Major Relationships in Cultural Development:Working Out a Cultural Development Path with Chinese Characteristics (Extract)

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 10:22
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 The CPC Central Committee held a study and discussion session in February this year for major provincial and ministerial level leading cadres on how to apply the Scientific Outlook on Development to accelerate transformation of the pattern of economic development. General Secretary Hu Jintao delivered a major address at the session thoroughly explaining the importance and urgency of accelerating transformation of the pattern of economic development and defined eight key tasks for this purpose. In his remarks he stressed that developing the culture industry helps improve the economic structure and industrial structure, helps promote upgrading of the structure of consumer spending and helps create employment and business startup opportunities. While working hard to develop non-profit cultural programs, he said that we must balance economic and social benefits, and consider satisfying the people’s growing demand for more diverse, multi-level and varied cultural programs as an important part of the effort to expand domestic demand to deepen the reform of the culture system and accelerate development of the culture industry. Premier Wen Jiabao, in this year’s government report, called for a great effort to step up cultural development as an important focus in the eight key tasks, stressing that we must continue to carry out reform of the culture system, support non-profit cultural programs, develop the culture industry, encourage cultural innovation, foster the development of leading culture industries and produce more healthy and uplifting cultural products to satisfy the people’s diverse cultural needs. General Secretary Hu Jintao’s major speech and Premier Wen Jiabao’s government report further clarified the important position and role of cultural development in the overall cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and pointed out that devoting a great deal of effort to developing the culture industry is an important means and an important aspect of accelerating transformation of the pattern of economic development, showing that the CPC has strengthened its understanding of how to develop the culture industry. This represents a giant boost for the publicity, ideology and culture front and will make the orientation clearer for reform of the culture system and acceleration of the development of cultural programs and the culture industry. We must carefully study the guidelines contained in these speeches to gain a clear understanding so we can truly implement them in our routine work to bring cultural development up to a new level. 

 The CPC Central Committee with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary has been greatly concerned about cultural development since the Sixteenth National Party Congress and has made a number of major policy decisions and arrangements concerning deepening the reform of the culture system and developing cultural programs and the culture industry. The Seventeenth National Party Congress set off a new tide of development of socialist culture from the lofty perspective of the overall arrangements known as “four unified facets” for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promoted the strategic task of strongly promoting the development and thriving of socialist culture. All localities and departments have diligently implemented the policy decisions and arrangements of the central government, emancipated their minds, kept up with the times, tried new ways and made innovations, and constantly looked for new ways and learned from their experience to open new horizons for the reform of the culture system and cultural development. The basic elements have been put into place for a system of public cultural services covering both urban and rural areas and the guarantees for the people’s basic cultural rights and interests have been strengthened. Decisive progress has been made in the restructuring of profit-making state-owned cultural institutions to convert them into enterprises and the vitality and competitiveness of state-owned cultural enterprises have been greatly strengthened. Efforts to make structural adjustments and integration of resources in the cultural industry have been constantly increased, resulting in the formation of a group of state-owned or state-controlled large-scale cultural enterprises that are strong and dynamic. The writers and artists have shown unprecedented high enthusiasm to sing the praises of the times and the people, the drive to innovate and the vigor of creation have grown stronger and a great variety of works that reflect the spirit of the times are being produced. Cultural workers have become considerably more eager and proactive in engaging in reform and development, demonstrating their excellent spirit. You could say that the spring of cultural development has arrived. We must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as a guide, fully implement the Scientific Outlook on Development, diligently carry out the Central Committee’s important principles and policies on cultural development and reform of the culture system, emancipate our minds, change our concepts, be fully aware of the need to support cultural development, look for opportunities for its developments, be aware of the need to reform the culture system and be aware of the need to develop culture. In addition, we must correctly understand and handle certain major relationships in cultural development, maintain the progressive orientation of advanced socialist culture and always bear in mind the reality of the situation, actual life and the people. We need to deepen reform of the culture system, resolve difficult problems in cultural development, improve the pattern of cultural development, constantly work to liberate and develop the cultural productive forces, accelerate the development of cultural programs and culture industry and strive to develop a path of cultural development suitable for socialism with Chinese characteristics, concentrating on promoting the strong development and thriving of socialist culture, with satisfying the growing intellectual, cultural and ideological needs of the people as the basic task, driven by change and innovation and advances in science and technology, with a basic approach of working to develop systems and mechanisms that will promote scientific development of culture and working to raise the overall quality of Chinese cultural workers to ensure success.

  Hu Meiling (first from right), famous Henan Opera performing artist and deputy to the National People’s Congress, performing Henan Opera at a New Year cultural event in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, on February 28, 2010. She believes that cultural development should be aimed at providing a richer spiritual environment for the people. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Zhu Xiang

 First, we must correctly understand and handle the relationship between people’s basic cultural needs and the need for the culture system to be diverse, multi-level and multi-faceted by concentrating on both non-profit cultural programs and profit-making culture industries to satisfy the growing intellectual, cultural and ideological needs of the people to the greatest extent. Satisfying the growing intellectual, cultural and ideological needs of the people is the basic task of cultural development. The cultural needs of both urban and rural residents have mushroomed as the country’s economic development continues at a rapid rate and the people’s standards of living continue to rise, resulting in a fast increase in culture-related consumer spending. In general, the people’s cultural needs can be divided into two parts, the basic cultural needs that are an expression of the people’s cultural rights and interests, and diverse, multi-level and multi-faceted cultural needs. In the current stage, the basic cultural rights mainly consist of reading books and periodicals, listening to the radio and watching television, appreciating public culture and participating in public cultural events. In consideration of past traditions in rural areas, a free movie is shown for rural residents every month, which also belongs in this category. All other forms of cultural needs belong to the second category. Correctly differentiating these two and correctly balancing them helps to define the responsibilities of the government and the function of the market in cultural development and clarify the basic approach to cultural development. We must take a two-pronged approach by concentrating on both non-profit cultural programs and profit-making culture industries and promote the strong development and thriving of socialist culture to satisfy the growing intellectual, cultural and ideological needs of the people to the greatest extent. 

