International congress on “China and the Muslim World: Cultural Encounters”

The international congress on "China and the Muslim World: Cultural Encounters" took place in Beijing, China, on 28-29 June 2012. The congress was organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and IRCICA. Over two full days at the CASS Conference Hall, the sessions addressed a vast spectrum of areas and cases of cultural contacts between China and the Muslim world in history and at present.

In many respects the congress marked significant milestones. First, in international relations, since for the first time it concretized inter-governmental level multilateral cultural partnership between, on one hand, the OIC Member States, designated in cultural context as the "Muslim World", and on the other, China. This partnership materialized through the medium of the OIC, the intergovernmental organization of the states of the Muslim world, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China respectively. Secondly, in the academic area of studies on intercultural relations, for its theme and objectives as well as for the peoples and regions it covered. At the level of operational cultural and academic cooperation it engaged on one hand IRCICA, the OIC's subsidiary which has the mission of a common research academy of the Muslim world, and on the other the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) through its Presidency, its Bureau of International Cooperation, and its Institute of World Religions (IWR), with the participation of its various departments.

The concept of the congress theme evolved along the following approach and understanding: China and the Muslim world, two major civilizations with distinct collective identities, have each for their part played active roles in the progressive history of universal civilization. The governance of life and social administration, the sciences, arts and techniques and economic activities acquired peculiar characters in their realms under the influence of their respective mainstream faiths and philosophies. Meanwhile over history these two worlds cultivated communications and interactions with each other via varying channels of cultural exchanges and trade of commodities and know-how. Recent evolutions in studies on history of civilizations, history of culture, science and technology offers a wealth of facts and resources that waits to be discovered within the proposed thematic framework "China and the Muslim World". The theme promises to open multifold avenues for research on the history of each of these two civilizations, the relations having taken place between them, and their relations with the rest of the world. These studies will be relevant not only for academic purposes but also for rapprochement between the OIC countries and China as a vector of cooperation in facing the global challenges at present and in future. It is seen indeed that modern times have generated greater dependencies between countries and communities in consequence of the globalization of all activity thereby promoting an emphasis on increased international cooperation within the world community. In this environment, the Muslim world composed of the OIC countries on one hand and China on the other, representing two large demographic entities with immensely varied resources, capacities and complementarities and endowed with a common heritage of positive cultural interactions, can develop greater awareness, affinity and cooperation with each other. In this light, the congress deployed both historical and contemporary perspectives with a view to increasing the knowledge about shared aspects of history and prospects of deeper cultural interactions and international cooperation in a shared future.

The congress, as was foreseen in its guiding concept, was conducted in a way to evoke samples from among the countless cultural contacts and exchanges marking the relations between China and the Muslim world, from trade and travelers having circulated between China and the Muslim countries to the arts and architectural influences, from translations of Islamic and Chinese philosophical and scientific works into each other's languages to language studies and cultural relations as they exist mutually at present. Furthermore, because scholars from Asia (Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey), Arab countries (Algeria, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia), Europe and the USA participated in it together with their counterparts from Chinese academies and universities, the congress included some regional approaches to the subjects at hand and at the same time it reflected the state of research and teaching on the theme as it evolves around the world. It is important that besides research papers on a varied range of topics in cultural history, the congress heard studies on subjects of current relevance for relations between China and the Muslim countries with regard to present and future international relations.

The opening session at the CASS Conference Hall on 28 June was chaired by Prof. Zhang Youyoun, Deputy Director General of the Bureau of ınternational Cooperation, CASS. The first address was given by Prof. Wang Weiguang, Executive Vice-President of the CASS. Prof. Weiguang expressed his pleasure that the congress had materialized, after one year of preparations that were promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the OIC: He said that China and the Muslim world as two ancient and vigilant civilizations have a long history of exchanges and interactions, mutually respecting and enhancing each other. Increasingly and since 19th century they have been communicating more deeply, exchanging scholars, participating in each other's activities. Prof. Weiguang pointed out that exploring historical exchanges would be beneficial for further communication and dialogue; it would not only be of practical significance but would also benefit peace and development. Prof. Weiguang affirmed the CASS' readiness to cooperate in this direction.

