Cultural Awareness, Cultural Confidence, Cultural Strength

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 13:13
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Cultural Awareness, Cultural Confidence, Cultural Strength

- An Approach for Ensuring the Thriving Development of Socialist Culture with Chinese Characteristics 

Yun Shan

 The CPC Central Committee has put out a number of new and important directives since 2010 concerning cultural development. General Secretary Hu Jintao recently made an important speech at the 22nd group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in which he fully and systematically explained the position and role, guiding ideology and major tasks of cultural reform and development. This is a reflection of an improved understanding of cultural development and improved understanding of how cultural development works on the part of the CPC and points out the orientation and provides guidelines to follow in finding our way on the socialist cultural development road with Chinese characteristics.

 The field of culture has always been extremely important in human society and a subject that people actively explore. As the practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics has become more institutionalized, the Party and all of Chinese society have been paying greater attention to culture and constantly deepening their understanding of culture. I have been going over three issues in my mind following an analysis and review of the results of theory and practice in cultural development over the past few years: cultural awareness, cultural confidence and cultural strength. These three issues involve the questions of from what perspective to understand culture, the correct attitude toward culture and the best approach to developing culture. I believe that taking a correct approach to these three issues is extremely important for establishing goals for cultural development, mapping out a strategy for cultural development, formulating measures for cultural development and promoting the long-term development of socialist culture with Chinese characteristics.

  Pupils of Beijing Zhenzhilu Primary School with actors disguised as characters from “The Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf.” Twelve performances of the children’s play, “The Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf - Memory Thief,” based on the cartoon film “The Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf,” were put on at the China Puppet Theater May 1 through May 3, 2009. In implementing the State Outline Plan for Cultural Development during the period of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, the first five-year development program for special arrangement of cultural development since New China was founded, the cultural departments at all levels have attached great importance to putting people first and deepening reforms and given priority to protecting, realizing and developing the basic cultural rights and interests of the masses of the people and continuously satisfying the daily increasing spiritual and cultural needs of the masses of the people. China’s cultural undertakings have been developing rapidly on an all round way with bright spots appearing frequently and achieved remarkable results. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Kong Hui

 I. Cultural awareness: consciousness, mission and responsibility

 Cultural awareness mainly refers to the awareness and consciousness of culture on the part of a nation and political party, including being fully aware of the position and role of culture in history, correctly understanding how cultural development works and taking the initiative in shouldering the historical responsibility for developing culture. Cultural awareness is an internal spiritual force, a strong orientation and tireless quest for the progress of civilization, and the ideological basis and prerequisite for promoting thriving cultural development. The past and the present both show that a nation’s awareness is first of all awareness of its culture, and a political party’s strength to a large degree is determined by cultural self-awareness. It could be said that whether or not a nation or political party has a high degree of cultural self-awareness not only determines whether the culture will develop and thrive, but also determines the future and fate of that nation or political party.

 The Communist Party of China is a political party with a high degree of cultural self-awareness. Over the past nearly 90 years of struggle, the CPC has always been able to determine the way forward, consolidate resources and promote the development of its cause based on consciousness and awareness of ideology and culture. In both the period of revolutionary war and the period of development and reform, at every critical junction in history, the Party always took into consideration the conditions of the time, put implementation of the CPC’s central task first, held high the banner of advanced culture, clearly defined its outline and objectives for culture and introduced truly effective policies on culture to strongly promote the smooth development of the Party’s cause while realizing the historical progress of culture.