 The people’s basic cultural needs are the basic cultural rights and interests that must be guaranteed under a socialist system. Therefore, the government must take the lead by supporting the development of a system of public cultural services that covers both urban and rural areas and serves all of the people through the public finance, with the non-profit cultural institutions serving as the backbone and the main focus on local communities, especially in the countryside. Basic cultural rights and interests have a public welfare aspect, equality aspect, basic aspect and convenience aspect. The public welfare aspect is the government providing public cultural services for free, below cost or for a very low charge. The equality aspect means that there is no differentiation between men and women, young and old, rich and poor, urban or rural areas, or developed or underdeveloped regions of the country so that all can share equally in public cultural services. The basic aspect lies in the fact that what the government provides is basic cultural services rather than all types of cultural services. The convenience aspect refers to a network of cultural service facilities that ensures there are sites for public cultural activities located within a certain range from any location in the country so that all citizens can enjoy basic cultural services. 

 The focus and most difficult aspect of development of the system of public cultural services lies in rural areas and in urban communities, so efforts need to be concentrated in those areas. For the time being, we need to give priority to cultural development projects that affect the immediate interests of people living in rural areas and urban communities by energetically working on key cultural programs that benefit ordinary people such as efforts to extend radio and television coverage to all rural areas, ensuring universal access to cultural information resources, cultural stations or rooms that serve both urban and rural communities, small rural libraries and rural film shows. We should gradually make entrance free for all public museums, memorial halls, public art galleries, cultural galleries, libraries, youth centers, science and technology museums, folk art galleries and community centers and improve the level of the public services of non-profit public cultural institutions. We need to provide public cultural services for a certain period of time, within a designated scope and directed at a certain segment of the population through government purchase of cultural products, while continuing to work to improve services related to culture, science and public health in rural areas, to improve services related to science and education, culture and sports, the law and public health in urban areas and to develop more local public entertainment and recreation activities to benefit the general public, and constantly work to standardize and diversify the cultural life of the general public.

 The market is mainly responsible for satisfying the diverse, multi-level and multi-faceted cultural needs of the people. Under the socialist market economy of China, the market is becoming more and more prominent in satisfying the personalized cultural consumption and diverse cultural needs of the people. For this reason, we must strongly promote the development of profit-making cultural industries to ensure an even more thriving culture market. Moreover, we must strongly promote cultural creativity and the major culture industries of movie and television program production, publishing and distribution, printing and reproduction, advertisement, performance arts, entertainment, cultural exhibitions, digital content and animation to constantly enhance the overall strength of the country’s culture industry. We need to foster all types of independently operating, independently developing and suitable market entities, which is the foundation of the culture industry. We need to accelerate the development and fostering of a unified, open, competitive and orderly modern cultural market system, develop a market with a full range of cultural products and market for cultural factors and a thriving urban and rural culture market, and foster the development of consumer market for mass culture to better satisfy the people’s intellectual, cultural and ideological needs. We must strongly encourage everyone working in the field of culture to create even more quality and popular products, encourage state-owned or state-controlled culture enterprises to develop markets, control markets and play their role as the dominant entities in the culture system, and encourage non-government culture enterprises to provide a diverse array of cultural products and services and improve their ability to provide such products and services to satisfy the varied, healthy and beneficial cultural needs of different areas, different levels, different communities and different ages.