In his address, the Secretary General of OIC Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu said that holding such an academic event in China had been a personal dream of his for almost two decades, during which he had coordinated many seminars and symposia related to aspects and relations of Islamic civilization in specific geographic and cultural regions of the world, but that it had been very much his hope to hold such a meeting to focus on the Muslim world's relations with China. The Secretary General recalled that the recognition of China in the Muslim world had occurred from the earliest days of Islam and throughout history, relations between China and the Muslim world never faced substantial problems. Trade routes were fostered through the development of peaceful relations and various arts and techniques were exchanged. In this regard Prof. İhsanoğlu said that "the art of paper making which has been discovered in China as early as 105, was transmitted to the Muslims - first to Samarkand in 704 - and then to Baghdad by 794 from where it spread to the rest of the world. ... The entrance of paper into the Muslim world was a turning point in the advancement of Islamic knowledge and the development of the scientific tradition and the means by which knowledge was disseminated to Europe. In reality, this discovery is comparable to the printing press (1440 AD) or the electronic media today.... It was in the famous Maragha Observatory near Tabriz that was established in 1259 under the patronage of the Ilkhanid Sultan that great astronomical advances were made by the collaborative efforts of Chinese and Muslim scientists in one of the most illustrative examples of inter-cultural cooperation in one of the most prestigious observatories in the world." Prof. İhsanoğlu cited and quoted from sources of Islamic literature and travelogues containing rich accounts of interactions with China. He also referred to economic relations and trade ties where China and the Muslim world also enjoyed close, productive relations over a long period. OIC Secretary General concluded that "the history of the relations between the Muslim world and China, as well as the history of Islam in China, proves that good relations have existed between them. ... It is important for these relations to be developed for the interest of stability in the world."

Mr. Zhai Jun, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, delivered a comprehensive address. Referring to the history of relations between China and the Muslim world as one of reciprocal learning and shared development, Mr. Jun said that both civilizations had left splendid chapters in the history of world civilization. "First, exchanges between the two civilizations enjoy a time-honored history. Two thousand years ago, our ancestors overcame numerous hardships along the Silk Road to meet each other, leaving behind memorable stories and touching episodes. .... Second, the two civilizations have developed side by side through mutual learning. China's porcelain, silk, tea and paper-making technique were introduced into Islamic countries, while the latter's advanced knowledge in math, astronomy, calendrical calculation, navigation and geography broadened the horizon of the Chinese people. Islamic music, dance, costume and architecture have also had a profound influence on the Chinese society. ... Third, both civilizations have treated each other with equality and respect and have coexisted in peace. ... Despite our different cultural backgrounds and social conditions, both sides have respected each other in their choice of development path, culture, history, religion and social convention, and always treated each other in a peaceful and amicable way. For thousands of years, there have been no historical grievances between the Chinese and Islamic civilizations. Rather, we have maintained a friendly and harmonious relationship, setting a fine example of harmonious coexistence between different civilizations for the world." Mr. Jun then referred to the faith and cultural composition of Chinese population and the related state policies: "Since Islam was introduced to China in 7th century A.D., its followers have lived in harmony and pursue common development with believers of Taoism, China's indigenous religion, and other foreign religions such as Buddhism and Christianity, as well as the secular community. In China, more than twenty million people from ten ethnic groups believe in Islam. They are all important members of the big family of the Chinese nation, and their religious beliefs, cultural traditions and customs are fully respected. The Chinese government is firmly committed to the policy of freedom of religious belief and the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and encourages the positive role of religious personages and believers in promoting economic and social development. Muslims in China are both patriots and devoted believers. Through their hard work and wisdom, they have made important contribution to the harmony, development and prosperity of the Chinese nation." The Vice- Minister also pointed to the importance of the congress not only looking back at history but also forward into the future. In this regard he made a series of suggestions: First, exchanges between the Chinese and Islamic civilizations should be rooted in the people; China and the Muslim world should encourage more frequent mutual visits and more exchanges in the daily life and work among the ordinary people. Research on exchanges between the two civilizations should be more relevant to people's lives, and can draw inspirations and wisdom from the people. Second, exchanges between the Chinese and Islamic civilizations should be oriented towards the reality and the future: they should not only cherish their historical bond, but also think about ways to deepen their cooperation in culture, science and technology, adapt to the information trend in the globalized world and strive for fresh progress. Third, they should continue to promote cooperation in economy, trade, energy, investment, science and technology. Fourth, China and the Islamic world should strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and jointly promote dialogue among civilizations and respect for diversity of civilizations by all parties. They should play a positive and constructive role in addressing various regional and global challenges, jointly safeguard the purposes of the UN Charter and norms governing international relations, and promote the building of a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.

