Reaffirming Cultural Confidence and Imparting the Chinese Cultural Legacy

By: Liu QibaoFrom:English Edition of Qiushi Journal July-September 2017|Vol.9,No.3,Issue No.32 | Updated: 2017-Sep-1 15:45
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Cultural and national destiny drive each other, their legacies are inextricably linked. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) attaches great significance to the continuation and development of China’s fine traditional culture. Since the 18th National Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important speeches and raised many unequivocal requests, which lay a foundation on which to impart and develop China’s fine traditional culture. Recently, the CPC Central Committee published “Guidelines on Implementing the Project to Impart and Develop China’s Fine Traditional Culture” (hereinafter referred to as “Guidelines”), the first time that this sort of task had been specified in a Central Committee document, and thus received an enthusiastic reception from both Party members and the society at large. To implement the guiding principles of Xi’s important speeches and “Guidelines,” we must strengthen our cultural confidence, push the creative transformation and innovative development of our fine traditional culture, and strive to create new splendor for Chinese culture. This is a historic commitment bestowed on us by this epoch and by the people.

An art troupe arrives on campus to teach pupils how to perform traditional Chinese opera.

PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER LI RAN

I. China’s fine traditional culture: the “source” and “soul” of our nation and the heartland shared by all Chinese people

A nation that does not remember where it has come from is a nation without a future. During the 5000-year Chinese history, our nation has created a long-standing and profound cultural tradition unique among world civilizations. China’s fine traditional culture embodies its spiritual activity and rational thinking and the cultural achievements that it has accumulated since ancient times from the throes of building a homeland. It is the essential genome and unique symbol of our nation, and a firm foundation amidst the surge of global culture.

In human development, the course that any nation takes is never smooth sailing. The Chinese nation has been calm and composed in the good times and has bravely risen to the challenge in the bad. Fundamentally, this is because it has long been nourished by China’s fine traditional culture. Especially, the ideas and concepts, traditional virtues, and human spirit that are embodied in China’s culture have provided a powerful spiritual support underpinning the ceaseless growth and development of our nation. First, ideas and notions are the backbone of China’s fine traditional culture, are fundamental to the nation’s way of thinking, temperament, and national characteristics, and serve as the framework propping up the hearts and minds of the Chinese people. The holistic thinking encompassed by “nature abides by the Dao” and “humanity is an integral part of nature;” the naive materialism of the connection between the five elements and the great void that is qi; the naive dialecticism of yin and yang; the worldviews that “all is new in the new day,” and that all things progress with time; the social pursuits of valuing harmony and seeking peace; and the practical views of seeking truth from facts and the unity of knowledge and practice – all these notions are entrenched into the psyche of the Chinese people. Second, traditional virtues are the channels by which China’s fine traditional culture is transmitted, holding together the thousands of years of national unity, the social order of this great nation, and the common sentiments of our people. In the Chinese value system, the distinctiveness of traditional culture is signified by: the sense of duty that compels ordinary people to take responsibility for the fate of the nation; the patriotic sentiment of the willingness to die for a just cause and to loyally serve the country; the fine character of revering virtue and being inclined to goodness, and emulating those better than oneself; and the sense of honor and humility from loyalty and filial piety, and propriety, righteousness, integrity, and a sense of shame. These values offer abundant moral guidance for fostering and practicing the core values of socialism. Third, the spirit of humaneness is the “flesh and blood” of China’s fine traditional culture, greatly arousing the creative and innovative energies of the nation, displaying the abundance, diversity, and uniqueness of the lifeworld of our nation. Our unique and plentiful literature and arts, science and technology, humanities and academia, are nourished by: personal conduct such as respect and love for humanity, and being just; social conduct such as seeking common ground while setting aside differences, and harmony despite difference; aspirational ideals such as self-cultivation, family regulation, state governance, and bringing peace to all under the heaven; a progressive spirit shown in improving oneself continuously, having ample virtue, and accommodating all things; educational notions such as that writing is for conveying truth, and using literature for human betterment; the broadmindedness of tolerance, openness, and inclusivity; the pursuit of aesthetics such as complementarity of form and content, and literature which blends feelings and setting; and ideas about living such as being thrifty and temperate, and neutrality and peacefulness. These all add a generous dollop of Chinese hue and style to the canvas of human civilizational history. One might say that philosophies, traditional morals, and human spirit are bound together, mutually supportive, and form the organic unity that is China’s fine traditional culture. Today, in carrying forward China’s fine traditional culture, we ought to work hard at these important tasks. We must use the quintessence of Chinese traditional culture to nourish the spiritual world of contemporary Chinese society, and use the abundant wisdom of traditional Chinese culture to awaken the spiritual energy of contemporary Chinese society, so as to boost the integrity, aspirations, and confidence of the people of China.