 Second, we must correctly understand the relationship between the “two natures” and between the “two types of benefit,” and always give first priority to social benefits while closely integrating social and economic benefits. Under China’s socialist market economy, cultural products have an ideological nature in that they can educate people and guide society, and they can also have economic benefits through market transactions and thus have a commodity, industrial and economic nature in realizing reproduction. The ideological nature of cultural products is a special characteristic of such products and their commodity, industrial and economic nature is a general nature of cultural products. Just because cultural products have a general nature as commodities does not mean we can neglect their special ideological nature. And just because cultural products have a special ideological nature does not mean we can rule out their general nature as commodities. Instead, we must combine the two natures. Correctly understanding these “two natures” requires that we must understand and correctly balance the “two types of benefit,” social and economic. Both non-profit cultural programs and profit-making culture industries should fully reflect their education function. Every country, nation and individual should have intellectual, cultural and ideological support, therefore we must take full advantage of the important function of culture in molding character, bringing people together and building confidence and morale. Non-profit cultural programs and profit-making culture industries are only different cultural forms with different means of delivery, but the spirit, or cultural soul, should be the same. In other words, the duty of both of them must be the transmission of advanced socialist culture. Therefore, cultural development must maintain the progressive orientation of advanced socialist culture and give social benefits first priority. Developing non-profit cultural programs means pursuing the greatest social benefits and does not involve industrialization, but services should be improved through an internal guiding and stimulating mechanism. Developing profit-making culture industries means combining social and economic benefits while giving social benefits top priority. Where there is a conflict between the two, economic benefits should give way to social benefits. An important criterion for judging how well the products and services of profit-making culture industries combine the “two types of benefit” is how well they are received by the public and whether or not people will pay money to consume them. The more people buy excellent cultural products, the more people will be educated by them, and the better the economic benefits, the more widespread the social benefits will be. In this sense, if there are no economic benefits, there are also no social benefits. On the other hand, if a cultural product has no social benefits to speak of and does not satisfy the healthy and beneficial cultural needs of the people, it may temporarily produce a small amount of profit due to a defect in some aspect of management. In the end, however, it will gradually fall completely out of favor in the market and there will be no economic benefits to speak of either. Therefore, ensuring that social and economic benefits are complementary, promote each other and are closely integrated is an important condition for the sustainable development of profit-making culture industries. We must encourage profit-making culture enterprises and institutions to make innovations in systems and mechanisms in order to be at once oriented toward the people, toward local communities, toward the countryside and toward the market. They should carefully carry out market surveys to accurately gauge the needs of the people so they can better serve the people in the process of pursuing market share and be more successful in capturing market share in the process of serving the people. Through this process they should work to maximize both social and economic benefits and carefully balance the two types of benefit. All types of evaluation and award mechanisms at every level also need to be further reformed to correct the bad practice of some localities and departments that tend to grant an excessive amount of awards and the problem of cultural products that are only created to win awards without regard to the needs and wishes of the people. Instead they should make whether or not the people like such products, are satisfied with such products, accept such products and recognize such products the ultimate criteria in evaluating them. Following the correct orientation, an objective index for evaluating the impact of cultural products on society should be the scale of their distribution, the number of performances, the box office take and the sales volume so that awards are truly an important general regulatory tool to make cultural products more geared to the needs of the market and the people and act as a catalyst for the production of more cultural products that are evaluated as good and also prove popular with the people. On the other hand, we cannot make awards into a “counter-regulatory director’s baton.”

 Third, we must correctly balance the need to reflect the spirit of the times with the need to support diversity, maintain a progressive orientation of advanced socialist culture and stay close to reality, real life and the people to promote the comprehensive thriving of socialist culture. Upholding the spirit of the times and promoting diversity is an inherent requirement for maintaining a progressive orientation of advanced socialist culture. Upholding the spirit of the times while also promoting diversity is basically in conformity with maintaining an orientation of serving the people and serving socialism and following the principle of “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend.” They are all objective reflections of the natural laws governing socialist cultural development. In upholding the spirit of the times, we must always maintain the orientation of serving the people and serving socialism. And in serving a wide variety of tastes, we must fully adhere to the principle of “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend.” Maintaining an orientation of serving the people and serving socialism and upholding the spirit of the times is an essential requirement of the socialist system for cultural development, a concrete manifestation of the development of socialist intellectual, cultural and ideological civilization and a social responsibility that socialist culture must shoulder. Following the principle of “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend” and promoting diversity is an objective requirement posed by the basic conditions of the country in the primary stage of socialism and is determined by the growing intellectual, cultural and ideological needs of the people for diverse, multi-level, multi-faceted culture. It is also the source of vigor to ensure that social culture experiences thriving development. These two aspects are mutually supporting and complementary. Neither can be neglected and both are united in actual practice in being close to reality, real life and the people. Culture must have profound intellectual, cultural and ideological content in order to educate the people. Chinese culture must reflect the spirit of the nation and the spirit of the times. From the intellectual, cultural and ideological perspective, the most basic aspect of the spirit of the times in contemporary China is the system of core socialist values. From the practical aspect, the most basic aspect is the people of all ethnic groups in the country following the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and working to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation under the leadership of the CPC. We must fully adhere to this great main theme of the times, warmly praise the great achievements made in reform and opening up and in modernization, vigorously sing the greatest song of the times in praise of the Communist Party of China, socialism, the reform and opening up policy, the great motherland and the people of all the ethnic groups in the country, inspire and motivate the CPC and the people of all the ethnic groups in the country to ceaselessly work for new victories in the struggle to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects and further progress for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, we must take into consideration the objective reality of the increasingly rich life of Chinese society and the constantly diversifying intellectual, cultural and ideological needs of the people and diligently adhere to the principle of “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend,” respect differences, allow diversity and give full play to democracy in art and academia while maintaining an orientation of serving the people and serving socialism and upholding the spirit of the times. We must support the free development of different forms and styles in artistic works, a full discussion of different points of view and different schools in art theory, and active innovation to develop different types and forms of business operation in the development of the arts to make the “hundred-flower garden” of socialist culture even more brilliant. In upholding the spirit of the times we must closely integrate ideological content, artistic content and enjoyable content, and make them more appealing and influential rather than becoming divorced from reality and engaging in empty talk. In supporting diversity, we must balance sophistication and the common denominator, balance the need for wide dispersion and the need to raise the level of sophistication, and take into consideration the needs of the majority and those of the minority. Highly refined art forms should also strive to closely adhere to reality, real life and the people, constantly work to expand public acceptance and strive to create works that are both sophisticated and appealing to the general public. Less refined art forms should also have ideological content, strive to be in good taste, be both educational and enjoyable, not lower artistic standards and not be vulgar or kitsch.