Dr. Halit Eren, Director General of IRCICA, stated in his address that China and the Muslim world represent two of the world's main civilizations culturally distinct from each other as well as from the rest of the world. He explained the concept and background of the congress theme, recalling that "each of these civilizations contributed to world civilization in various ways. They interacted through trade, finance and travels with each other as well as with the rest of the world. Each implemented characteristic patterns of administration, industry, urbanization and commerce. But at the same time these two worlds showed comparable dynamics when it comes to matters such as the governance of faith and philosophy in life, society's and individual's statuses, ethics, social values and moral correctness, among other aspects. Similarities as well as diversities can be drawn from these comparable dynamics." Dr. Eren said that IRCICA had observed in its various research projects on the history of intercultural relations that as is the case for studies on relations between the Muslim world and Europe, there is a need to develop the study of relations between the Muslim world and China and disseminate these studies to world academic circles. "There is a need to analyze and record the interactions between them across history and at present; their borrowings from each other and mutual influences also in fields less known than trade and economy, that is, in the fields of cultural encounters. In view of all these objectives, this first congress on the theme launches a significant joint effort on the part of China and the Muslim world in contribution to scholarship, and at the same time, to present-time international cultural encounters." Dr. Eren also outlined the process of preparation of the congress, recalling that the idea of this congress was first formulated by H.E. the Secretary General of the OIC Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu during his official visit to China in 2010 and that the project was developed afterwards during Dr. Eren's meetings with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Mr. Zhai Jun, the visit of the Ambassador of China in Turkey Mr. Gong Xiaosheng to IRCICA headquarters, and Dr. Eren's visit to CASS, Beijing in 2011. Following these series of contacts the project was put to implementation by IRCICA as the OIC's scholarly and cultural centre with the cooperation of the OIC General Secretariat's Department of Muslim Minorities and Communities.

The opening session then heard Prof. Zhuo Xinping, Director General of the Institute of World Religions, CASS. Prof. Zhuo referred to the active interactions recorded between China and the Muslim world since the 7th century. He said accurate and precise descriptions of these relations are found in early Chinese records. He spoke of these sources and the various forms and ways in which the interactions took place including translations of the religious and philosophical sources and classics of each other. Prof. Zhuo mentioned some common features existing between China and the Muslim world as regards science and learning such as the emphasis that both civilizations put on knowledge. Pointing to the importance of the congress in bringing new evidence on the state of academic research in China and in the Muslim world about each other's history and culture and the relations between them, he said that archaeology and anthropology can undertake further systematic and comprehensive studies and recalled the monographs and other publications produced at CASS about the arts and sciences, mysticism and other philosophical and cultural subjects concerning the Muslim world. Prof. Zhuo said it is important that research done in the two worlds' academic circles about each other looks deep into the relations between the two but this must at the same time take into consideration what was happening inside each world.