 The CPC, in response to the changed situation in international competition for overall strength and the newly emerging expectations of the people, has been treating cultural development as an important component of the overall arrangements for promoting modernization, giving it a higher priority and emphasizing that development of advanced socialist culture is an important facet of efforts to improve the Party’s governance ability and that developing harmonious culture is an important task in building a harmonious socialist society since the 16th National Party Congress. It was clearly pointed out at the 17th National Party Congress that the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation must be accompanied by thriving Chinese culture and that a more conscious effort must be made and more must be done to take the initiative in promoting the thriving development of culture. To this end, a series of major strategic arrangements were made at the congress to increase the nation’s soft strength in terms of culture and set off a new wave of cultural development to accelerate the pace of cultural reform and development. These provide a powerful ideological guarantee, media support, spiritual drive and cultural conditions for the development of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Looking back over the course of the CPC’s development it can be seen that cultural self-awareness has been an obvious trait and outstanding strength of the Party. In fact, it is precisely because the Party has had a high degree of cultural self-awareness that it has always been able to stay at the forefront of the time, maintain its vitality and vigor and unite and lead all the ethnic groups in the country toward the great rejuvenation of the nation.

 The world is now going through a period of great development, great changes and great shifts, and contemporary China is now working towards new objectives at this new historical starting point. The important position of culture in overall national strength is becoming more and more apparent, its role in economic and social development is constantly expanding and its impact is broader and deeper than ever before. New situations and tasks urgently require us to strengthen cultural awareness, specifically in three areas: awareness of the position of culture, awareness of how cultural development works and awareness of the need to be responsible for cultural development.

 1. We must be more aware of the important position of culture. The very essence of culture is its strong tendency to permeate and persevere. Like the air, it is present at all times and in all places and can profoundly impact the tangible existence and reality and have a profound role in economic and social development and people’s work and lives through intangible awareness and concepts. We have been going through a process of constantly deepening and gradually clarifying our understanding of the position and role of culture since the inception of the reform and opening up policy. We have become more and more aware that culture is an important source of national cohesion and creativity, an important factor in the international competition for national strength and an important support for economic and social development. We should consider culture from a new perspective based on new developments in the times and new practices.

 First, culture is an important tool in promoting social development and cultural development is an important objective in the progress of a society’s civilization. A society with a developed civilization must be a society with both well developed material and cultural wealth, and a strong modern country is one in which economic, political, cultural and social development are all in line. Along with economic development and progress of material civilization, people are more and more coming to the realization that GDP growth and increase in material wealth are not the only or ultimate objectives of social development. In the past, our view of the role of culture was limited to a type of tool or support. Now we see that culture is the accumulation of the achievements of civilization throughout history and a guide for the orientation of social development, resolving the question of “where did human society come from and where is it going?” For the development of human society, culture perhaps means more deep-rooted and higher-level pursuits. The CPC confirmed general arrangements for a four-way approach to modernization through economic, political, cultural and social development and further emphasized that culture is an important component and an important objective in economic and social development after the 16th CPC National Congress. This indicates a great new stride on the part of the CPC in understanding the importance of culture and reflects the CPC’s strategic vision for cultural development.

 Second, culture is the spiritual fulcrum that coalesces the hearts of the people, and culture is also directly connected to the people’s happiness and prosperity. In the past we mostly emphasized the educational and teaching function of culture and did not fully understand the connection between culture and people’s lives. Culture is the spiritual force that maintains social cohesion and harmony so we must undoubtedly place great importance on taking advantage of the educational and guiding role of culture. At the same time, we must recognize that culture is an inherent necessity and common necessity for the spiritual well-being of human society, as well as a necessity that follows a person throughout life. People depend on culture to enlighten their minds, understand society and learn ideological lessons, as well as for gaining physical and mental pleasure, molding temperament and obtaining spiritual satisfaction and support. If a person does not have a full rich spiritual and cultural life that person is not truly living a good life. The requirements of the people for their spiritual and cultural lives have become more apparent and acute as they moved from subsistence living toward moderate prosperity, and the need to solve the problem of the people’s “great thirst for culture” has become more and more pressing. For this reason, culture should be an important part of our efforts to improve the lives of the people, culture is an important indicator that cannot be overlooked in our efforts to ensure a just and fair society, culture should be an important yardstick in discussing indicators of happiness and culture should be an obvious sign in judging the quality of people’s lives. China is now in a period of rapid economic transformation and social change, resulting in some people being confused in their thinking and experiencing mental anguish. For this reason, our work to show humanistic concern, calm their fears and soothe their spirits has become more arduous and complex. While working to “change people through culture” and “educate people through culture,” we must do more to use culture to warm people’s hearts, ease the pressure of life and enrich people’s lives and do more to enrich people’s spiritual world, satisfy the diverse and multi-faceted cultural needs of the people and truly safeguard the basic cultural rights and interests of the masses.