 Fourth, we must correctly understand and handle the relationship between reform and innovation and the need to accelerate development, continue to strongly drive development through reform and innovation to inject more vigor into cultural development and constantly work to liberate and develop the cultural productive forces. Promoting the thriving development of culture is the dominant theme in developing socialist culture and reform and innovation provides a powerful drive for accelerating the development of culture. Stronger efforts to reform the cultural system, actively promoting cultural innovation and strong efforts to develop cultural programs and culture industries are urgently needed to fully implement the Scientific Outlook on Development and accelerate transformation of the pattern of economic development, as well as urgently needed to accelerate the self-development of culture, increase the inherent vigor of culture and satisfy the growing intellectual, cultural and ideological needs of the people. In addition, they are urgently needed to adapt to the country’s deepening reforms in all areas and improve the country’s socialist market economic system, urgently needed to keep up with the rapid development of modern IT and the trend toward its wider application and to race to control the high ground in the development of culture, and urgently needed to adapt to the country’s increasing openness and to raise the international impact and competitiveness of Chinese culture. We must constantly work to be more conscientious and firmer about reform and innovation, deepen reform of the culture system, promote innovation in concepts, institutions, mechanisms, content, form, means of transmission, ways of doing business, and science and technology taking into consideration the overall effect on and the lofty strategic perspective of the cause of the CPC and the state in order to inject more vigor and vitality into the development of culture.

 The fundamental key to boosting the scientific development of culture strongly driven by reform and innovation is to continue emancipating our thinking and changing our concepts. Emancipating our thinking is a great way to promote development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Our way of thinking and our concepts represent a master switch. Concepts determine the way we think and our thinking determines our solutions. In the actual work of developing culture we must always completely adhere to the ideological line of the CPC, always work to emancipate our thinking, seek truth from facts and keep up with the times. In addition, we must conscientiously work to free ourselves from the shackles of ideological concepts and mindset in our thinking and understanding that are not conducive to the scientific development of culture, free ourselves from the limits in methods and regulations that are not conducive to the scientific development of culture and free ourselves from the limitations of traditional institutions that are not conducive to the scientific development of culture. We must courageously break away from old rules and corrupt customs and use reform methods to resolve difficult issues in order to constantly strengthen our understanding and ability to carry out reform and innovation and use new concepts compatible with requirements of the Scientific Outlook on Development to guide the actual work of developing culture.

 The focus of boosting the scientific development of culture strongly driven by reform and innovation is to make innovations in institutions and mechanisms. We should follow a guiding policy of handling different situations differently, providing guidance by type, proceeding in an orderly manner and gradually implementing measures to adopt different reform approaches for non-profit cultural programs and profit-making culture industries, and implement measures according to stage and specific conditions bearing in mind actual conditions. The reform policy for non-profit culture institutions, including all institutions that provide public cultural services such as public museums, memorial halls, art museums, cultural centers, libraries, youth centers, science and technology museums and folk art museums, is to increase government investment, transform mechanisms, revitalize and improve services. The government needs to increase funding to ensure that non-profit cultural institutions can cover operating expenses and do not need to generate income themselves, but the internal operating mechanism of such institutions needs to be transformed and their personnel system and income distribution pattern need to be reformed. In addition we need to work to constantly make them more vital and truly improve their ability to serve the public and raise the level of services so they can maximize social benefits. For state-owned profit-making cultural institutions, mainly including publishing houses, Xinhua bookstores, movie studios, television production centers, movie theaters, ordinary art academies and troupes, key news networks, non-current events newspapers and periodicals and profit-making segments that can be separated from mainstream media, the reform policy is to make innovations in their systems, transform their mechanisms, expose them to market forces and make them stronger. The key is to closely concentrate on the key link of transforming these institutions into stock corporations to remodel the players in the culture market and change state-owned profit-making institutions from subsidiary units of administrative organs into independently operating, self-developing, self-innovating and lawfully operating producers of cultural products. During this process, we must strictly ensure that measures are in line with the requirements for a modern corporate structure in improving the corporate management structure and turn state-owned profit-making institutions into true corporations that can be inspected and can not return to their former state. We must resolutely prevent the emergence of administrative organs simply pretending to be companies. We need to transform profit-making units of administrative organs into stockholding companies, establish a modern property system, combine reform and reorganization and put idle state-owned cultural assets to work on the basis of changing enterprises into stock corporations by reforming systems. We need to carry out mergers and reorganization across regions, across industries and across different fields based on capital considerations to effect low-cost expansion and create a group of strong, competitive and influential state-owned or state-controlled cultural enterprises and enterprise groups that will form the guiding force in the culture market and the strategic investors in the culture industry. We need to select a group of large-scale state-owned or state- controlled enterprise groups in key culture industries such as the performance arts and entertainment industry, animation and game industry, media industry, network industry, movie and television industry and publishing industry that are fully reformed, have good growth potential and are competitive for investment and listing on the stock market and make them into excellent, large and strong groups as soon as possible. Where local conditions allow, we should encourage local authorities to attract capital, mainly through government investment and private financing, to develop culture industry investment companies that act as enterprises and explore new financing channels for the development of culture industries. We need to further improve the culture market system, set up a cultural assets evaluation system and trading system for cultural property rights and develop the market for trading in all types of cultural assets centered around trading in copyrights and develop intermediate service organizations such as cultural broking agencies, appraisal and evaluation agencies, risk investment agencies, insurance agencies, guarantor agencies and auction agencies to create good market conditions conducive to making cultural enterprises grow big and strong. In addition, we must correctly handle reform of the small number of cultural organizations that fall between non-profit and profit-making cultural organizations, bearing in mind current conditions in China. These organizations mainly consist of state-supported art and performance venues and troupes that have a strong ethnic flavor and represent the finest the country has to offer. These include art performance venues and troupes that directly belong to the state and some key art performance venues and troupes that feature protected drama types such as Beijing opera and kunqu opera. We must ensure they represent the finest the country has to offer and serve as models and guides. There are also some refined performance groups such as symphony orchestras and ballet groups for which we need to foster the gradual emergence of markets. These cultural institutions are different from ordinary non-profit cultural institutions because they are closely connected to the culture market and to a certain extent are profit-making institutions, but they are not yet ready to face competition in the market so for the time being they are institutions managed as enterprises. The plan for their reform is to continue government support while changing their management structure, making them more competitive in the market and making them stronger. The purpose of government support is to help them become more profitable and stronger. Therefore, these institutions need to reform and make innovations in their internal mechanisms, setting up an income distribution system that links remuneration with the work performed and a personnel system that allows personnel to come and go,both compatible with the development of art. They also need to set up a troupe operation and management mechanism that at the same time puts audiences first, is guided by the market and aims for both social and economic benefits to develop the internal drive for their own development so they can constantly grow stronger as they work harder to please audiences and the market. It should be pointed out that the above cultural organizations are a very small and special group limited to its current members. In carrying out reforms we must strictly delineate, strictly examine and exercise strict control to keep the number of cultural institutions managed as enterprises. We should encourage such institutions with the right conditions to become stockholding companies and urge more and more profit-making cultural institutions to undergo this change. 

