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Cultural China: Traditional ethos of harmony still relevant in modern society******
JINAN, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- For thousands of years, the proverb "harmony is the most precious" has been rooted in the minds of Chinese people and continued to have a profound influence on their attitude towards life.
As recorded in The Analects of Confucius, "Youzi said, 'Make harmony a top priority in the application of rites. That is a key feature that characterizes governance by sovereign rulers in ancient past. Always act upon the rule of harmony, no matter whether the issue at hand is minor or major.'"
Youzi (518-around 5th century BC), however, also pointed out that it is unrealistic to blindly pursue harmony. "Sometimes, this rule may fail to work. If a person insists on pursuing harmony just for the sake of harmony instead of qualifying it with rites, then there would be no hope to succeed," he added.
The phrase has evolved from an important moral concept of the Confucian school in managing interpersonal relations to a reference to harmonious and peaceful relationships among people, groups, and states.
The thought is well illustrated in a household story in China. During the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the emperor of the Zhao state appointed a new grand councilor named Lin Xiangru. But Lian Po, the general of Zhao, was not satisfied with this decision and created lots of trouble for Lin.
As a newcomer, Lin, bearing in mind that harmony is the most precious, showed the greatest tolerance in dealing with Lian. In Lin's opinion, tolerance does not mean fear, but self-control, which is for the collective good. He believed that conflicts would not bring any benefits to either party, but damage the interests of the country.
When Lian heard of this, he was embarrassed and immediately rectified his approach. From then on, Lian and Lin buried the hatchet and joined hands to assist the emperor in politics and governance, which made Zhao a powerful and prosperous state in that period.
This traditional thought has laid the foundation for the establishment of a harmonious society in modern China, where the idea of harmony and peace is integrated into the social governance and even the process of policymaking.
In Qufu, a small city in east China's Shandong Province known for being the hometown of Confucius, the local government carried on the legacy of the sage, setting up more than 400 mediation rooms and appointing over 2,000 mediators for solving disputes among residents.
"As long as we are fair and persuade both parties with traditional morality, there is always a solution," said Wu Bo, Party chief of Wujia Village in Qufu, who is also a mediator.
The concept of maintaining peace and harmony is also reflected in China's diplomacy. Chinese people are peace-loving people and know well the value of peace and stability, and the country develops friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Enditem
Heavy fighting in Kiev outskirts as Russia, Ukraine signal possibility of talks******
This screen grab taken from a video made available on the Facebook account of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky shows himself speaking face camera on February 25, 2022.
Russian and Ukrainian forces clashed on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital on Saturday as authorities urged citizens to help defend the city from advancing Russian forces.
Heavy, frequent artillery fire and intense gunfire, apparently some distance from the city center, could be heard in Kiev in the early hours, a Reuters witness said. The Ukrainian military said Russian troops attacked an army base on a main Kiev avenue but the assault was repelled.
But even as the fighting grew more intense, the Russian and Ukrainian governments signaled an openness to negotiations, offering the first glimmer of hope for diplomacy.
"The fate of Ukraine is being decided right now," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday in a video address posted to his Telegram channel. "Tonight, they will launch an assault. All of us must understand what awaits us. We must withstand this night."
The air force command reported heavy fighting near the air base at Vasylkiv southwest of the capital, which it said was under attack from Russian paratroopers.
Kiev residents were told by the defence ministry to make petrol bombs to repel the Russian troops, as witnesses reported hearing artillery rounds and intense gunfire from the western part of the city.
Some families cowered in shelters after Kiev was pounded on Thursday night by Russian missiles. Others tried desperately to get on packed trains headed west, some of the hundreds of thousands who have left their homes to find safety, according to the United Nations' aid chief.
"I once again appeal to the military personnel of the armed forces of Ukraine: Do not allow neo-Nazis and (Ukrainian radical nationalists) to use your children, wives and elders as human shields," Putin said at a televised meeting with Russia's Security Council on Friday. "Take power into your own hands."
Putin has cited the need to "denazify" Ukraine's leadership as one of his main reasons for the operation, accusing it of genocide against Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine.
'Ready to talk'
Western countries have announced a barrage of sanctions on Russia, including blacklisting its banks and banning technology exports. But they have so far stopped short of forcing it out of the SWIFT system for international bank payments.
A spokesman for Zelenskiy said Ukraine and Russia would consult in coming hours on a time and place for talks.
The Kremlin said earlier it offered to meet in the Belarusian capital Minsk after Ukraine expressed a willingness to discuss declaring itself a neutral country while Ukraine had proposed Warsaw as the venue. That, according to Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, resulted in a "pause" in contacts.
"Ukraine was and remains ready to talk about a ceasefire and peace," Zelenskiy's spokesman, Sergii Nykyforov, said in a post on Facebook. "We agreed to the proposal of the President of the Russian Federation."
Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter that there had been heavy fighting with deaths at the entrance to the eastern cities of Chernihiv and Melitopol, as well as at Hostomel.
The White House asked Congress for US$6.4 billion in security and humanitarian aid for the crisis, officials said.