Relations between China and Cyprus were evaluated and discussed at a workshop held jointly on Tuesday evening by the Cyprus Mail, the Chinese embassy and the Cyprus Centre for European and International Affairs of the University of Nicosia.

The event’s focus was the Mirror of Culture project, which is a joint initiative of the Cyprus Mail and the Chinese embassy, which highlights the parallels between Cypriot and Chinese culture to set an example of acceptance, respect and understanding.

Cyprus Mail CEO Freda Yannitsas emphasised the project’s importance, saying it “serves a profound purpose in highlighting the parallels between Cypriot and Chinese cultures.”

Culture is a “universal language which transcends many barriers, including language and geography,” she added.

The project’s aim, she said, is to “share and promote our vibrant cultures, further bolstering the bonds among all the people of Cyprus and celebrating the diversity in the world.”

She then touched on her recent trip to China, which she said, “reinforced my belief that there are countless opportunities for collaboration between our two nations.”

“Cyprus and China, though distinct in many ways, share parallels in cultural depth, respect for traditions, and a commitment to progress. We have much to learn from each other, and it is through initiatives like the Belt and Road that we can forge stronger, more meaningful connections with China and the rest of the world,” she said.

Chinese ambassador in Nicosia Liu Yantao also extolled the virtues of the Mirror of Culture project, saying it allows Cypriot and Chinese culture to find common ground and solidarity, and for people to “explore the deep bonds” between the two countries.

He added that relations between Cyprus and China can be boiled down to four common sectors: continuity, innovation, inclusivity, and the two countries’ peaceful outlook.

He said ‘continuity’ pertains to both countries’ “political pursuit of unity” and the interest in morality and justice. The matter of ‘innovation’ is defined by both countries’ adaptation to changing times while maintaining their interest in traditions.

‘Inclusivity’, he said, comes in the form of their embrace of modern multiculturalism and cultural “melting pots”.

On the subject of peace, he said both China and Cyprus “love peace”, while also making reference to the olive tree, a symbol of peace, which “grows everywhere in Cyprus”.

With this in mind, he said China is determined to “stand on the right side of history”, and that the country’s relationship with Cyprus highlights its “commitment to all relations, either big or small”.

Additionally, he drew attention to China’s appearance as a “guest country of honour” at the Nicosia Book Festival last October, and China’s interest in cultural exchange with Cyprus through its Global Civilisation Initiative.

UNic politics and governance department head Andreas Theophanous said he was “flattered as a Cypriot” by China’s interest in the country, and said he hopes the deepening of relations between the two countries will result in greater support for Cyprus at the United Nations Security Council.

He also touched on the theme of continuity and said that while no country has “permanent friends”, each must have a “minimum list of principles”, and that this should lead every country, including Cyprus, to “optimism about the paradigm shift in modern international relations”.

As the event drew to a close, the panel took questions from the audience, with Liu saying China is now a “Chinese-style democracy”, and that to define a democracy in the modern era, one must look at “different aspects of a decision-making process”.

He also stressed the importance of continuity in domestic politics, saying China implements “five-year plans” for its own internal development, and that it is currently in the process of implementing its 14th such plan.

These plans, he said, are devised and implemented “in the fundamental interests of our people”.

He closed by returning to the issue of international relations, saying the Chinese government hopes it can play a “positive role” in resolving the ongoing war in Ukraine and the desperate humanitarian crisis in Gaza, while also praising Cyprus’ Amalthea maritime humanitarian aid corridor to the strip.