 In boosting the scientific development of culture strongly driven by reform and innovation, we must become proficient at closely integrating the carrying on of tradition and innovation. In promoting cultural development, carrying on tradition is the foundation and innovation is the key. If we are not proficient at carrying on tradition, there will be no foundation for innovation, and if we are not good at innovating, traditions will become stagnant. We must carry on and uphold the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation, strengthen education about the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation, strengthen protection for cultural relics and intangible cultural heritage and carefully excavate rich cultural resources from our reserves and give them new content in line with the times so that they have meaning for contemporary society, are in line with modern civilization and continue to show their brilliance under the current historical conditions. We should encourage the protection, carrying on and development of traditional cultural resources that can be turned into an industry, have market potential and have conditions that make them suitable for commercial operations with the support of state policy using the tools of the market and industry. In particular, we should develop related cultural products and service projects in close conjunction with the development of the tourism industry and give them fresh life and energy through industrial development and the market to ensure their sustainable development. We must promote crossover between different traditional art forms and between traditional art forms and modern art forms, and make good use of sound, light and electricity to highlight the presentation of traditional culture to make innovative developments in subjects and genres, styles and presentation methods so that we can adapt to new characteristics in the people’s cultural needs and changes in aesthetic tastes.

 Fifth, we need to correctly understand and handle the relationship between culture and the economy and continuously increase the contribution of the culture industry to accelerating transformation of the pattern of economic development. The overlap between culture and economic concerns is growing. Culture provides a strong intellectual, cultural and ideological drive for economic development. Moreover, the economic function of culture has become considerably stronger and the cultural content of economic activity has been growing, the position and role of culture in the competition for overall national strength is becoming more and more apparent, and the contribution of the culture industry to the promotion of economic growth and transformation of the pattern of economic development is becoming greater and greater. In actual practice, the culture industry has unique advantages and outstanding characteristics. The culture industry can promote improvement in structure, expansion of consumer spending, increase in employment opportunities and leap of development and its development is sustainable. 

 Regardless of whether one looks at total supply or total demand, the development of the culture industry is conducive to improving the economic structure, the industrial structure and the demand structure. It was stressed at the Seventeenth National Party Congress that the current over-reliance for economic growth on secondary industry must be changed so that economic growth relies on an appropriate mixture of primary, secondary and tertiary industry. In other words, in the past we always relied primarily on secondary industry to drive economic growth, but we need to change this so that economic growth is driven by a combination of primary, secondary and tertiary industry, and in particular we need to increase the proportion of reliance on tertiary industry. The culture industry is an important component of a modern service industry in terms of services for daily life and production services. Therefore, developing the culture industry represents the breakthrough points in adjusting the supply structure and may improve the economic structure and industrial structure in terms of total supply. 

 Looking at the industry’s effect on consumer spending in terms of total demand, developing the culture industry helps expand consumer spending and upgrade the structure of consumer spending. It was stressed at the Seventeenth National Party Congress that we need to shift from mainly relying on investment and exports to drive economic growth to relying on a well coordinated mix of consumer spending, investments and exports. In other words, we want a shift from our past primary reliance on investment and exports for economic growth to a balanced “three-pronged” reliance on consumer spending, investments and exports. Looking at the current overall balance of total demand and total supply, many industries are suffering from excess production capacity, but the culture industry is among the very few sunrise industries whose supply is very far from satisfying the demand. The country’s generally backward production capacity is unable to keep up with the growing material and cultural needs of the people, a major problem in today’s society, and this is nowhere more evident than in the field of culture. In particular, the people’s intellectual, cultural and ideological needs have been “mushrooming” since China’s per capita GDP reached US$3,000 and the excellent cultural products and services we have been able to supply have not been enough. Therefore, cultural programs and the culture industry both represent important places to increase consumer spending now when the people have generally reached a moderately prosperous standard of living, and strongly promoting the development of cultural programs and the culture industry is an important focus of efforts to increase consumer spending. 

