Unswervingly Upholding the System of Core Socialist Values

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-19 19:32
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    In the early part of this new century, what spiritual banner should the Communist Party of China (CPC) employ to unite and lead all the ethnic groups of the country in working to develop greater prospects for socialism with Chinese characteristics? The Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary has proposed the development of a system of core socialist values as a clear answer to this important question. Unswervingly upholding a system of core socialist values will have major practical significance and far-reaching historical significance in instilling scientific guiding ideology, common ideals and beliefs, a powerful spiritual strength and excellent moral standards throughout society, as well as in consolidating a common ideological base so that the CPC and all the ethnic groups in the country will be able to work together to make new achievements in the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

  Core Socialist Values Manifest the Essential Nature of Socialist Ideology

    Human society is an organic unit comprised of an economic base and a superstructure. The economic base determines the superstructure, and the superstructure has a reactive impact on the economic base. The ideology of a society, which is part of the superstructure, stipulates the nature and orientation of the overall development of ideology, morals and culture. A country, a nation and a society inevitably form a certain system of values in the long process of forming ideas held in common and through practical experience. At the core of this process is a system of core values, and those values play a guiding and leading role. These core values are always in line with the basic system and requirements of a society, manifest the essential nature of the ideology of a society and comprise the basic spiritual foundation for the operation of a definite social system and the preservation of a definite social order. If a society is not guided by a common system of core values it will lose its soul and its direction.

    Development of a system of core socialist values, a major strategical task being undertaken by the CPC in light of the new current conditions and the need to comprehensively promote the overall development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, is a key measure in efforts to develop Chinese socialist ideology. Only through strong efforts to develop a system of core socialist values can we create the spiritual strength to ensure the progress of the entire nation and the spiritual link to unite and ensure harmony in society, and ensure that the nation can realize the goal of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

    The guiding ideology of Marxism, the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics, national spirit centered on patriotism and the spirit of the times centered on reform and innovation, and the concept of socialist honor and dishonor form the basis of core socialist values. These four basic elements represent the refined and concise essence gleaned from the development of human society and the rich ideological and cultural achievements made during the long-term leadership of the Chinese people by the CPC, and epitomize the socialist values and concepts. The guiding ideology of Marxism, which is the soul of socialist values, provides a powerful ideological tool for understanding and shaping the world, as well as comprises the theoretical basis and action guide for building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which is the main theme of socialist values, represents the pursuit of bright prospects for the future development of the country and nation. National spirit centered on patriotism and the spirit of the times centered on reform and innovation, which comprise the essence of socialist values, provide the impetus for forming common ideals. The concept of socialist honor and dishonor, which represents the foundation of socialist values, provides a way of judging the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the actions of all members of society and provides value standards for making morally sound choices. Each of these four basic elements is influenced by the others and plays a role in the other elements. The four elements therefore form a unified whole that will supply the value orientation required to build socialism with Chinese characteristics and become the common ideological foundation for uniting and mobilizing the entire Party and all the ethnic groups of the country in the effort to develop China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous and strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious.

    It was pointed out at the Seventeenth National Party Congress that “Core socialist values are the manifestation of the essential nature of socialist ideology.” This thesis is a profound revelation of the position and role of core socialist values. A system of core socialist values occupies a central position in socialist ideology and comprises its most important component, provides the essence of the value of the socialist system and is a concentrated manifestation of the basic interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. In terms of the economic system, the socialist market economy under socialism with Chinese characteristics is supported and developed, the basic economic system in which the public sector of the economy is the dominant sector while the private sector is also allowed to develop is upheld and improved, and the distribution system in which the main form of distribution according to work performed is complemented by other forms of distribution is upheld and improved. In terms of political system, the leadership of the Communist Party, the people as masters of the country and rule by law form an organic whole, and the system of people’s congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, the system of autonomy for ethnic minority regions and the system of local autonomy are upheld and improved. These are all fundamental systems in Chinese socialism. Core socialist values represent the inherent spiritual soul of the socialist system that permeates all aspects of the economy, politics, culture and society. These values provide the ideological foundation for the development and improvement of socialism with Chinese characteristics and guide the entire Party and all the ethnic groups of the country in making bold progress on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

