Work for Thriving Development of Philosophy and the Social Sciences at This New Historical Starting Point (Extract)

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-19 23:30
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    The country has now witnessed 60 years of development since the founding of New China, especially since the institution of the reform and opening up policy, and is now standing at the new historical starting point. We are now being presented with extremely advantageous conditions for developing philosophy and the social sciences. The high value placed on philosophy and the social sciences and the strong leadership provided by the CPC Central Committee with Hu Jintao as General Secretary constitute a fundamental guarantee for their development. The ideology and theories of the Party are constantly adapting to suit the times, pointing out the orientation and defining new tasks for the development of philosophy and the social sciences. Tremendous achievements and successes have been made in China’s economic and social development since the institution of the reform and opening up policy, providing a firm material base and ideological source for the development of philosophy and the social sciences. The concern and support of the entire Party and all of society for philosophy and the social sciences have created an excellent atmosphere in society for their development.

    At the same time, we should note that the world is going through extensive and profound changes while China is going through extensive and profound shifts and reforms. Numerous new characteristics are emerging in both the international and domestic situations and philosophy and the social sciences are dealing with many new situations and issues. For one, there has been an obvious increase in factors threatening stability, predictability and security in the international situation. Strategic competition in the international arena has become more intense, regional conflicts and hotspot issues are cropping up one after another, non-traditional threats to security, such as financial crises, terrorism, environmental degradation and epidemic diseases, are constantly emerging and the number of various types of uncertain factors and potential risks has increased greatly. The profound changes taking place in international politics and economic development demand our close observation and thorough study. Two, there is an increasing amount of all types of ideological and cultural exchange, blending and clash taking place in the international community. As countries become more and more dependent on each other, the intermixing and clashing of ideologies and cultures is taking place on a wider scale and at a deeper level. This makes it more conducive for us to study the beneficial results of the progress of civilization in the world. On the other hand, it means that we will be facing the pressure presented by the advantages of Western countries in spreading their economies, technologies and cultures for a long time to come. The struggle of infiltration and anti-infiltration in the area of ideology continues to be extremely intense and complex, and the effort to safeguard China’s cultural and ideological security is facing new challenges. Three, there is growing multipolarization, diversification and change in ideology taking place in Chinese society. The profound transformation taking place in the economic system, the profound changes taking place in the structure of society and the profound adjustments taking place in the pattern of interests have brought about profound changes in ideological concepts, increasingly dynamic ideology and ideas in society and an obvious increase in the independence, selectiveness, changeability and differences in the ideologies of individuals. While progress has been made in consolidating mainstream ideology and public opinion, all types of non-Marxist ideological concepts have been emerging and public opinions that affect social harmony and stability have occasionally appeared, making the task of guiding and integrating diverse views in society more difficult and complex. Four, the Internet has become more and more popular as people take more and more advantage of the multimedia and data processing capacity of computers. As more and more people are able to take advantage of Internet technology, the online community has grown rapidly. The Internet allows interaction, instant transmission of information and sharing of data among users, resulting in greater and greater online multimedia capability. The growth of Internet use has led to greater and greater use of computers in all other areas and the emergence of “digital life” has become a development trend in modern society. How to make good use of, vigorously develop and scientifically manage the Internet has become a major and pressing issue. 

    The international community has been paying extra close attention to China’s response to the financial crisis and studying the system advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics, resulting in more and more extensive understanding and recognition of China’s development model and development path. All this presents excellent opportunities for us to carefully study and interpret the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, carefully study and interpret the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and carefully study and interpret the system of core socialist values. The personnel working on the front line of philosophy and the social sciences need to strengthen their sense of responsibility and mission, ensure that they maintain a correct orientation, stand for fine traditions, continue working for reform and innovation and continue to work for the thriving development of philosophy and the social sciences so they can do even more in service to the causes of the Party and the people.   

