CPPPC member calls for national day of prayer

By Han Fangming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 25, 2015
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Dr. Han Fangming, Chairman of the Charhar Institute [China.org.cn]

President Xi Jinping recently delivered an important speech, saying that "the people have faith, the nation has belief, and the country at large has strength". It means that the people can be happy once they have faith, the nation can be rejuvenated once it has hope, and the Chinese dream can be achieved once the country gains sufficient strength.

“To organize a common understanding, unite public figures from various circles, promote social harmony and stability and display a strong national image abroad, I would suggest a national day of prayer be established, through which prayers and related activities can be organized with the attendance of different religious groups, public figures from various circles as well as invited foreigners,” said Han.

It would have the following values and functions:

First, it would be an important way to gather common understanding, uniting public figures from various circles, promoting social harmony and stability, and gather together China’s positive energy. The main purpose would be to give further substance to the words of President Xi cited above regarding faith, hope and strength.

Second, it would be an important means of spreading traditional Chinese culture, highlighting the image of China's peaceful development as part of its public diplomacy course.

Third, it would be an important platform for promoting mutual exchanges between different civilizations. It would reflect China's view on civilization involving cultural diversity, equality, magnanimity and high ethics. It also reflects the fact that, in the face of different civilizations, China advocates the great wisdom of "harmony but not sameness.“

The concept must be based on 5,000 years of Chinese civilization by learning and absorbing the advanced experience of other countries all over the world. In terms of form and content, it can draw on similar activities of other countries and regions. Specific suggestions are as follows.

Time: Coinciding with the annual NPC and CPPCC meetings, during which all delegates, led by state leaders, would pray together for the happiness of all the people, along with national rejuvenation and prosperity, and world peace.

Place: A sacred blessing ceremony could be held at the Temple of Heaven and relevant forums and meetings could be held at the National Conference Center or the Great Hall of the People.

Participants: The Chinese president and his wife, other leaders of the Party and state, leaders of democratic parties, religious groups and people's organizations, political and business elite and celebrities and world cultural celebrities and dignitaries could also be invited to attend the ceremony.

Content: Each year would have a different theme, generally built around the topic of harmony and peace.

Agenda: Activities could be held over two or three days, including the blessing ceremony, forums and meetings.

Many countries and regions in the world, such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, have established their National Day of Prayer, at which relevant blessing activities are held, focused on political, social, economic and policy fields. They have become an important part of their political ecology.

For example, the National Prayer Breakfast of the United States started as early as 1953. It is composed of a series of meetings, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Invitees include members of Congress and the diplomatic corp in Washington, politicians, religious leaders, business leaders, and students from various countries and regions, covering different social levels. Since the Eisenhower administration, every president has attended the National Prayer Breakfast each year.

In ancient China, the blessing activities on Dongzhi, which falls between the 21st and 23rd days of December according to the Gregorian calendar, was also a big event in the national political life, providing an excellent historical precedent.

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