The CPC is the true successor and developer of China’s fine traditional culture. To implement the overarching strategy that upholds and develops socialism with Chinese characteristics, and realizes the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important expositions on the topic of imparting and developing China’s fine traditional culture. In these he clearly raises the basic necessity for staunch cultural confidence which has poignantly brought to light the status of China’s fine traditional culture. These expositions chart China’s fine traditional culture’s historic source, the essence of its thoughts, and its distinctive qualities, thus clarifying the Party’s standpoint on traditional culture. By upholding and applying the standpoint, viewpoints, and methods of Marxism, Xi’s expositions have provided us with scientific answers to the important theoretical and practical questions such as “where does traditional culture come from? And where does it go?” and “what cultural traits need to be preserved? And how should they be preserved?” These inquiries have enriched and developed Marxist cultural theory, and are important parts of CPC’s new ideas, concepts, and strategies on national governance. Together, these ideas embody the distinct cultural outlook of contemporary CPC members, amply reflecting the high level of cultural consciousness, staunch cultural confidence, and intense cultural undertaking of our Party. Guided by the spirit of Xi Jinping’s important speeches, “Guidelines” issued by the CPC Central Committee thoroughly addresses the task of imparting and developing China’s fine traditional culture, defining all requirements, policy principles, important tasks, and safeguards. It is a strategic measure for imparting the cultural pulse of China, and forwarding the modernization of Chinese culture. It is the cultural manifesto for building a strong socialist country and driving the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. For these reasons, it will inevitably be a lavish brush stroke in the history of Chinese culture.

II. Balancing the relationship between Marxism and Confucianism and approaching China’s fine traditional culture with an objective, scientific, and respectful attitude

The most important issues when imparting and developing traditional culture are deciding which standpoint to take, and which attitude to adopt. Recently, while many people have shown high enthusiasm for imparting and developing traditional culture, there also exist some erroneous understandings. For example, some people think that preserving China’s fine traditional culture is akin to worshiping Confucius and idolizing the ancients, while others advocate replacing Marx with Confucius, claiming that the guiding role of Marxism should be abandoned to give place to Confucianism in governing the country and society. Such views are doubtlessly incorrect. How to understand and maintain the right relationship between Marxism and Confucianism is an unavoidable fundamental issue in imparting and developing China’s fine traditional culture, and it is also a weighty topic that needs to be addressed and resolved in the course of adapting Marxism to China’s conditions.