The paper presentations were grouped under the following session themes: "Historical Processes of Relations between China and the Muslim World", "Communication and Interactions on Art", "Cultural Interactions through Literature and Language", "Cultural Encounters in Science, Religion and Thought", "Relations between Modern China and the Muslim World", "China and the Muslim World in Global Context", and were finalized with the Closing Session. Most of the papers presented were specialized and had specific thematic focuses. Nonetheless each was representative of the various channels and cases of the interactions and the political and social environments surrounding them; the majority provided sample cases reflecting the varied aspects of the interactions that could be taken as marking features of the relations. One of these features is the tolerance and acknowledgement that was manifested by the rulers of the two worlds towards each other's faith and culture; another one is that with the encouragement of the rulers their scientists and scholars took active interest in each other's works and there were several instances where their scientists cooperated and worked together. Examples of the congress papers with inputs in this direction are "Islamic Astronomy in the Service of Chinese Monarchs" by Prof. Shi Yunli, "Culture Exchange between China and the Islamic World from the Perspective of Mosque" by Dr. Li Weijian, "Contemporary Salafism and its Influence on Chinese Muslims" by Prof. Yang Guiping, "Diplomatic Thoughts of Salafi Parties and its Potential Influence on Sino-Egyptian Relations" by Dr. Wang Suolao and "The Communication between Chinese Muslims and the Ottoman Empire: A Case Study of Wang Kuan's Visit to Turkey" by Dr. Ma Jing, among others. The interactions and mutual influences in arts that were analyzed by Prof. Em. Toh Sugimura ("Chinese Motifs in the Istanbul Album Paintings") and Prof. John Carswell ("A Reciprocity of Interests: Blue and White Porcelain, China and the Islamic World") reached beyond the realm of arts retracing the channels of transmission. Many of the paper presentations generated questions and discussions such as the papers on "The Translation of Sufism Classics and its Significance in China" by Prof. Wang Junrong, "A Tale of Two Cities: the Fall of Baghdad and Hangzhou to the Toluid Khans" by George Lane, among others. The outlines and conclusions made by the commentators at the end of each session and in some paper presentations gave observations beneficial for deeper understanding of the theme, precision and clarification of the concepts and terms, and accuracy of the analyses. Dr. Li Lin, during his presentation titled "An Introduction to the Academic History of Chinese Islamic Studies" where he gave a periodization of the history of academic research in China about Islam and the Muslim world specified that the research area titled "Chinese Islamic studies" does not mean research on Chinese Islamic religion but refers to the studies on the Muslim world and its relations and dialogue with China. Dr. Rosey Wang Ma commenting at the end of the session on "Cultural Interactions through Literature and Language" observed that "Chinese Islamic studies" had become a full academic discipline for its own sake and explained this process with examples from daily and cultural life representing "Chinese Islamic culture" and "Chinese Islamic language".

The Closing Session heard the remarks of the representatives of the OIC General Secretariat, CASS, IRCICA and the Institute of World Religions. The chair of the session, Ms. Zeynep Durukal Abuhusayn (IRCICA) said the congress had reflected that broadly, the cultural crossings between China and the Muslim world have had two dimensions: first, interactions between China on one hand and the Muslim countries on the other, and second, interactions as embodied and evolving in the context of the Chinese Islamic culture. Furthermore, the exchanges could be broadly grouped as historical and cultural, whereby in the avenues opened by historical contacts - in the diplomatic, economic, scientific and other areas - cultural exchanges had taken place touching philosophy, astronomy and other sciences, technology, architecture, arts, languages, translations and other areas. In his concluding remarks, Dr. Halit Eren, Director General, IRCICA expressed his pleasure that the theme had been given a profound and multidisciplinary treatment and thus a set of studies carrying new information and new perspectives were contributed to the field. He mentioned some of the many observations that can be gathered from these. He said that in the context of the theme convergences are seen between China and the Muslim world from various viewpoints. Referring to the Muslim world with its 57 countries displaying a large diversity of languages, arts and traditions coupled with a mainstream spiritual and philosophical unity and to China with its vast economic and cultural structures and its unique experience of spiritual and philosophical unity, he said that the two worlds converge in their basic philosophical principles and unifying concepts, in particular, as regards the rules of peace, harmony and ethics among others. He stressed the contribution of the congress in providing an outlook into the future from the viewpoint of cultural relations. "In our era it is more important than before that peoples of all cultures understand other cultures as well as their own. Thus the academic motive contributes at the same time in deepening the understanding between the two worlds towards expanded cultural cooperation and constructive coexistence in the global future." However, he said, cross-cultural and inter-faith focuses in research and education are still in the process of establishment in the larger part of the world; it is necessary to promote these, to strengthen language institutes, cultural and art centers to enhance acquaintances between China and the Muslim countries.