 Third, culture directly contributes to economic growth and plays an important role in raising the quality of economic development. Current global economic development shows that the more developed a country is, the greater the supporting role of the culture industry and the greater the contribution to economic growth are. Consumer spending in the area of culture has been growing by leaps and bounds in China over the past few years, resulting in rapid development of the culture industry. Growth of the industry has averaged over 15% during this period, 6 percentage points higher than GDP growth during the same period, making growth in this area a bright spot in the country’s economic and social development. It could be said that the culture industry has become an important component of China’s national economy that has created vast social wealth. With the advances in science and technology and the mushrooming development of the knowledge-based economy, culture has permeated the whole process of economic development. The cultural resources of history, tradition and customs and habits are more and more becoming the basic resources for economic development, cultural innovations in creation, design and ideas are more and more becoming important support for value creation, and the intangible cultural assets in the form of brand names, image and reputation are more and more becoming key factors in market competition. Economic development can only be raised to a higher level and have the momentum to be sustainable when culture is shown to be a greater force than material and monetary capital and the economy has a greater cultural content. Our active efforts to combat the effects of the international financial crisis have made us take a second look at the special role of culture in promoting transformation of the pattern of economic development. The culture industry consumes little resources, hardly pollutes the environment and has a high science and technology content, making it ideal for a “low-carbon economy,” “green economy” and “sunrise industry.” Strongly promoting development of the culture industry will help improve the economic structure and industrial structure, help encourage higher-end consumer spending, help expand employment and promote business startups, and help economically underdeveloped regions to rapidly catch up with other regions. In the past we often said that economic development depends first of all on reform and second on science and technology, but now it seems we need to add one more condition, that of culture. Placing more emphasis on culture in economic development has become an unstoppable trend and the competitiveness generated by the melding of culture and the economy is the most basic, most sustainable and most irreplaceable competitive advantage a country can have. 

 2. We must be more aware of how cultural development works. Culture has characteristics of its own and the development of culture follows culture’s own unique rules. When we speak of cultural awareness we refer not only to great enthusiasm for culture, but also a reasonable understanding of culture, i.e. we must have a scientific understanding of the rules governing cultural development. Otherwise our efforts will be too unfocused and reckless. We should realize that culture is a very complex phenomenon, requiring different forms of analysis at different levels and from different perspectives. In particular, we need to constantly deepen our awareness and understanding from a scientific perspective in terms of the different stages of cultural development, the diversity of the cultural structure and the long-term nature of cultural development.

 First, the culture of any period is a product of history, so the current state of economic and social development must be taken as the base in developing culture. The economic base determines the superstructure. Culture is a reflection of a certain social, political and economic situation, and the economic base and political system affect the orientation and state of cultural development. The development of any culture takes place against a certain temporal background. It is not possible for culture to get ahead of the current stage of history, and culture cannot exist in a vacuum. China is now and will remain in the primary stage of socialism for some time to come, and the main issue in this stage is the backward production facilities of China that cannot keep pace with the growing material and cultural needs of the people. Moreover, underdeveloped areas of the economy, systemic imperfections and uneven development are inevitably restricting and adversely affecting cultural development. We must stay grounded in reality in developing culture, accurately pinpoint the orientation and coordinates of history, fully understand the characteristics of China’s current stage of development, and recognize the complex nature of the current structure and state of Chinese culture to formulate a truly practicable development strategy for culture. In other words, we must not set standards too low and not set unrealistic goals, and not be behind the times or get ahead of the current stage.