  Core Socialist Values Comprise the Spiritual Banner for Socialist China

    The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, a broad highway that leads to strength and prosperity for the country, vigorous development for the nation, happiness for the people and harmony in society, is the choice of history, the choice of the people and the choice of the times. The achievements of the country since the founding of New China, in particular since the institution of the reform and opening up policy, have caught the attention of the world. The way forward has not always been smooth sailing, however, because the country has had to deal with a variety of dangers along the way. In both good times and bad, the great theoretical strength, spiritual strength and moral strength of the core socialist values have brought the people together, called on the people and encouraged the people as the guiding light showing the way forward for all the ethnic groups of the country. Reform and development efforts have now entered a critical stage. Profound changes are taking place in the economic system, profound shifts are taking place in the structure of society, profound adjustments are taking place in the pattern of interests in the country, and profound changes are taking place in thinking and concepts as the ideology and culture of Chinese society become more diverse and varied. This has resulted in a pressing need for the formation of ideas and views that are as widely held in society as possible to bring together all forces in society. By clearly calling for the development of a system of core socialist values that will distinctively serve as the spiritual banner for socialist China, the CPC means to declare that the core components of the ideology of Chinese socialism cannot be stirred, and more clearly reveals and establishes the cornerstone and support of the ideology of Chinese socialism and the value system. A system of core socialist values will not only play a role in all aspects of economic, political, cultural and social activities, but also exert a profound influence on the world view, outlook on life and value concepts of all members of society. It will also be a strong force for cohesion, have widespread appeal and provide an important ideological guarantee and powerful spiritual impetus for scientific development and social harmony.

    The system of core socialist values, an important manifestation of fine Chinese culture under the conditions of the new era, will form the core of the soft power of the country’s culture. To a large extent, the soft power of culture is a manifestation of the cohesiveness of a nation, and this cohesiveness mainly comes from the people’s recognition of core values. The world today is undergoing extensive and profound changes. As the world becomes more multi-polar, the economies of the world more globalized, and the pace of exchange, merging and interaction among different ideologies and cultures of the world more accelerated, the strategic position of the soft power of culture has become more apparent in the competition among countries for overall strength, and the role of core values in the lifeline of social development has become more obvious. Developing a system of core socialist values will provide important guidelines for further consolidating and strengthening socialist ideology, and will define the orientation of efforts to pass on and promote fine Chinese culture, as well as aid in efforts to gain the initiative, the lead and the right to speak in the ideological field and aid in efforts to strengthen the cohesiveness and creativity of the Chinese nation, thus expanding the impact of Chinese culture.

    The system of core socialist values has demonstrated great vitality in actual practice and the core values have become widely recognized among the people throughout the country. The international situation has undergone great changes since the country first instituted the reform and opening up policy and the task of reform is daunting. The CPC and Chinese people have met and overcome severe tests and challenges, the likes of which have rarely been seen in the past. We have calmly handled a number of international emergencies related to the country’s sovereignty and security and been victorious in the face of difficulties and dangers in the fields of politics, economics and society and from the natural world. The year 2008 in particular stood out in this regard. Under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC, the Party and all the ethnic groups of the country worked together with one heart and one mind to boldly overcome the severe disaster brought on by low temperature, freezing rain and heavy snow that hit parts of southern China and the effects of the disastrously strong earthquake that hit Wenchuan, Sichuan, successfully hosted the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, achieved complete success in the manned space flight of Shenzhou 7, and calmly responded to the impact of the international financial crisis. These achievements have demonstrated the great strength of the Party and the people, the great strength of the reform and opening up policy and socialism with Chinese characteristics. They represent core socialist values in action and they have enriched the system of core socialist values. The facts show that core socialist values have permeated the very heart and soul of the Chinese nation, become part of the everyday lives of the Chinese people today, been incorporated in the socialist system and have an infinite capacity to drive the Chinese people to achieve greater and greater heights.

  Core Socialist Values Represent an Important Tool for Guiding Public Opinion

    Firmly instilling the system of core socialist values among all the people has a bearing on the long-term development of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We should thoroughly study and implement the guidelines set out at the Seventeenth National Party Congress, greatly strengthen efforts to develop the system of core socialist values, use the latest results of efforts to tailor Marxism to suit conditions in China to arm the Party, educate the people, improve ideological and moral education, truly incorporate the system of core socialist values into the entire process of the nation’s education and efforts to build spiritual civilization and implement core socialist values in all aspects of socialist modernization. In addition, we should continue to use the system of core socialist values to guide public opinion. We should respect differences and accept diversity while working to combat the impact of all types of erroneous and decadent ideas so that the overwhelming majority of the people gain a profound understanding and conscientious recognition of this value system and it truly becomes the main theme in the spiritual life of society.

