Chinese civilization had influenced the world with its broad and gorgeous appearance. After going through hardship, China today gradually returns to the world stage centre with the posture of the world second economic entity.
Since 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping has put forward the development idea of jointly constructing “the Silk Road Economic Belt” and “the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” in several international important events, rapidly generating great influence worldwide.
China is grasping the historic opportunity of civilization renaissance in historical space-time coordinates.
What kind of connotation and realistic value does “the Belt and Road” inherited from the ancient Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road contain? And what profound and huge influence will it bring to China future and the world?
The Silk Road has always been the important channel for the east and the west to communicate economy and culture since being “digged” by China Western Han Dynasty Zhang Qian's diplomatic mission to the Western Regions.
The 19th century Germany historical geographer Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen called the channel that transported silk from the east to the distant west in ancient to be “the Silk Road”, from which the name was widely circulated and gradually became the synonym of ancient east and west culture communication.
In the history of the Silk Road, silk, chinaware, tea, spice and horses were the most circulated large-scale trading products, of which the silk spanned longest and was in the top of value chain. This is the primary cause that the Germany historical geographer Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen called it the Silk Road.
In the final analysis, silk was an important trade symbol and also an animate culture symbol, representing the long-term prosperous and booming trade between Asia and Europe.
The silk production technology had been passed to the Asia Minor Peninsula at the early tang dynasty. At 200 kilometers to the southeast of Istanbul, there is still an ancient city Bursa named “Silk City”, which was important node to transport China Ancient Silk to the west.
After seamanship developed in the fifteenth century, sea passage played a more and more important role in the Chinese and western communication. Continuous prosperity of the Maritime Silk Road gradually replaces the leading role of traditional land Silk Road.
The concept of “the Maritime Silk Road” was firstly raised by French sinologist Edouard Chavannes in 1913. He mentioned in his writing the Western Turkic Khaganate History that “the Silk Road has land and marine two channels. The north road passes through Kangju and the south road is the sea route passing to various India ports.”
During Ming Dynasty Yongle and Xuande period, Zheng He led a huge ocean fleet to visit various countries Asia and Africa for seven times successively, which opened up the longest ocean route in the ancient Marine Silk Road history and became the hallmark event of the Marine Silk Road.
As time goes by and experiencing ups and downs for millions of years, the Silk Road and the Marine Silk Road have been going on continually.
The strategic conception of the Belt and Road born from the earth of history and reality interweaving is exactly the common development road inherited from the historic Silk Road Spirit.
It is enough to prove through reviewing the Silk Road history that although there is difference between different civilizations, it does not necessarily result in confrontation and conflict. On the contrary, it is the right way for different civilizations to exist peacefully, respect mutually and draw on each other's strength. It will be the same as it used to be.
Although the conception of the Belt and Road was proposed by China, it is open, inclusive and equal and not limited to so-called countries along the Silk Road. It welcomes the participation and input of various types of economic entities and countries and respects each country and region’s self development vision and arrangement. It is a human civilization cantata.
This Silk Road and the earthshaking civilization large channel, still left us countless questions and thoughts today in the ups and downs. From the ancient Silk Road to today’s “the Belt and Road”, it connects the human everlasting development and exploration road in series.