1. Fully recognizing that upholding the guiding role of Marxism is the choice of history, the people, and the culture

Marxism is a theory produced under the conditions of recent modernity’s socialization of production with a worldly view of the human society, and it is so far the most empirical, rigorous, and lively system of thinking. Utilizing the worldview and methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, Marxism profoundly reveals the laws governing the development of human society, offers a powerful theoretical tool for people to perceive the world and to analyze problems, and provides an empirical compass to guide our behavior so that the vast number of people may realize liberation, seek happiness, and pursue their ideals. Marxism was introduced into China and was established as the guiding role, undergoing a long period of experimentation, and having won out over all other ideologies and viewpoints. The most important reason for its success is the deep integration of Marxism with China’s actual circumstances, including a deep integration with its politics, economics, and society, and with China’s fine traditional culture. On the one hand, Marxism entered China, successfully taking the road to adapting itself to China’s conditions, being both innovatively developed by absorbing the essence of China’s fine traditional culture and also adding new scientific elements to China’s fine traditional culture. The integration of Marxism with China’s reality has given expression to the excellent genes of China’s fine traditional culture, fostered a glorious revolutionary culture, and developed the progressive culture of socialism. On the other hand, the simple truths such as naive materialism, naive dialecticism, and the idea of historical progress embodied in China’s fine traditional culture provide suitable cultural soil for Marxism to take root in China, and are the cultural loam nourishing the roots of socialism with Chinese characteristics. One can say that upholding the guiding role of Marxism is an inevitable outcome of China’s development since modern times, and it is the choice of history, the people, and the culture. History and reality tell us that we must unswervingly uphold the guiding role of Marxism, continue to develop Marxism in the 21st century and for contemporary China, and continue to build the new frontier of Chinese Marxism.

2. Dialectically considering the merits and limitations of traditional culture based on Confucianism

Laden with philosophical thinking and moral resources, Confucianism is integral to traditional Chinese culture. Historically, it played an important role in forming and solidifying ethnic solidarity, in coalescing and enriching the Chinese national spirit, in inspiring the Chinese people to uphold national independence and oppose foreign aggression, and in driving forward Chinese social development and progress to balance social interests and relations. In his speech at the Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth CPC Central Committee, Mao Zedong once said, “We should sum up our history from Confucius to Sun Yat-sen and take over this valuable legacy. This is important for guiding the great movement of today.” Our Party greatly values drawing nourishment from China’s fine traditional culture. For example, “seeking truth from facts” was selected by Mao Zedong from China’s historical texts. He innovatively used this principle to summarize the Marxist worldview and methodology, thus making this principle the essence and soul of the theoretical fruit borne of the adaptation of Marxism to Chinese conditions. The concept of “a community of shared future” put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping is precisely an innovative development of the concepts of “all nations living together in peace” and “harmony under the heaven” that are part of China’s fine traditional culture. However, it must also be noted that as a product of a particular stage of history, Confucianism is bound to be constrained and affected by the limitations of cognitive ability, historical conditions, and social system of that era, and thus it inevitably contains things that are nowadays considered outmoded or even unacceptable. This is precisely the reason why Confucianism could not fundamentally save China from its long-standing weakness and poverty in modern times. In the new era, to enable China’s traditional culture, which includes Confucianism, to better continue into the future and to breathe into it new life, it must adapt to the times and develop for the future. While maintaining its own traits and merits, it must also break through its limitations, discard content unsuited to the times, rectify its direction of development with scientific theories, and absorb the wondrous fruits of human civilization with an open mind. It is only by distinguishing, imparting, and developing China’s traditional culture under the guidance of Marxism that we can continually inject new life into Chinese cultural modernization.

3. Upholding the Marxist position, and approaching China’s fine traditional culture objectively, scientifically, and respectfully

The “Guidelines” raises clear requirements for imparting and developing China’s fine traditional culture under the guidance of Marxism. This clearly reflects our Party’s attitude towards China’s fine traditional culture, which is, in short, “objective, scientific, and respectful.” Objective means realizing that traditional culture is a mix of insight and ignorance, has both positives and negatives, and should thus not be indiscriminately imitated or simply negated; instead, we should maintain a holistic, historical, and dialectic approach to traditional culture. Scientific means respecting the laws of cultural development, making choice in light of the new age and practical considerations, and pushing forward the selective succession and transformational innovation of traditional culture, so as to better merge with the present and serve the needs of the people today. Respectful means maintaining our stance on Chinese culture, strengthening cultural confidence, and raising cultural awareness. It means revering and cherishing the outstanding spiritual and cultural wealth of our forebears, and extracting and carrying forward the value of China’s fine traditional culture that is relevant to contemporary society, so as to firmly uphold the uniqueness and national characteristics of Chinese culture. “Objective, scientific, respectful” embodies the Marxist approach and method; it is only by upholding this approach and method when dealing with traditional culture can we better pass on cultural genes and carry forward our fine traditional culture into the future.