 Second, the culture of any period is a pluralistic unity and symbiosis. In promoting cultural development, we must stress guidance and strengthen the mainstream. Culture always presents in a rich and diversified form, but there is always a guiding portion that plays a dominant role. Although the ideology and culture of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism had existed for a long time in feudal Chinese society, Confucianism had been the orthodox culture for a long time. Although many different types and varieties of cultural expression and cultural fashions have emerged in contemporary Western countries, the ideology and culture of the capitalist class with individualism at the core has always been dominant. Many countries in today’s world have been paying more attention to and becoming more conscious about developing their own mainstream culture. It can be seen that it has been common practice for China and other countries since ancient times to develop and strengthen their own mainstream culture. In developing Chinese culture, we must uphold mainstream culture while also promoting diverse culture, constantly consolidate and strengthen the mainstream culture of socialism, establish a guiding culture amidst diverse culture and seek common ground among the different types of culture.

 Third, the culture of any period of history is the result of a constant accumulation and aggregation over time, so in developing culture, we must keep the establishment as the base with stress on development. Culture involves people’s emotional memories, habitual thought patterns and spiritual realizations, touches on people’s cognition of history, conceptual identity and pursuit of ideals. These all require time to sort out, actual practice to temper and a long period of time to develop. Culture is developed in the spiritual realm, which is different from erecting a building or paving a highway, which may only take three to five years to complete. Culture cannot develop in leaps and bounds without a long period of accumulation. Influential classical cultural works and cultural masters of history all emerged and were born during a long process of accumulation and relay of culture, not overnight. People say that if it only takes 6 months to change the political system and 6 years to change the economic system of a country, it takes at least 60 years or longer to change the culture. This is a kind of expression in a graphic manner, but cultural change is certainly a long process. To develop culture, we must have a sense of urgency as well as take a long-term view, have ample patience and persistence, stress development, pay attention to accumulation and make unremitting efforts for a long time to get results. We can never be hesitant or rash or pursue quick achievements. Even more importantly, we must not try to make sudden changes or stage movements to make progress.

 3. We must be more aware of the need to be responsible for cultural development. Responsibility comes from awareness and action reflects awareness. Whether or not a political party takes on the responsibility for cultural development is a reflection of that party’s pursuit of ideals and mental outlook and an important sign of its maturity and vitality. The CPC is a party that has lofty aspirations and a historical mission as well as the governing party of a rapidly rising large Asian country, so in order to run the government and use its power wisely over the long term and lead the people in realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, it must strongly uphold its own cultural ideals, hold high its own cultural banner, establish its own cultural image and truly shoulder its historical responsibility to ensure the thriving development of culture.

 First, we must be more aware of our responsibility to use advanced culture to direct the progress of society. Holding up the banner of advanced culture and using advanced culture to direct the progress of society is an important manifestation of the advanced nature of the CPC. New concepts and awareness have been emerging with the profound changes taking place in China’s economic system, social structure and balance of interests and the increase in the vigorousness of people’s ideological activities. This has injected fresh vigor into the process of social development. At the same time, unitary and diverse elements, traditional and modern elements, advanced and backward elements, domestic and foreign elements are interweaving and influencing each other, resulting in greater diversity and change in the ideas and concepts present in society and greater complexity in trends of thought in society. Maintaining an orientation of progress in advanced culture and promoting the development and strengthening of mainstream culture under these conditions is a major test of the leadership level and governance capacity of the CPC. We must be more aware of being on the forward edge of trends in culture, hold the cutting edge in culture, use advanced culture to guide the thinking prevalent in society, develop a spiritual and cultural high ground to promote and push forward progress in social development.