    January 15, 2009, people from the Theoretical Bureau and Bureau of Publicity and Education of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee present copies of Textbook for Studying the Theoretical System for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Textbook for Studying the System of Core Socialist Values to Beijing residents and university teachers and students.

    Some people in recent years have expressed the opinion that Western concepts of freedom, democracy and human rights have become “universally accepted” in an attempt to substitute a Western-style political system for leadership by the CPC and the socialist system. Such ideas cannot withstand theoretical scrutiny and would have dire consequences if actually implemented. Social being determines social consciousness. Human society is constantly developing and relationships in society are constantly changing. As relationships in society change, value concepts also change. Because different elements in society occupy differing positions in society and have differing requirements, the value of the same thing is different for different elements, and the value judgment of a certain sector of society for the same thing will vary with circumstances. Therefore, a value concept is specific to a particular circumstance. In fact, value concepts that are applicable to all elements of society, at all times and in all places, that do not change with the circumstances, that are not dependent on time and space and that never change do not exist. Naturally, we all live on the same planet, so in balancing the interests of humankind and nature, individuals and society, and among individuals, everyone faces the same or similar issues, resulting in people having certain common needs and seeking certain common values. In particular, in areas where there are many common interests, such as environmental protection, prevention and relief of natural calamities, sanitation and epidemic prevention, crime prevention and athletic competition, it is relatively easy to find common values. These value pursuits and common values, however, are relative, not absolute. In areas where there are a great number of conflicts of interest, there are relatively few common values. In terms of core value systems, fundamental differences are particularly pronounced. We must look for common ground in values and actively study and learn from the achievements of all the advanced civilizations of the world to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, we must look at the fundamental differences in the core value systems of different societies and absolutely avoid simply copying the core value concepts of Western countries.

    Freedom, democracy and human rights are the common creations of human civilization. The value concepts of freedom, democracy and human rights, however, have been gradually developed as society has progressed and have had different meanings at different stages of history. The actual form and means for manifesting freedom, democracy and human rights also vary from country to country and from one stage of development to another. There is no global standard for a development path or development model, nor is there a development path or model that is fixed and unchanging. We definitely cannot copy or adopt a model employed by a Western country. We must develop democracy based on conditions in China, constantly promote internal efforts to improve and develop the socialist political system, promote overall economic, social and personal development and follow the development path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. As Comrade Deng Xiaoping emphatically stated, “In promoting democracy, we must strictly differentiate between socialist democracy on the one hand and bourgeois and individualist democracy on the other.” “The democracy in capitalist societies is bourgeois democracy – in fact, it is the democracy of monopoly capitalists. It is no more than a system of multiparty elections, separation of judicial, executive and legislative powers and a bicameral legislature. Ours is the system of the people's congresses and people's democracy under the leadership of the Communist Party; we cannot adopt the practice of the West.”

    Following the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, the CPC led all the ethnic groups of the country in integrating the basic theory of Marxism with specific conditions in China and the characteristics of the times, gradually forming the political development path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. This means that the leadership of the Communist Party, the people as masters of the country and rule by law form an organic whole, the system of the people’s congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, the system of autonomy for ethnic minority regions and the system of local autonomy are upheld and improved, and constant internal efforts are made to improve and develop the socialist political system. This organic whole plus the four systems form the system that is most suitable for conditions in China and that can best coalesce the will and strength of the 1.3 billion Chinese people in a concentrated manifestation of the characteristics and advantages of Chinese socialism. 

    We must recognize that the world is complex and varied. Due to the fact that each country has its own historical background, social system, development level, cultural traditions and value concepts, there cannot be and should not be only one kind of civilization, one type of social system, one development model and one set of value concepts in the world. A basic characteristic of human society is the diversity of civilizations, which drives the progress of human civilization. We respect the diversity of the world and actively work to study and learn from the advances of the civilizations of all countries in the world.

    Developing a system of core socialist values is an important and practical topic as well as a long-term historical task. We must gain a thorough understanding of the full meaning and basic requirements of the system of core socialist values in order to better lead the cadres and ordinary people of the country in resolutely holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics without wavering, continuing on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics without wavering, adhering to the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics without wavering and working to create even better prospects for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

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