III. Balancing the relationship between “preservation” and “change” and committing ourselves to transforming and innovating China’s fine traditional culture while sorting its wheat from its chaff

In recent years, people’s understanding and knowledge of China’s fine traditional culture has deepened with each passing day. Tracing back its roots and hoping for its revitalization, China has made noticeable progress in imparting and developing its fine traditional culture. Meanwhile, there has also emerged some dislocation between “preservation” and “change.” For example, there is the issue of returning to or being mired in the past, or of stressing appearance over substance, or of vulgarization and utilitarianism. To resolve these problems, it is crucial to balance the relationship between “preservation” and “change” regarding our fine traditional culture by working out effective measures and accomplishing all tasks, with a view to advancing the continuation and development of our fine traditional culture so that it moves forward in the right direction.

1. Thoroughly effecting “creative transformation and innovative development” as a guiding principle

China’s fine traditional culture has accumulated being subsequently passed on from one generation to the next, but it has also developed constantly by generating the new from the old. During a trip to Shandong in November 2013, General Secretary Xi stressed the need to delve into and expound on China’s fine traditional culture in order to realize its “creative transformation and innovative development.” In February 2014, during the 13th group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, he went further by emphasizing the need to extract the cream of Chinese thought and morality from China’s fine traditional culture, focusing efforts on “creative transformation and innovative development.” Thereafter, Xi has repeatedly stressed on numerous occasions the need to persist with this guiding principle. The principle of “creative transformation and innovative development” represents a continuation of other principles established by the CPC with regard to traditional culture, such as “making the past serve the present and bringing forth the new from the old” and “retaining the essence and discarding the dross.” At the same time, this principle also constitutes a new theoretical guideline that conforms to contemporary needs. It is the correct approach to actuate China’s fine traditional culture, as well as an empirical guide to balancing the relationship between “preservation” and “change” under new circumstances. This principle, together with the principles of “serving the people and serving socialism (two serves)” and “letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend (two hundreds),” constitutes an organic whole, with each having their own emphases while complementing one another. Among these principles, the “two serves” thoroughly addresses the question of what the objective of cultural development is, while the principles of the “two hundreds” and “creative transformation and innovative development” thoroughly answer the question as to the methodological approach to cultural development. The three principles all govern the fundamental and long-term development of our culture, embodying the CPC’s deeper understanding of the laws governing cultural development. The “Guidelines” enshrines “creative transformation and innovative development” as one of its guiding concepts, meaning it is a guiding principle that must be adhered to. It is essential to deeply understand the great significance, fundamental implications, and practical requirements of the principle of “creative transformation and innovative development,” and use this principle to guide all tasks related to imparting and developing traditional culture.

2. Testing the values of traditional culture in practice and accomplishing its selective succession and transformative innovation

