. She emphasised that it was necessary to understand Macau by setting aside the symbols of money and casino and looking at Macau’s profound history through the details of the city walls and the streetlights. Mr CHEN Yueguang also believed that due to Macau’s casino image, meetings or exchanges involving young people had not dared choose Macau as a platform because parents would question the feasibility and the impact on young people. Dr Gary Ngai Mei Cheong called on the Macau SAR Government, academic institutions, media and scholars to shoulder the responsibility of reversing Macau’s negative image.

4. Macau needs increased openness, and an enhanced role in the exchanges between China and the West

What should Macau do to build its own culture? Prof Fredrik Fällman of the City University of Hong Kong proposed strengthening exchanges and cooperation between people, through such things as university partnerships and academic exchanges. Mr CHEN Yueguang emphasised once again that the key for Macau was to attract talent and increase its openness. Prof WU Chongqing of Sun Yat-sen University believed it possible to make good use of the development of the University of Macau on Hengqin Island which could not only serve as a platform for introducing Western information, academic studies, culture, economy and trade to China, but also for exporting concentrated Chinese resources.