    First, we must continue to carefully study the latest results of the effort to adapt Marxism to conditions in China so we can consolidate the common ideological base for uniting the whole Party and all the ethnic groups of the country. The latest results of the effort to adapt Marxism to conditions in China represent the Party’s most valuable political and intellectual treasure, so personnel in the fields of philosophy and the social sciences must view it as their most important task to carefully study and interpret the latest results of the effort to adapt Marxism to conditions in China. First of all, we must tightly focus on major theoretical and practical issues such as what Marxism is and how to approach Marxism, what socialism is and how to build socialism, what kind of party we want to develop and how to develop the party, what kind of development we should pursue and how to develop. We must carefully study the historical position and guiding significance of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, publicize and explain the new ideological views and theses in the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and encourage the many cadres in the country to be more conscientious and resolute in following the banner, path and theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Two, we must focus on the current study activity throughout the Party on how to apply the Scientific Outlook on Development in actual practice, carefully study the historical position, scientific content, intellectual essence and basic requirements of the Scientific Outlook on Development and direct the development initiative of all of society toward scientific development. Three, we must closely relate the history of the CPC and the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics to a careful study of the historical course of integrating Marxism with the actual practice of Chinese revolution, construction and reform and to a study of the historical rules and great significance of the tailoring of Marxism to suit conditions in China. This will help us to become more conscientious in the effort to adopt Marxism to suit conditions in China and keep up with the times. We must closely integrate theoretical research with efforts to popularize Marxism, constantly work to put the Party’s latest theoretical innovations into practice in lower level organizations and among the people and constantly work to use scientific theories to arm our thinking, guide our practice and promote our work.    

    Second, we must devote more effort to study of the international financial crisis and submit more advice and proposals for the Party and government on how to appropriately deal with the crisis. The current international financial crisis comes at a bad time for China, when the country is at a crucial point in efforts to transform its development pattern and make adjustments in its economic structure, and a complex interaction is taking place between new challenges and existing issues. We must make good use of the unique advantages of philosophy and the social sciences in providing intellectual support for resisting the impact of the international financial crisis and for ensuring continued stable and rapid Chinese economic development. First of all, we need to thoroughly study the causes and trend of development for the international financial crisis, thoroughly study the basic situation for the expansion and spread, evolutionary course and long-term development trend of the international financial crisis, as well as the impact on China’s economic and social development, and help people strengthen their confidence and courage to turn challenges into opportunities and pull together to overcome difficulties. Two, we must view the work of working out countermeasures for the international financial crisis as a pressing task. We need to thoroughly study issues such as how to strengthen and improve macroeconomic regulation, how to expand domestic consumption, particularly consumer spending, how to transform the development pattern and accelerate strategic adjustments in the economic structure, how to deepen reform and open wider to the outside world, how to improve our ability for independent innovation and develop a national innovation system and how to improve people’s lives and promote greater harmony in society, centered around the major resolution and approach to “ensure growth, ensure improved lives for the people and ensure stability.” This will help us better promote sound and rapid economic and social development. Three, we need to thoroughly study the profound impact of the international financial crisis on the global economy and political situation, study how to make good use of the constructive role of China in promoting global economic stability and study how to reform the international financial system, strengthen financial oversight, develop a new financial order that is fair, just, inclusive and orderly, and promote the formation of an international environment conducive to China’s reform and development so that China occupies a more advantageous position in the process of global economic recovery. 

    The city of Shanghai held a “Popularize Social Scientific Knowledge Week” of activities with the theme of “focus on the World Expo, serve the World Expo, participate in the World Expo.” During the week, experts from more than 70 associations in the Shanghai social science system went out into communities in the city to give residents expert advice and information concerning the government’s policies on the people’s well-being, common knowledge about the social sciences, home tutoring and employment guidance. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Pei Xin

    Third, we need to devote a great deal of energy on studying the historical course of and historical lessons learned during the great course of the 60 years since the founding of New China, particularly the 30 years since the institution of the reform and opening up policy. We need to strengthen the faith and confidence of the many cadres in the country in following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CPC has gathered a wide array of experience in the process of leading the people in carrying out socialist revolution, construction and reform during the last 60 years since the founding of New China. Personnel on the front line of philosophy and the social sciences should thoroughly study and interpret this experience, draw wisdom from it and identify its general rules to promote the theoretical and practical development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. First of all, we should study and analyze how history and the people chose Marxism, chose the CPC and chose the socialist road, study the great significance of the Party leading the people in establishing the socialist system, study the brilliant course of the Party applying Marxism to conditions in modern China as it worked out a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, all tied to the great historical course of the country since the founding of New China 60 years ago. We must help people to fully understand that only socialism can save China and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China, and that the CPC is always the strong leadership core for progress in all our endeavors. Two, we must study and analyze the difficult course and great successes of the Party’s efforts to implement the reform and opening up policy, study and analyze how reform and opening up have promoted China’s development, promoted the development of socialism and promoted the development of Marxism, and study and analyze the basic requirements for continuing to carry out reform and opening up, all tied to the valuable experience gained from 30 years of implementing the reform and opening up policy as identified at the Party’s Seventeenth National Congress. This experience was summed up as the ten principles followed during the course of implementing the reform and opening up policy. One, adapting Marxism to suit conditions in China while adhering to its basic tenets. Two, adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles (i.e., keep to the socialist road and uphold the people’s democratic dictatorship, leadership of the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought) while implementing the reform and opening up policy. Three, respecting the people’s pioneering initiative while strengthening and improving the Party’s leadership. Four, adhering to the basic system of socialism while developing the market economy. Five, making changes of the economic base while carrying out reform of the superstructure. Six, developing the productive forces while at the same time raising the overall cultural, intellectual and ideological standards of the nation. Seven, increasing productivity while at the same time promoting fairness in society. Eight, relying on our own resources to promote development while also participating in economic globalization. Nine, promoting reform and development while also taking into consideration social stability. Ten, advancing the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics while carrying forward the great new undertaking to build the Party. We must ensure that people fully realize that the decision to carry out reform and opening up was crucial in determining the fate of modern China, and that the orientation and approach to reform and opening up are entirely correct. Three, we must combine the study of history and our historical experiences with the study and interpretation of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, with the study and interpretation of the Party’s line, principles and policies, with the study and interpretation of the overall pattern of socialism with Chinese characteristics and with the study and interpretation of the great new undertaking to build the Party so we can constantly deepen our understanding of the general rules for the Party in running the country, the general rules for building socialism and the general rules for the development of human society. We must make people fully aware that there is no one development path and development model that will work everywhere in the world, and that there is no reason why the development path and development model cannot be revised as needed. For this reason, we cannot continue down the same old narrow, closed path any more; nor can we take the disastrous move of changing directions all together. We must unswervingly take the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.  