In satisfying the drive for the creative transformation and innovative development of traditional culture, there are two key considerations. The first is how to go about “preservation” and the other is how to go about “change.” In short, it is “selective succession and transformative innovation.” Selective succession means respecting the laws of cultural development and not forgetting our roots while selecting dialectically. It is about approaching traditional cultural values on a selective basis, retaining the good while discarding the bad, so as to hold on to the source of Chinese culture and pass on its genomes. It is only through selective succession that the essence of China’s fine traditional culture can be fully tapped, its value can be fully revealed, and its vitality can be fully aroused. For example, “xiao” (filial piety) is a very important concept in traditional culture, and many rulers in feudal times emphasized the importance of xiao for governance. Today, xiao is still a traditional virtue that we hold dear; however, blind devotion to one’s parents, such as in the story of Guo Ju burying his son to save his mother, violates human nature and the law, and therefore should be discarded. On the other, transformative innovation focuses on serving the present while looking to the future, using the past to serve the present, and preserving what is right while doing new things. It is adding, expanding, and enhancing the content of China’s fine traditional culture to give it relevance and expression for the modern age, so that its contemporary values can be fully promoted when they are extracted and practiced by people today. For example, based on the essence and practice of socialism, we have innovatively drawn on China’s fine traditional culture’s good and positive notions to create core values of socialism that integrate the aspirations of the state, society, and citizens. These traditional notions include “self-cultivation, family regulation, state governance, and bringing peace to all under the heaven,” “improving oneself continuously, having ample virtue, and accommodating all things,” and “the doctrine of loyalty and forgiveness.” What needs emphasis is that given the longevity and distance of Chinese culture, it is only by adapting to a profoundly changing new era and a rapidly changing China that it can have lasting vitality and provide cultural support for modernizing the country and achieving national rejuvenation. Therefore, no matter whether imparting or innovating traditional culture, we must uphold the principle of using practice as the criterion to test its values – principally to see whether these values can help resolve the issues and meet the needs of contemporary China, respond to the problems and challenges of the times, and transform themselves into advantageous riches that we can draw on in our efforts to make the country prosperous and strong, revitalize the nation, and bring happiness to the people. Through selective succession and transformative innovation, we will enable our fine traditional culture to become a culture beneficial to resolving present problems, to boosting social development, and to fostering the Zeitgeist and new generation of the era.

3. Finding the links between the old and new for the intermingling of China’s fine traditional culture and contemporary culture

Only by starting with foundational tasks and attending to every one of them through perseverance can we enable our fine traditional culture to take root and bloom in contemporary society. Specifically, the whole task must be founded on thorough review and research and be supported by the “four incorporations.”

A thorough review and research of our cultural heritage represents the foundational tasks that we must handle well in extracting the essence of China’s fine traditional culture. Traditional culture is vast and boundless like an ocean. One important reason why it is able to last long and unbroken is that since ancient times we have continued the fine tradition of thoroughly researching and reviewing our cultural heritage. China has a great heritage of ancient literature, spanning from as early as the Han Dynasty all the way to the Qing Dynasty, for example the first catalogue of books entitled A Different Kind of Companion of Classics published during the Han period, An Authoritative Edition of the Five Confucian Classics compiled during the Tang Dynasty, the Yongle Encyclopedia of the Ming Dynasty, and the Complete Library of the Four Branches of Literature of the Qing Dynasty. These collections, despite their historical confines, all constitute an important contribution to cultural transmission. Now, our material resources are comparatively plentiful and technological means more advanced, so the conditions are better for further organizing and sifting through our traditional cultural resources. First, it is necessary to take an inventory of our cultural resources. To this end, projects will be continued to protect our cultural heritage and ancient villages, and to compile a hundred classical works of traditional Chinese culture. In addition, new projects will be quickly launched to survey Chinese cultural resources and protect our ancient books. These projects will be steadily implemented on a per-category basis. Then, it is necessary to undertake stronger research into our traditional culture. To achieve this, more talent will be organized and more energy will be invested to probe into the sources of our classics, and to rectify and deepen our understanding of our history and culture. What needs emphasis is that the thorough research we conduct today is aimed at extracting the essence of our traditional culture and excavating from the vast cultural heritage the cultural substance that is most representative and of value to the present age, so as to showcase the quintessence of our culture. The aim is not to duplicate the vast scope and enormity of the ancient book compilation.