Prof. Jin Ze, Deputy Director General of IWR, CASS, gave his concluding remarks pointing to the varied range of approaches and ideas displayed during the congress which encourage, complement and stimulate each other. The academic exchanges, just as the cultural encounters, are conducive to peace since they reveal further evidence of the latter and further enrich them. The studies have shown for example how peoples have borrowed language from each other; Chinese has always been an evolving and growing language due to the inputs of vocabulary from the different faiths and cultures it has touched. Prof. Ze recalled the criteria to judge the success of an academic conference which necessitate among others consciousness of the social and cultural as well as the scientific responsibilities, duties and obligations. He said as the organizers and the scholars all felt this responsibility and that CASS hopes this congress will become a regular platform whereby it will have another window to overseas scholars.

Then Dr. Talal Daous, Director of the Department of Muslim Minorities and Communities, OIC General Secretariat, gave his evaluations and concluding remarks. On behalf of H.E. the Secretary General and the General Secretariat delegation, Dr. Daous expressed his appreciation of the congress, first of its kind on its theme, and of the cooperation that was established through it between the OIC Member States through their intergovernmental organization, the OIC and the Government of the People's Republic of China through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He thanked the Government of China and the CASS for the hospitality and excellent arrangements extended for the congress. He praised the efforts of CASS and IRCICA in making of this congress one of high academic quality. Dr. Daous said that abundant amounts of evidence were presented by the participants on the long history of relations between the Muslim countries and China and that numerous outcomes and conclusions could be drawn from their studies. He wished a successful continuation to the platform of exchange and cooperation that had thus been established.

Prof. Zhang Youyoun, Deputy Director General of the Bureau of International Cooperation, CASS, qualified the congress as a very successful one with effective and efficient proceedings. He expressed his satisfaction that the congress had received participants from all continents. With regard to the overall cooperation in the framework of which the congress was placed, Prof. Youyoun recapitulated the high-level contacts and meetings having taken place between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Government of the People's Republic of China, in particular, the visit of Chinese Premier H.E. Mr. Wen Jiabao to Saudi Arabia in January 2011 where the Premier met with OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, in continuation of the Secretary General's visit to China in June 2010. Prof. Youyoun said that a number of high-level official meetings held during the congress period had carried this process further. He also recalled the visit to IRCICA in June 2010 of the CASS delegation under the chairmanship of Prof. Wang Weiguang, Vice-President of CASS.

The chair invited concluding remarks by the participants; Prof. John Carswell (UK), Ambassador Mohamed Numan Galal (Egypt) and Prof. Ma Ping (China) shared with the audience their views, constructive recommendations and appreciation of the congress.

At the end of the session, the announcement of the decision to institute this congress as a periodical scholarly event and to hold the second congress in two years' time was received with appreciation by all.

The papers presented during the congress will be collected in a book.

The sessions and the papers

Opening Session

Chair: Prof. Zhang Youyoun, Deputy Director General, Bureau of ınternational Cooperation, CASS

Speakers:

- Prof. Wang Weiguang, Executive Vice-President, CASS

- Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Secretary General, OIC

- Mr. Zhai Jun, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of China

- Dr. Halit Eren, Director General, IRCICA

- Prof. Zhuo Xinping, Director General of the Institute of World Religions, CASS

Session One: Historical Processes of Relations between China and the Muslim World

Chair: Dr. Adiljan Haj Kerim (Vice Chairman, Islamic Association of China)

Speakers:

- Prof. Gao Zhanfu (Vice-Dean/Professor, Islamic Association of China, National Islamic College of China)

