China winning hearts with people-to-people exchanges

As a global player in the arena of public diplomacy, China has continued to promote people-to-people diplomacy, cultural exchanges with other civilizations and bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
China's commitment to advancing people-to-people diplomacy and enhancing cultural exchanges was evident at two seminars this year, one of which was for China-issue experts from Belt and Road countries and the other for scholars from think tanks in Belt and Road countries. Both seminars were organized by the School of Global Education and Development at the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
One question that arose in my post-seminars analysis was, why does China, a nation of 1.4 billion people and the world's second-largest economy, take such interest in sharing with other civilizations its governance, social and economic system?
First, people-to-people diplomacy is not a new phenomenon in China. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the nation's leaders, while crafting foreign policy, considered people-to-people diplomacy as a key pillar of their agenda. Faced with unprecedented challenges, China focused on gaining international recognition. To spearhead the people-to-people exchanges, Beijing established the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs in 1949.
Second, as I reflected on the strong foundation laid by Chinese leaders under the guidance of the Communist Party of China, another question arose: Why continue with people-to-people diplomacy and cultural exchanges, even though China's footprint is seen in every corner of the world due to the Belt and Road Initiative, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and other such programs?
The BRI, initiated in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, has transformed the world by ensuring sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth that benefits everyone. Within the FOCAC framework, people-to-people exchanges are among the major fields of cooperation between China and Africa.
Including this key foreign policy in all projects within its bil

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