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Growing Together With BRI

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2023-10-18 14:48:21 | Author: LIANG Yilian

By LIANG Yilian

The Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing on October 17 and 18. In a recent program filmed by Science and Technology Daily, themed Youth on Tech, four distinguished young experts shared their BRI experiences and insights with audiences.

TCM thrives within BRI

The ancient Silk Road, the historically renowned global trade route, also served as a conduit for the dissemination of Chinese traditional medicine (TCM). Today, as global interest in holistic healthcare grows, TCM exchanges and collaboration have emerged as a cornerstone of the BRI.

Han Man, deputy chief physician of the Guang'anmen Hospital in Beijing, shared her experience as a lecturer in international exchange project launched by China's Ministry of Science and Technology. She introduced TCM and Tibetan medicine to international researchers involved.

Han called TCM, a traditional medicine with thousands of years of history, not only a medium of cultural exchange, but also a highly practical medical discipline.

She said the TCM exchanges and cooperation perfectly illustrate the meaning of the BRI that it brings mutual benefit among countries, mutual understanding among people, and mutual learning among civilizations. "The BRI provides us a fantastic exchange platform to deepen understanding among young scientists," she said.

Naser Golsanami, an Iranian professor at Shandong University of Science and Technology, showed keen interest when Han talked about Sanfutie, a kind of medicated patch. It showed that though TCM originated in China, its relevance extends far beyond, reflecting the cultural and ancestral wisdom of the country.

BRI catalyses rice research innovation 

Many BRI partner countries are developing countries with a large agricultural population and a high proportion of agricultural GDP. Therefore, they seek opportunities for agricultural development from the BRI.

Zhu Qian, an assistant researcher at the Rice Research Institute of Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences in east China, has been working on enhancing grain yield and cultivating rice strains tailored to diverse climates since graduation.

The challenge posed by global warming has made it necessary to take innovative approaches to rice cultivation. Since rice planting generally needs a lot of water, Zhu and her team bred a type of drought-tolerant rice that requires less water. It can be planted in tropical areas and also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Zhu, drawing on her experience of working with a Bangladeshi partner in BRI projects, underscored the importance of understanding the local preferences for rice: what kind  of taste, aroma and texture they prefer, in addition to the environmental and labor factors. This kind of approach will ensure that the rice varieties grown are tailored to specific communities.

For example, Chinese people generally prefer soft rice but Bangladeshis prefer hard rice. "This tells me what kind of rice I can breed for them," she said.

BRI projects cover more than food security aspects. Mohamed Salem from Egypt, a visiting professor at Chongqing Technology and Business University, said "BRI offers us research projects, facilities, and cooperative opportunities with different countries. And through its projects, we can offer a good future to all connected people."

Cross-cultural cooperation provides new perspectives

Golsanami and Salem came to China from different countries. Through their BRI experiences, they recognize the unique perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds in solving scientific problems, which promotes scientific research.

Golsanami said working on BRI projects has transformed him and other researchers like him into contributors to international cooperation. "This is different from working alone with your team in a research organization or in a university," he added.

Salem emphasized the commonalities and distinctions in the histories and cultures of China and Egypt. He views the BRI as a way to build a global community of shared future, propelling research projects that transcend borders.

Living in China, Golsanami has deep insights into Chinese culture. He said an old Chinese saying has given him a deep understanding of how the Chinese nation thinks of the world, and what their values and beliefs are, namely, "Appreciate the culture/values of others as you do your own, and the world will become a harmonious whole." Everybody cherishes their own culture/values, and if we respect and treasure other's culture/values, the world will become harmonious, he said.

Editor: 房琳琳

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