Remarks by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui At the Symposium in Memory of Professor Xu Fancheng
2018/03/11

(Accord Hotel Pondicherry, 10 March 2018)

Mr. V. Narayanasamy, Chief Minister of Puducherry

Professor Huang Xinchuan,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaste and Good Morning.

Today is a big day. I am delighted to be here to participate in today’s seminar. For the first time, we are gathered to commemorate Prof. Xu Fancheng, one of the greatest scholars from China, who lived in Pondicherry for 27 years and 5 years in Shantiniketan, West Bengal. I would like to thank Pondicherry Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Pondicherry Educational Collaboration Organization, Sri Aurobindo Ashram for proposing and jointly hosting this event with the Chinese Embassy in India.

I would like to appreciate the presence of Professor Huang Xinchuan, another prominent scholar from China, and a friend and colleague of Prof. Xu, who has not only made great contribution to China-India academic exchanges, but also personally invited Professor Xu Fancheng back to China in 1978. Professor Huang is over 90 years old. One of his famous works History of Indian Philosophy is the text book for the student studying philosophy. My wife Dr. Jiang Yili and I are both his students. Let us give him a big hand.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Why are we here to commemorate Prof. Xu?

First, he was the first Chinese who introduced Sri Aurobindo to China. We know that in the modern history of India, there were three great men, namely Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo. The first two men are well known in China. It was due to Professor Xu’s contribution, China began to know Sri Aurobindo. Prof. Xu translated Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine and Integral Yoga into Chinese. He also translated Fifty Upanishads, Bhagawad Gita and Shakuntala from Sanskrit into Chinese. Besides, he also wrote books such as Confucianism and The Corpus of Seng Zhao in English, introducing China’s ancient classics to the world.

Second, he was a bridge, linking the people of China and India. He is one of the Chinese scholars who lived in India for the longest period of time. He came to India at the age of 36 and return to China at 69. He really understands India, loves India and spreads India culture. Looking back into history, prominent masters like Xuan Zang, Fa Xian and Bodhidharma travelled long distances between India and China. They left us with rich legacies. Tagore, Tan Yunshan, Xu Fancheng were pioneers to promote China-India cultural exchanges in modern times. Today as we are standing on the shoulders of the history, we should do better than our forefathers in cultural exchanges.

Third, commemorating him could help people to know more about Pondicherry. As a former French colonial territory, Pondicherry is a place where the Indian culture meets with the French culture. In the past you have embraced many foreigners like Xu Fancheng. Today the economic development and cultural prosperity of Pondicherry, as well as the world famous Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, are attracting a lot of tourists. Pondicherry has become a window for India’s cultural diversity. A few days ago, a delegation from Dali visited India and held a tourism promotion session, which Chief Minister Narayanasamy attended. Dali and Pondicherry are exploring the establishment of friendship relations. Yesterday I discussed with the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Honourable Chief Minister about further strengthening cooperation on tourism, culture, education and economy and trade .

Fourth, commemorating him could further promote China-India friendship, a valuable legacy he has left us. In his times, people did what they should do. Professor Xu was a legend who made remarkable contribution to the friendship between our two peoples. Till the later years, Professor Xu still teaching Chinese MA students doing research on Aurobindo. Tagore visited China twice, making huge waves in China’s academic circles. India, under the suggestion of Mahatma Ghandi’s advice, sent a medical team to China during the Second World War. We have the responsibility to inherit this spirit and legacy. In China today, there are a lot of scholars studying India culture, including religions, philosophy and Sanskrit literature. Prof. Huang Xinchuan and Professor Huang Xianian, two generations from the same family, devote themselves to India Studies.

Now we are delighted to see that this friendship continues to gain momentum. There are over 10,000 yoga centers in China. The Young people from China love the Darjeeling tea. The Secret Superstar by Aamir Khan got another great box office in China after the Dangal. I am now working to make a co-production movie called The Legendary Bodhidharma.

As Chinese Ambassador, it is my job to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Of course, to promote political relations is also my job. And it is my priority.

Last year, our relations witnessed ups and downs. President Xi and Prime Minister Modiji met in Xiamen last September. They agreed to turn over the page, make the Dragon and the Elephant dance together and make One plus One Eleven. Bilateral trade last year reached 88 billion US Dollars, increasing 20% compared with the year before. The friendly cooperation at the local level between the two countries is flourishing. So far 15 twin-sister relations have been established between the provinces and cities of the two countries. There are over 20,000 Indian students studying in China. Among them, over 300 are at Dali University. Now China-India relations are at a key stage of stabilizing and improving, I am sure that with joint efforts more positive energy will be put into our relations. I hope that the academic circles of both countries could bring into full play their advantages to further contribute to the cause of China-India friendship.

We will never forget Prof. Xu Fancheng’s contribution and we wish Prof. Xu continue blessing China-India relations.

Thank you.

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