    Fourth, we should concentrate on the study of major practical issues so we can make our efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects more effective and accelerate our historical task of carrying out socialist modernization. General Secretary Hu Jintao has often emphasized that personnel in philosophy and the social sciences should take the study of major practical issues as the main thrust of their research efforts. We must meet the demands presented by the situation in development and actual practice, carefully study the major issues in the implementation of the reform and opening up policy and modernization, and constantly produce research results of value. One, we must carefully study and interpret the facts that the basic reality that China is still in the primary stage of socialism has not changed, that Chinese society’s principal contradiction has not changed, and that the period of important strategic opportunities the country is in has not changed, all tied to attaining the objectives of the effort to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We must ensure that people properly understand the characteristics of the new stage of Chinese economic and social development, continue to follow the Party’s basic theories, basic line, basic program and basic lessons so they can continue freeing their minds, continue carrying out the reform and opening up policy, promote scientific development and promote social harmony. Two, we must carefully study how to apply the Scientific Outlook on Development, continue practicing the basic economic system in the primary stage of socialism and further improve the socialist market economic system in connection with maintaining sound and rapid economic development. We should study how to follow the new road to industrialization with Chinese characteristics, follow the path to agriculture modernization with Chinese characteristics and follow the civilized development path of developing production, prospering the people and ensuring the health of the ecological environment, concentrating on promoting improvement and upgrading of the industrial structure, resolving the problems of agriculture, the countryside and farmers, and improving efforts to protect the environment and preserve the ecology. Three, we must carefully study how to combine leadership of the Party, the people as masters of the country and the rule of law, deepen reform of the political structure, continue and improve the system of people’s congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, the system of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities and the system of local autonomy, and unswervingly follow the political development path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, all tied to the expansion of socialist democracy, the development of China into a socialist country under the rule of law and the development of socialist political civilization. Four, we need to carefully study how to preserve and consolidate the guiding position of Marxism in the area of ideology, focusing on developing the system of core socialist values, fortifying and consolidating mainstream ideological opinions, making innovations in culture, developing cultural programs and the culture industry, and enhancing the country’s cultural soft power, all tied to the thriving of a socialist culture and a new upsurge in developing it. Five, we need to carefully study how to accelerate social progress, focusing on improving people’s lives, concentrating on resolution of issues affecting the immediate interests of the people such as education, employment, income distribution, the social safety net, poverty alleviation, health care and occupational safety, and how to ensure that all the people benefit from the fruits of reform and development in connection with efforts to develop a harmonious socialist society. Six, we need to carefully study how to make general progress in improving Party’s ideology, organization, style of work, rules, and efforts to fight corruption and ensure clean government, mainly through improving the Party’s ability to govern and enhancing its vanguard nature, all tied to the self-improvement of the Party in the spirit of reform and innovation, so that the CPC always remains the strong leadership core for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.   