 Developing the culture industry helps to expand employment and promote business startups. The culture industry puts in intellectual resources and produces intellectual property rights, making it able to create many job opportunities without requiring more factories or the use of more land. Furthermore, the cultural creativity provides an important drive for the development of related industries. Therefore, developing the culture industry helps to resolve the employment problems beyond the industry itself, particularly by effectively easing the employment problems faced by college graduates, and helps to promote innovative development in other areas and other industries enabling even more people to find jobs and start businesses.

 Developing the culture industry helps promote leapfrog development, which is particularly significant for underdeveloped regions of the country. The basic conditions of a region such as the level of industrialization do not particularly matter for development of the culture industry since development of the culture industry does not require support elements and complex technical assistance. The culture industry only requires the ability to attract excellent personnel and good creativity to develop. China’s central and western regions have a rich supply of cultural resources, and all that is required is some initial breakthroughs in developing markets, industrialization and application of science and technology to turn those resources into a source of wealth and stimulate leapfrog development in those areas.

 Development of the culture industry can help ensure sustainable development. The country is now facing more and more restrictions on economic development due to resource, energy and environmental issues. A major characteristic of the culture industry on the other hand is that it does not consume a lot of energy and produces very little pollution, making it an emerging industry that is not greatly affected by resource, energy and environmental issues, the industry that best represents balance between nature and human development and an ideal low-carbon intensity and green segment of the economy. Working to develop the culture industry is an important way of promoting sustainable development. 

 Summing up the above advantages and characteristics, it is entirely appropriate to say that the culture industry is a strategic and leading industry that not only can drive intellectual, cultural and ideological development, ensure proper ideology and provide good cultural conditions, but can also open up new avenues and space for economic development and represents an important means and breakthrough point for transforming the pattern of economic development. Therefore, we need to devote a great deal of energy to development of the culture industry in consideration of the overall strategic need to transform the pattern of economic development and include it in the master plan for economic and social development. As an important emerging strategic industry, the development of the culture industry should be given higher priority on our agenda and stronger measures should be adopted to promote its development. In addition, we need to strongly promote the integration of the culture industry with the tourism, recreation, manufacturing, telecommunications, transportation and real estate industries and make the culture industry a new growth area in China’s national economy and a pillar of China’s modern service industry.

 Sixth, we must correctly understand and handle the relationship between the need to take advantage of the role of government and the need to mobilize the strength of all society to promote development of culture by developing a strong and concerted effort. Launching a new high tide in the development of socialist culture and promoting the development and thriving of socialist culture is a cause of both the Party and the entire society. Government must play a leading role in both the development of non-profit cultural programs and the development of profit-making cultural industries and we must mobilize the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of all sectors of society to form a new situation in which development of culture is driven by investment from a variety of sources in a concerted effort.

 The role of the government in developing culture lies mainly in providing public cultural services and creating an excellent policy environment, legal environment and market environment for the development of all types of culture-related organizations. Specifically, the government needs to fulfill its responsibility to provide public services, regulate policy, manage society and oversee and manage the market. Providing public cultural services means that the government must take responsibility to provide services and to guarantee the people’s basic cultural rights and interests. It is the responsibility of the government to incorporate the development of the system of public cultural services in the master plan for economic and social development, develop the system of public cultural services mainly through investment from the public finance, support non-profit cultural institutions, develop the infrastructure to support culture, purchase cultural supplies for use in public cultural services, develop a sound public financing mechanism to ensure that public cultural institutions and programs are free of charge for the public, and constantly improve the government’s ability to supply cultural products and services. Regulating policy means the government must scientifically formulate plans for cultural development and work out policy measures to guide and promote the development of cultural programs and the culture industry based on careful survey and study. Introduction in recent years of policy measures such as the State Outline Plan for Cultural Development during the Period of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan and the Plan for Promoting Development of the Culture Industry has been effectively guiding and promoting the development of cultural programs and the culture industry. Management of society refers to further developing the management system for culture consisting of the leadership of CPC committees, government management, industry self-regulation and operation of cultural institutions and enterprises in accordance with the law and developing vigorous system and mechanisms for the production and operation of cultural products. In addition, the government is working to separate government administration from enterprise operation, separate government administration from capital operations, separate government administration from public institutions, and separate government administration from market intermediary organizations to promote formation of a management system that has a code of conduct and balanced operation, that is fair and transparent, and that is clean and efficient to create an excellent development environment for all types of cultural-related organizations. Oversight and management of the market means that the responsible government departments must truly take responsibility for overseeing and managing the culture market, strengthen and raise the level of their ability to oversee and manage the culture market and ensure that the culture market thrives and operates in an orderly manner.

 As we constantly strengthened efforts to adjust the structure of the national economy in recent years, the culture industry has become one of the most attractive areas for investment resulting in the public becoming more and more willing to participate and invest in the development of cultural programs and the culture industry, and the role of this participation and investment is becoming more and more evident. We need to meet the requirements of developments in the situation, make good use of this advantageous opportunity, formulate and put into effect improved policy measures and maintain the basic economic system whereby the public sector is dominant and the public and non-public sectors develop side by side. We must unswervingly work to accelerate efforts to make state-owned and state-controlled profit-making culture enterprises grow stronger and encourage and guide the development of all types of culture enterprises in the non-public sector to create a culture industry in which the public sector is dominant and the public and non-public sectors can develop side by side. We need to appropriately lower the threshold for the investment of non-public funds in the culture industry within the scope permitted by the law and government policy in order to attract more non-government funds for the process of invigorating the culture industry and encourage non-state culture enterprises to participate in the conversion of state-owned profit-making cultural enterprises and institutions into stockholding companies. Policy measures for encouraging the public to contribute to public cultural programs need to be improved and further implemented to guide and encourage all sectors of society to invest in public cultural services, the infrastructure for public cultural services and non-profit cultural activities through sponsorships, donations and non-state operation. In summary, we need to promote the formation of a concerted state and non-state effort, a system of cultural institutions in the public sector and the non-public sector and form a powerful force to mount a concerted and dynamic effort to promote the great development and thriving of socialist culture.