From Sojourn, Believer to Citizen: The Progress of Islam's Localization in China

- Prof. Li Jinxiu (Institute of History, CASS)

The Relationship between Tang and Dashi

- Prof. George Lane (School of Oriental & African Studies - SOAS, University of London)

A Tale of Two Cities: the Fall of Baghdad and Hangzhou to the Toluid Khans

- Prof. Sha Zongping (Department of Philosophy, Peking University)

Historical Communication between China and Muslim World -Exemplified by Record of Travels and Sketches of China and India

- Dr. Ma Jing (IWR, CASS)

The Communication between Chinese Muslim and Ottoman Empire: A Case Study on Wang Kuan's Visit to Turkey

Commentator: Prof. Wang Yujie (IWR, CASS)

Session Two: Communication and Interactions on Art

Chair: Dr. Anwar Majed Eshki (President, Middle East Center for Strategic & Legal Studies, Jeddah)

Speakers:

- Prof. Bülent Okay (Head, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Faculty of Letters, History and Geography, Ankara University)

Interactions in Arts: the Example of Ottoman Porcelains

- Prof. John Carswell (SOAS, Department of Art and Archeology, University of London)

A Reciprocity of Interests: Blue and White Porcelain, China and the Islamic World

- Dr. Li Weijian (IWR, CASS)

Culture Exchange between China and Islamic World from the perspective of Mosque

- Prof. Mu Hongyan (Institute of Foreign Literature, CASS)

A Brief History for the Secularization and the Religionization of the Rolling Dance in Sogdi Area

- Prof. Toh Sugimura (National Museum of Ethnology, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Osaka)

Chinese Motifs in the Istanbul Album Paintings

Commentator:

Prof. Ma Wenkuan (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)

Session Three: Cultural Interactions Through Literature and Language

Chair:

Prof. Feng Jinyuan (Department of Contemporary Religion Studies, IWR, CASS)

Speakers:     

- Prof. Wang Junrong (Department of Islamic Studies, IWR, CASS)

The Translation of Sufism Literature and Its Significance in China

- Dr. İnci İnce Erdoğdu (Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Ankara University

Islamic Cultural Influences Traceable in Chinese Language

- Mr. Yun Cunping (PhD Candidate in Arabic Language and Literature, Shanghai International Studies University)

A Study of the Science of God in Maturidi School

[The scheduled presenter, Dr. Wang Xi (Department of Islamic Studies, IWR, CASS) apologized for not been able, for health reasons, to present his paper titled "On Ma Fuchu's Translation and Commentary of Root Classic Five Chapters"]

- Dr. Li Lin (IWR, CASS)

An Introduction to the Academic History of Chinese Islamic Studies

Commentator:

Dr. Rosey Wang Ma (Department of Islamic History and Civilization, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya)

Session Four: Cultural Encounters in Science, Religion and Thought

Chair:

Dr. Fazal ur Rahman (Director, China Study Centre/East Asia, The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad)

Speakers:

- Prof. Shi Yunli (University of Science and Technology of China)

Islamic Astronomy in the Service of Chinese Monarchs

- Dr. Tee Boon Chuan (Institute of Chinese Studies, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur)

The Islamic Understanding of Confucian Religion in Malaysia

- Prof. Zhou Xiefan (Department of Islamic Studies, IWR, CASS)

Sufi Orders and Chinese Sufism

- Ambassador Mohamed Numan Galal (Former Ambassador of Egypt in China, Political Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain)

The Concepts of Harmony in Chinese and Muslim Cultures

Commentator:

Prof. Wu Yungui (Department of Islamic Studies, IWR, CASS)

Session Five: Relations between Modern China and the Muslim World

Chair:

Ambassador Hua Liming (Former Ambassador of China in Iran)     

Speakers:

- Dr. Fazal-ur-Rahman (Director, China Study Centre/East Asia, The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad)

Pakistan-China Relations: A Model for Contemporary State to State Relations

- Dr. Yan Qiongying (Department of Islamic Studies, IWR, CASS)