“Four incorporations” will be effected to set off the contemporary energy of China’s fine traditional culture. The first is to incorporate traditional culture into national education. Our fine traditional culture will be incorporated throughout our national education syllabus and into all types of our education – early, compulsory, vocational, higher, and continuing education – and this subject will be introduced into our classrooms and textbooks, so as to increase our youths’ attainment in traditional culture. To combine education with cultural exposure, traditional Chinese dramas and operas, calligraphy, and martial arts will be introduced into schools, so that youths can grow up steeped in China’s fine traditional culture. To strengthen the dissemination of our fine traditional culture throughout society, cultural facilities such as museums, cultural centers, and libraries will be put into better use, more programs such as “Chinese Literature and Poetry Conferences” will be launched, and activities such as “Recitals of the Classics” will be widely carried out. All these will create favorable conditions for the transmission of our fine traditional culture. The second is to incorporate traditional culture into moral development. The moral resources of China’s fine traditional culture will be extracted, expounded, and applied so that they will become relevant to the times and become an important source for nourishing our mainstream values and cultivating virtue and benevolence. This means vigorously carrying forward China’s traditional virtues and channeling them into the processes of ethical and cultural development. It means making greater efforts to improve civic morality, foster patriotism, and continually deepen education that values elders and family, sincerity and honesty, and industriousness and thrift. It also means fostering and passing on fine family traditions, school mottos, and corporate culture, developing a new “county sage culture,” and fostering positive and healthy social conduct. The third is to incorporate traditional culture into cultural creation. This means cherishing the precious legacy left by our forebears, and increasing support for our traditional cultural arts such as poetry, calligraphy and painting, music and dance, and folk art and acrobatics. It means revitalizing traditional drama and opera, developing folk culture, and reproducing the charisma of our fine traditional culture. It means being adept at refining culture, arousing inspiration, and deriving sustenance from traditional culture, and producing more excellent artworks that embody China’s cultural essence, reflect the aesthetic pursuit of Chinese people and spread Chinese values, so that modern artworks have a more distinctive Chinese style. And the fourth is to incorporate traditional culture into lifestyles. This means consolidating cultivation through practice, ensuring that China’s fine traditional culture penetrates every aspect of our life. It means connecting traditional culture with laws and regulations, festivals and celebrations, rites and norms, and customs and habits. It means combining traditional culture with arts and sports, tourism and leisure, diet and medicine, and clothing and adornment, so that traditional culture becomes absorbed into everyday life. Finally, it means promoting the aesthetics of traditional Chinese architecture, and encouraging architectures to innovate by drawing on traditional architecture. By reproducing the beauty of Chinese architecture, continuing the cultural pulse of the city, and building a beautiful countryside, our architectural structures will allow us to be close to mountains and waters and remember our rural cultural roots.

IV. Balancing the relationship between “Chinese” and “foreign” and raising the international influence of Chinese culture when interacting internationally

Chinese culture was born on Chinese soil, but it has also developed through continual interaction with other countries and other national cultures. Zhang Qian was a diplomat to the Western Regions in the 2nd Century BC, later Xuanzang collected Buddhist scriptures from India, Jian Zhen traveled to Japan, and Zheng He voyaged to the Western Seas – these feats demonstrate that the sources of Chinese culture are many, and that its large spirit springs from its inclusivity. In modern times, however, following national vicissitudes and the changing fortunes of the country, traditional culture encountered an unprecedented crisis, and the relationship between “Chinese” and “foreign” became complicated. At present, there are two major erroneous trends: the first is thinking that only foreign things are good, that China’s fine traditional culture is outdated and backward, and that it is not as good as Western culture; the second is complacency and conservatism, being blindly anti-foreign, and belittling and boycotting fine foreign cultures in the name of reviving traditional culture. To rectify these trends, we must handle the relationship between “Chinese” and “foreign” under the guidance of Marxism, both remembering our roots and the past, and also absorbing foreign cultures and keeping an eye on the future; and both being rooted in our own culture and persevering with our belief in, abidance by, and focus on our own culture, and also looking out onto the world and realizing creative development by deriving nourishment from all cultures.

