The symposium is also intended to do justice to Ricci and his role as a missionary. Too often, he has been portrayed as a wise Westerner, a broad-minded cultural mediator who helped the flow of scientific and technical knowledge between China and the West. Such a view has tended to obscure his profound closeness to China, its people and culture, based on his faith.
Underlying the conference is the fact that today’s relationship between China and the West is ruled by economic and material exchanges rather than a dialogue over spiritual values, religious freedom, and culture. Such a bias favours competition and conflict in lieu of friendship. In China, this has fuelled social tensions and increased human rights violations, undermining the country’s goal of a “harmonious society”.
The list of speakers includes Mgr Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Hong Kong-based Savio Hon SDB, from the International Theological Commission; Prof Giuseppe Jing, director of the 'Centro culturale Cina-Europa’; Prof Zhuo Xinping, director of the Institute of World Religions and a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; and Fr Bernardo Cervellera editor of AsiaNews.
The meeting is sponsored by the City of Rome and supported by the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena.