|Speech by Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the China Ancient Science Exhibition|
Your Excellency, Ambassador Georges Yennimatas, Secretary General of the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic,
Mr. Yin Hao, President of China Science and Technology Museum,
Mr. Fyros, founder of Museum Herakleidon,
Good evening! First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to His Excellency President Pavlopoulos, represented here by Secretary General Yennimatas, who will deliver a speech on behalf of the President. It is an honour and encouragement for cultural and technological exchanges between our two friendly countries.
Ancient science and technology is an important part of ancient Chinese civilization, which made outstanding contribution to China and the world.
As long as over 3000 years ago in Shang Dynasty in ancient China, there were already records of solar and lunar eclipses in oracle bones. Xihan Dynasty (202BC-8AD) saw the invention of Papermaking technology; Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) saw the invention of gunpowder; Song Dynasty (960-1279) saw the application of compass in navigation and the invention of typography. Ancient China gave birth to a myriad of philosophers like Lao Zi, Confucius, Zhuang Zi, astronomists like Zhang Heng, Zu Chongzhi, and Guo Shoujing, medical scientists like Bianque, Huatuo, and Zhang Zhongjing, mathematicians like Liu Hui, Zhao Shuang, and Zu Chongzhi, engineers like Li Bing, Li Chun, Huang Daopo, leaving behind mega projects like Dujiang Weir and the great canal linking southern China with northern China. These achievements were captured by Dr. Joseph Needham in his words, “the Chinese succeeded in maintaining, between the 3rd and the 13th centuries, a level of scientific knowledge unapproached in the West”.
At around the same time, there were also a constellation of brilliant stars in ancient Greece. Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedis, Pythagoras, Thales, Hippocrates, and Heron are now household names in both Greece and China, who left behind them important engineering legacies like the hydraulic clock, the Antikythera mechanism, spherical astrolabe, and Eupalinos tunnel.
The four great ancient Chinese inventions of papermaking, gunpowder, typography and compass led to revolutionary changes in the world and promoted European Renaissance. At the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, Chinese people began to learn modern science and technology with great zeal. Modern astronomy, medicine, mathematics, geometry, and geography, which originated in Greece, were brought into China and opened the horizon of the Chinese people. As an important event in this year of China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation, the “Ancient Chinese Science and Technology Exhibition”, co-hosted by China Science and Technology Museum and Museum Herakleidon, is an occasion for us Chinese to show their admiration to Greece as the cradle of Western civilization and our friendship towards the Greek people. I am happy to note that the exhibition “EUREKA: Science, Art and Technology of the Ancient Greeks” will be held in Beijing, which, I am sure, will be warmly welcomed.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The contribution of our two ancient civilizations to scientific development and technological exchanges worldwide is definitely not confined in the museums. Over the past 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, exchanges in science and technology between our two countries have been increasingly deepened. At the just-concluded 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair, where China is the honoured country, China demonstrated its latest innovations in high-speed railway, big planes, drones, telecommunications, smart city design, clean energy, and medical care. The Hellenic General Secretariat for Research and Technology set up a special area to showcase achievements of bilateral cooperation in science and technology in recent years. Last year, the China-Greece Laser Technology Joint Laboratory on Cultural Heritage was established in Beijing with joint efforts of the two countries. The Europe Coordination Office of ASEM Cooperation Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation was set up here in Athens. Our two countries enjoy bright prospects of cooperation in the fields of transportation, telecommunications, IT, clean energy, medical care, and cultural heritage protection, etc, which will surely benefit people of the two countries.
I believe that the holding of ancient science and technology exhibitions in each other’s country will increase our understanding of each other’s history and culture, and inspire more people, especially the youngsters, to have scientific pursuits and desire for innovation, thus injecting new vigor into bilateral technological, economic, and cultural exchanges.
Finally, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Greece, I would like to thank China Science and Technology Museum, Museum Herakleidon, as well as institutions and people who have provided valuable support that made today’s exhibition possible. I wish the exhibition a full success!
Thank you all!