 Seventh, we must properly understand and handle the relationship between our national culture and foreign culture, continue to open up to the outside world, work to develop a market for culture that actively absorbs the beneficial portions of foreign culture while maintaining the dominance of national culture and carry out a “go global” strategy for Chinese culture to constantly strengthen the international impact and competitiveness of Chinese culture. The world is becoming more multi-polar, economic globalization is accelerating, China is constantly opening wider to the outside world and exchange, mixing and interaction between Chinese and foreign culture is becoming more frequent. This situation presents excellent opportunities for us to study and draw on the beneficial portions of the culture of other countries, promote Chinese culture “going global” and constantly strengthen the international impact and competitiveness of Chinese culture and at the same time is causing us to face more direct and acute international competition. For this reason, we must properly balance domestic and international market issues and utilize the resources of both. In other words, we must strongly uphold our fine national culture while continuing to open to the outside world, actively working to draw on the fine achievements of other countries, accelerating development of the culture industry, convert the country’s rich store of national cultural resources into an advantage for the culture industry, improve the competitiveness of the country’s cultural products in the market and work hard to develop a market for culture that actively absorbs the beneficial portions of foreign culture while maintaining the dominance of national culture. At the same time, we need to carry out a “go global” strategy for Chinese culture to constantly strengthen the international impact and competitiveness of Chinese culture. We need to constantly make innovations in the channels, means and methods for carrying out the “go global” strategy for Chinese culture and follow a “two-pronged” approach. While continuing to promote cultural exchange guided by the government, we will explore ways to make the cultural industry more market-oriented, more commercial and more industrialized in an effort to develop a group of externally oriented cultural enterprises that are competitive in the international market and create a platform for international cultural exchange with important global impact. We will promote the export of Chinese cultural products and services, mainly through enterprises operating under market principles, to increase the international market share of Chinese cultural products. We are working to create well known cultural brands with our own intellectual property rights and core competitiveness and increase the added value of China’s cultural products. We are encouraging cultural enterprises to establish cultural outlets in other countries through investment, joint ventures and shareholding so that the country’s cultural products can more directly participate in competition in the international market. We need to improve the coverage of our media overseas and accelerate our efforts to develop first-class international media using various languages and with a vast audience, large information content and great impact that cover the world so that our pictures, sound, written work, news, movies and television programs will be widely disseminated and we can constantly expand the international impact of Chinese culture everywhere on Earth.

 Eighth, we must correctly understand and balance efforts to ensure a thriving culture industry and efforts to improve management and constantly work to make management more scientific to ensure the sound and orderly development of culture. The purpose of management is to ensure thriving cultural development. In order to ensure the thriving development of socialist culture, we must always take a “two-pronged” approach by working to ensure the thriving development of culture while also working to improve management. In the process of promoting thriving development, we must constantly work to improve and make innovations in management so we can promote the thriving development of culture through scientific and effective management. We need to develop and improve the management system for socialist culture with Chinese characteristics. While making appropriate use of the tool of ideological education, we need to mainly concentrate on adherence to the law in management and make greater use of a combination of legal, economic, administrative and scientific tools, to improve laws, regulations and systems concerning management work and make it more scientific and effective in order to resolve major problems in management. We need to make more innovations in management concepts, make management more service-oriented and combine management with services. We must continue to use the method of reform to resolve problems that emerge in management to make the system more orderly. We need to make the industry more self-regulating by formulating or improving methods that regulate market entry and exit in terms of requirements for legal person status, employment positions, occupations and products, and by improving all types of industry oversight and administration methods such as the registration and filing system, yearly inspection system and on-the-job training in order to develop a beneficial development mechanism of internal restraints, internal oversight and internal management for cultural enterprises that truly carry out their social responsibilities. We must take further steps to change the way government works. In accordance with the need to promote government rule by law and a more service-oriented government, we must gradually shift the functions of cultural administration departments from mainly running the culture industry to mainly just managing the culture industry, from micro-managing to macro-managing and from mainly being concerned about subsidiary organs to being more concerned about the entire society. We must continue to shift the focus of their work toward managing and serving the culture market and truly ensure that management and responsibilities are commensurate with the principle that the department in charge has the corresponding responsibilities and with the principle of territorial jurisdiction. We must accelerate reform of urban general cultural administration bodies with reform of general law enforcement in the culture market in light of the reform of local government organs to truly streamline the system for enforcing culture-related laws in order to resolve the problems of participation of multiple law enforcement agencies, spreading law enforcement resources too thin and low level of law enforcement and constantly raise the level of management of the culture market. The development and management of the Internet needs to be improved by expanding the responsibilities of the relevant administrative and management departments to newly emerging media such as the Internet and cell phones so they can resolutely eliminate pornographic and vulgar content and clean up the Internet cultural environment. We need to promote chain store operation and brand formation for Internet cafés and work harder to develop venues for public Internet access such as e-reading rooms in schools and public libraries, community activity centers and youth centers. We need to step up law enforcement efforts to protect intellectual property rights in accordance with the law, tirelessly work to curb pornography and illegal activities and constantly work to develop and improve a permanent mechanism for policing the culture market.