Muslim Modernism in Subcontinent and China 

- Dr. Rosey Wang Ma (Department of Islamic History and Civilization, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya)

The Chinese Muslims Cultural, Educational, and Social Linkage with Malaysia

- Prof. Yang Guiping (Minzu University of China)

Contemporary Salafism and its Influence on Chinese Muslims

Commentator:

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Jacqueline Armijo (Department of International Affairs, Qatar University)

Session Six: China and the Muslim World in Global Context

Chair:

Prof. Zhao Shuqing (Director General, Institute for Ethnic Group Development, Development Research Center of the State Council of China)

Speakers:

- Prof. Ma Ping (Institute of Islam and Hui, Ningxia Academy of Social Sciences)

Economic and trade relations between China and Muslim Countries

- Dr. Jacqueline Armijo (Department of International Affairs, Qatar University)

The Revival of the Silk Road: China and the Gulf in the 21st Century

- Assoc. Prof., Dr. Wang Suolao (Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, Peking University)

Diplomatic Thoughts of Salafi Parties and Its Potential Influence on Sino-Egyptian Relations

- Dr. Faiza Kab (Editor/translator, People's Daily Online, China)

The Common Challenge To Chinese and Islamic Civilization

- Prof. Ding Kejia (Director of Hui and Islam Institute, Ningxia Academy of Social Sciences)

Cultural Exchange of Contemporary China and Arab World

- Prof. Ma Lirong (Institute of Middle East Studies, Shanghai International Studies University)

The Construction of Platforms for Humanistic Communications between China and Arab-Islamic International Organizations

- Dr. Anwar Majid Eshki (President, Middle East Center for Strategic & Legal Studies, Jeddah)

The Chinese-Islamic Relations: An Outlook

Commentator:

Prof. Yang Guang (Director General, Institute of West-Asian and African Studies -IWAAS, CASS)

Closing Session

Chair:

Zeynep Durukal Abuhusayn (IRCICA)

Speakers:

- Dr. Halit Eren, Director General, IRCICA

- Prof. Jin Ze, Deputy Director, IWR

- Dr. Talal Daous, Director, Department of Muslim Minorities and Communities, OIC General Secretariat

- Prof. Zhang Youyoun, Deputy Director General of the Bureau of International Cooperation, CASS

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During the period of the congress, the Secretary General of OIC Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu held meetings with high-level state officials of the People's Republic of China. IRCICA Director General Dr. Halit Eren accompanied the Secretary General during these meetings. On 28 June, Mr. Jia Qinglin, the Head of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), received the Secretary General at the People's Hall in Beijing. During the meeting Mr. Qinglin underlined that the OIC plays a significant role in boosting relations between the OIC and the People's Republic of China. Among many subjects of common interest, Mr. Qinglin presented the stages of a cooperation plan covering the economic, political and cultural areas, to be implemented by addressing development issues, through political cooperation such as to benefit regional peace and stability, all in addition to steady cooperation in terms of human resources and cultural exchanges.

On 27 June, on the eve of the congress opening, the Secretary General met with Mr. Zhai Jun, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of China. During the meeting, the Vice-Minister affirmed his country's keenness to achieve distinct economic and cultural relations with the states of the Muslim world. He noted that Muslim countries are among the key world trade-partners of China, and indicated that the volume of trade between the two parties had reached half a trillion dollars in the year 2011, thus rating second only to China's trade with the European Union. Prof. İhsanoğlu for his part underlined the need to boost economic and cultural relations between the OIC Member States on one hand and China on the other. He laid stress on the need to set a target for the aspired level of trade exchanges so as to endeavor to reach it. The Secretary General expressed the OIC's wish to work out joint programs to be pursued together with the Chinese Government, in line with the programs the OIC shares with other major states.

Another meeting was held with Mr. Muratbek Imanaliyev, Secretary General of the Shangai Cooperation Organization at the Organization's headquarters in Beijing. Ways and means to enhance cooperation between the two organizations were discussed.

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