    Fifth, we need to carefully study the system of core socialist values to constantly strengthen the spirit of unity for progress in society. The system of core socialist values is a manifestation of the essence of socialist ideology. We are engaged in an ideological struggle with all types of hostile forces, the essence of which is a competition between the system of socialist values and the system of capitalist values. Personnel working on the front line of philosophy and the social sciences should view the system of core socialist values as a major topic, carefully study it and constantly improve the understanding of it. First of all, we need to carefully study the major significance, the intention and extension and the requirements for putting it into practice of the system of core socialist values, summarize and refine the view presented by the system of core socialist values and constantly use the ideological concepts required by the times to enrich and replenish the system of core socialist values. Two, we need to carefully study how to incorporate the system of core socialist values into the national education system, make it a part of our theoretical armor, media and information campaigns, efforts to improve the intellectual lives of the people, routine ideological and political education, and production of cultural goods and services, as well as part of the effort to improve institutions and administration of society, so that all the people of the country become engaged in a conscious effort to accomplish it. Three, we should work out an effective way to use the system of core socialist values to sway public opinion, respecting differences and tolerating a range of viewpoints while strongly combating the impact of all types of erroneous and decadent ideologies, and striving to hold the middle ground and find consensus among the diversity of opinions, so that we can consolidate and strengthen a mainstream public attitude that is positive, healthy and optimistic. 

    For the present, we need to focus on answering the six “why” questions. The first question is: “Why must we maintain the guiding position of Marxism in the area of ideology rather than follow a number of different ideologies?” The second is: “Why can only socialism save China and only socialism with Chinese characteristics promote China’s development rather than democratic socialism or capitalism?” The third is: “Why must we continue to practice the system of people’s congresses rather than the separation of powers?” The fourth is: “Why must we continue to practice the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC rather than practicing a Western-style multi-party system?” The fifth is: “Why must we continue to practice the basic economic system of a dominant public sector supplemented by a developing private sector rather than carrying out privatization or relying solely on the public sector? The sixth question is: “Why must we unswervingly carry out reform and opening up rather than going back to our old ways?” In other words, we need to clarify what we must do, and more importantly, what we must not do, and strengthen the belief in Marxism, faith in socialism with Chinese characteristics, confidence in the reform and opening up policy and modernization, and trust in the Party and government among the  cadres and the masses of the country.  

    Sixth, we need to really work hard on the study and improvement project for Marxism, and make full use of its role in showing the way and providing the drive for the thriving development of philosophy and the social sciences. Carrying out the study and improvement project for Marxism was a major decision of the CPC Central Committee taking into consideration conditions in the new era from the high strategic view of the overall development of the causes of the Party and state and from the high strategic view of constantly adapting Marxism to conditions in China and to the times. The project has run for 5 years now and has made some important achievements in this stage in effectively promoting application of the latest results in the effort to tailor Marxism to conditions in China to arming the entire Party and educating the people, effectively promoting the incorporation of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics in teaching materials, in the classroom and in the minds of students, effectively promoting improvement in the system of core socialist values and effectively uniting and bringing together all the personnel working in the field of philosophy and the social sciences, creating extensive social impact. The project is now in the crucial stage of producing results, so we must proceed in all aspects of the work, closely focusing efforts on attainment of the objectives set by the Central Committee. First of all, we need to carefully compile teaching materials as an outcome of the project. We need to improve organization and coordination to accelerate the compilation of teaching materials without sacrificing quality, organize the publication, use and publicity work for teaching materials, and make the teaching materials the designated materials for education in basic and specialized courses in higher education throughout the country. Two, we need to strengthen and improve ideological and political theory classes in higher education. We need to improve and enrich courses and teaching materials for ideological and political theory classes to make ideological and political theory classes more tightly focused and practical, with the latest results in the effort to tailor Marxism to conditions in China as the core content. We need to improve the training of teachers for ideological and political theory classes and actively work to improve teaching methods to constantly raise the level of instruction for ideological and political theory classes. Three, we need to put a great deal of effort into translating and compiling classic Marxist works and studying basic Marxist viewpoints to produce the 10-volume set of the Selected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels and the 5-volume set of Selected Essays of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to provide theoretical personnel and Party and government cadres with more accurate texts to use in their careful study of the basic tenets of Marxism. Four, we need to improve training for personnel working in philosophy and the social sciences. We must work hard to produce a group of Marxist theoreticians with extensive influence at home and abroad, a group of leading personnel in every field and every profession and a group of competent and morally and politically sound backup personnel dedicated to the field of philosophy and the social sciences using this project as a vehicle and making use of the subject study, teaching materials compilation, surveys and investigations on national conditions, and training and continuing education. This project should be viewed as a bridge or hub linking the Party and government with experts and scholars in the field of philosophy and the social sciences that attracts the active participation of large numbers of theoretical personnel and all sectors of society.

(From Qiushi in Chinese No.13 2009)


Note:Author: Member of the Political Bureau, secretary of the Secretariat and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee

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