 Ninth, we must correctly understand and handle the relationship between culture and science and technology by using the advances in science and technology as a new engine to drive the development of culture and improve the ability to make innovations in and spread culture. In today’s world of highly developed information technology, a country needs to have advanced and powerful tools for spreading its culture to ensure that its ideological culture and value concepts are more widely recognized and ensure that its cultural product can have greater world impact. The very rapid development and spread of digital technology and network technology has greatly improved the ability to make innovations in and spread culture, spawning a group of newly emerging culture industries and new forms of expression. These newly emerging culture industries and new forms of expression are the sectors of the culture industry that are most dynamic and have the most potential and reflect the future development orientation of the culture industry. It could be said that just like innovations in systems and mechanisms, advances in science and technology strongly drive rapid cultural development. We must fully understand the important role of advances in science and technology in cultural development, always stay abreast of new trends in other cultures of the world, take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the extensive development of information technology, accelerate efforts to integrate culture with science and technology to gain the initiative in the development and spread of culture. We must make vigorous use of high and new technology to transform the traditional culture industries, devote more effort to developing cultural creativity and strategic emerging culture industries such as cell phone television, Internet television, e-publishing, and animation and games, promote the creation of new culture industries and explore new fields for developing culture. We should develop a sound culture innovation system that is based on enterprises, guided by market forces and combines production, education and research, and strive to develop a set of core technologies and crucial general technologies based on domestic intellectual property rights to provide strong technical support and drive innovation for the development of the country’s culture. We need to apply high and new technology, especially the latest advances in digital technology and network technology, to accelerate development of a system for spreading culture and a system for making innovations in culture that cover a vast area and make use of advanced technology to strengthen efforts to spread Chinese culture and increase its influence. We must adjust to trends in the development of modern information technology, accelerate efforts to integrate and combine media resources, especially audio/visual resources, and actively promote mergers between local radio and television stations. Traditional media should actively operate emerging media so that traditional media and new emerging media promote each other’s development. We need to actively work to combine the telecommunications networks, cable TV networks and the Internet. On the basis of ensuring effective management of content and services and cultural security, we need to systematically include more radio and television into telecommunication services and vice-versa, and promote the sound development of the culture industry, the telecommunications industry and related service industries.

 Tenth, we must correctly understand and handle the relationship between working to fully mobilize the energies of the many people currently working in the culture industry and the need to foster the development of large numbers of new types of workers for the culture industry such as creative personnel, versatile personnel, outward-looking personnel and scientifically minded personnel to provide the human resources needed to ensure that culture greatly develops and thrives. The key to ensuring that culture develops and thrives is good personnel. The many people who have worked in the culture industry have long played an important role and made important contributions in terms of promoting the development of socialist culture. We must take full advantage of their dedication to their work, their initiative and their creativity in deepening the reform of the culture system and launching a new tide in the development of socialist culture. For the influential older artists who have made outstanding contributions to the development of culture, we should work out a reasonable guarantee mechanism and truly treasure them. We must make appropriate arrangements for persons who become redundant in the process of converting profit-making state cultural institutions to stockholding companies such as sending them to local community centers to serve as cultural adviser so they can continue to exhibit their talents and creativity. We must make everyone aware that “personnel are the most important resource,” make more innovations in the way personnel are trained as required by developments in the situation and find ways to make improvements in the area of personnel training to enhance the quality of personnel training. We need to produce large numbers of leading creators of literature, creators and directors of movie and television programs, creators and directors of drama, and creators of animation, large numbers of creative personnel that are courageous reformers, courageous innovators and pioneers, large numbers of versatile personnel that have skills to work in the field of culture, understand operation and management and have a good background in modern science, large numbers of outward-looking personnel that are competent in foreign languages, understand the regulations of the international culture market and are skilled at opening up the international culture market, and large numbers of scientific and technical personnel that have a strong background in science and technology, can carry out R&D work and are able to be a leader in the fields of culture and science to develop a contingent of personnel for the field of culture that includes a full range of specialties, has a rational mix of specialties, has clear grade levels and are well qualified. We must respect labor, respect knowledge, respect skilled and talented personnel and respect creativity, encourage innovation, be tolerant of failure, develop sound systems and mechanisms conducive to the healthy growth and success of outstanding personnel and maximize the energies, initiative and creativity of all personnel working in the field of culture to create an environment that allows all personnel to make maximum use of all their talents and abilities. We need to mobilize the energies of the people working in cultural institutions and enterprises in the non-public sector by treating them the same as those in the public sector in terms of evaluation for professional titles, improved training and government awards and assistance to create a dynamic situation in which all types of personnel in the field of culture emerge and compete with each other. The many personnel in the field of culture should be worthy of the honorary title of engineer of the human soul, bear their historical duty to spread advanced culture, pay equal attention to ethics and their craft, and be greatly loved by the people.

 Understanding the above ten points represents the valuable lessons learned and spiritual treasure formed through trial and error in actual practice with a high level of support and the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary and embodies the concrete requirements for thoroughly implementing the Scientific Outlook on Development to strengthen cultural development. Understanding these points also reflects the objective rules governing the country’s cultural development and is a crystallization of the hard work and sweat and pooled wisdom of the many people working in the field of culture. We must always uphold and constantly work to develop and improve our understanding and be more conscientious and proactive in promoting the thriving development of socialist culture so that the road of development for socialist culture with Chinese characteristics becomes wider and wider.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 12, 2010)


Note: Author: Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee

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