1. Remembering our origins and maintaining the national characteristics of Chinese culture

The more a culture exhibits national characteristics, the more it belongs to the world. With its inherent and distinguishingly national quality and its unique ideas, wisdom, manner, and elegant subtlety, China’s fine traditional culture has long stood tall among the cultures of the world, dazzling with honor and splendor. Many of China’s classic texts such as The Analects, The Classic of the Virtue of the Dao, and The Art of War have had profound and far reaching global influence. Despite Chinese theater’s sparing use of props, the freehand style of Chinese opera shown through consciously artificial, stylized motions is nevertheless extremely expressive, making the aesthetics of Chinese opera unique in the world. In dialogue with other cultures across the world, we must remain confident in our own culture and keep it as the base for cultural exchanges, with a view to preserving the national character of Chinese culture and ensuring that Chinese spirit, style, and manner sustain through cultural transmission.

2. Absorbing foreign cultures and learning extensively from the best of other cultures

The cultures of the world have become richer through communication and more diverse through mutual learning. Each culture has its own qualities, fortes, and merits, and each has points worthy of learning from. Buddhism originated in ancient India. After being introduced into China, it developed upon blending with Confucian and Daoist culture, eventually becoming a uniquely Chinese form of Buddhism, having profound influence on Chinese people by leaving them with religious beliefs, philosophical concepts, literature and arts, and rites and customs. In modern times, the interactions and mutual learning between Chinese culture and other national cultures have become increasingly widespread. Considering the realm of arts and literature, it is evident that modern Chinese literary and artistic creations including painting, film, and theater have both learned from beneficial elements of other cultures, and have also creatively imbued themselves with Chinese national character, forming a unique artistic style. For example, the renowned painter Xu Beihong pushed the boundaries of Chinese paintings after he learned about Western oil painting techniques and intensively applied them in his own paintings, such as rays of light, modeling, and dissecting the human form and understanding precise skeletal structures. The contemporary world is an open world, and contemporary China is an open China. As such, the scope and depth of cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world remains unprecedented. Only when we stay widely open-minded and have the whole world in view, extensively learn from the useful parts of other cultures, and use their fortes and pros to our benefit, will we be able to breathe new life into the creative development of our fine traditional culture.

3. Looking to the future and striving to build a community of human civilization

As the overall national strength and international status of our country increases, China has an increasingly important role to play on the global stage. Our role in global governance increasingly embodies that of a responsible major country. Our approaches to development, values, and institutional models are growing in influence with each passing day. For these reasons, the international community is becoming increasingly interested in Chinese culture which underpins the “China miracle.” Meanwhile, Chinese culture’s spread and influence has not kept pace with its economic might and its status as one of the world’s major countries; cultural “going global” and economic “going global” are out of synch. To promote Chinese culture going global, we should raise the level of openness to the outside world; carry out cultural interchange, dissemination, and trade in a coordinated manner; and focus our efforts on spreading Chinese values and creating a Chinese cultural brand, so that the world can get to know a China that is cultured, colorful, and erudite. For China to take its place as a great civilized nation, it ought to have a strong sense of responsibility to the world, to have an open mind that allows it to appreciate the beauty of other cultures while treasuring the beauty of its own, and to have the courage to address problems faced by humanity and help build a beautiful future for humanity. To play its role as a major civilization, China should explore and spread those values of its fine traditional culture that have contemporary values and global significance, and contribute more of China’s wisdom and solution to global governance. Working hand in hand with other cultures, China will help promote the progress of human civilization.

Through the ages, the process of development of any great nation has been both a result of hard economic and technological power, and also that of the soft power of values and cultural ideas. At present, our country is at a critical time when it is striving to meet its first centenary goal while moving towards its second centenary goal; the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is unfolding into hitherto unprecedentedly promising prospects. It is only by reaffirming our cultural confidence, rooting ourselves on this land on which we were born and raised, sparing no efforts to impart and develop our fine traditional culture, and opening the way forth while continuing the pulse of Chinese culture that we will be able to do what needs to be done today and vigorously march towards the future.

Liu Qibao is Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.8, 2017)