 Second, we must be more aware of taking responsibility for passing on the best of national culture. The CPC has been nurtured by the best of Chinese national culture and the CPC has always worked to pass on and advocate the best of national culture. A great amount of foreign cultures has been entering China as the country opens wider to the outside world, presenting us both with opportunities to absorb and borrow from the achievements of other civilizations in the world as well as challenges to our national culture. Some people say that in this global generation, national culture could be harmed by an external onslaught as well as by internal degradation and by our own abandonment. Still others say that no matter how great and profound a nation’s culture is, the crucial factor is how much you retain and how much you know about your own culture. The CPC, as the nucleus of the Chinese nation and the party in power working for the country’s prosperity and national rejuvenation, must accept passing on the best of national culture as an unshirkable responsibility with a strong sense of responsibility toward the nation, toward history and toward future generations, and use the best of national culture to nourish the life force of the nation, to stimulate the development of the creative power of the nation, to strengthen the cohesion of the nation and to effectively develop the common spiritual home of the Chinese nation.

 Third, we must be more aware of taking responsibility for satisfying the spiritual and cultural demands of the people and safeguarding the basic cultural rights and interests of the people. The fundamental objective of the CPC is to wholeheartedly serve the people and satisfying the multi-faceted material and cultural demands of the masses is the mission of the CPC in governing the country and an inevitable requirement in the Party’s governance duties. The most important focus of our efforts in developing culture should be the people and enriching their spiritual lives, satisfying their demands and better promoting their development. We must clearly recognize that the demands of the people today in terms of realizing their own cultural rights and interests are becoming higher and higher and that their expectations for a rich spiritual and cultural life are becoming more and more pressing. The CPC must ensure that the Party was established for the public good and administers the government for the benefit of the people. The Party not only has a responsibility to realize and develop the economic rights and interests and political rights and interests of the people, it also has a responsibility to ensure the people’s cultural rights and interests and improve the quality of the cultural life of the entire society so that the light of culture shines on the masses and the people lead an even happier life showered by culture.

 Fourth, we must be more aware of carrying out our responsibility to strengthen the country’s cultural soft power and safeguard the country’s cultural security. The rise of any large country is accompanied not only by a strong economy, but by a thriving culture as well. As the party in power, the CPC must not only promote economic development to make the country strong and prosperous, but also promote the progress of the society’s civilization to develop strong cultural soft power. Some people talk about the issues of “cultural borders,” “cultural territory” and “cultural sovereignty.” What they are actually doing is studying culture as a country’s important strategic resource, which is worth thinking about for us. China is a developing country playing an increasingly important role on the world stage and cultural soft power is a direct and realistic way of interacting with the world. Because of this, increasing cultural soft power is a major and pressing issue that affects the overall development of the Party and government. We must be clear about the situation and stay alert, be prepared for danger in times of peace, develop a strong sense of danger, accelerate efforts to develop our own cultural strengths to safeguard China’s cultural security in the midst of fierce international competition and develop our strategic interests.

 II. Cultural confidence: passing on, opening and surpassing

 Cultural confidence means a country, a nation and a political party fully confirming the value of their own culture and having a firm faith in the vitality of their own culture. Without firm faith in our own culture we cannot be sure that our culture can stand up to the impact of other cultures, have the courage to forge ahead and have the vitality for glowing innovation and creativity. The Chinese nation has the tolerance that comes from cultural confidence and it is precisely because we have confidence and pride in our national culture that we have been able to preserve our culture and absorb foreign cultures throughout the long course of the country’s history to form the unique and brilliant Chinese culture. At the same time, we must recognize that while maintaining this attitude toward our own culture, as the nation develops or withers or the country rises or falls, sometimes we may fall into the trap of looking down on our own culture and letting it go or becoming arrogant or make some other similar mistakes that affect the development of culture to a greater or lesser extent in one way or another. The world more and more resembles a “global village,” and the interchange, blending and interaction of different cultures is intensifying. In this situation, it is even more important for us to engage in cultural reflection, comparison and outlook with a rational and scientific attitude so that we have a correct view of our own culture and correctly handle other cultures. We must be fully aware of the unique strengths and development potential of Chinese culture and be even firmer in our faith in and pursuit of culture. The key to cultural confidence is to not forget the past, absorb foreign cultures and keep an eye on the future.

 1. We must not forget the past. The culture of any country has its traditions and solid base. Losing traditions or letting the base slip away is the same as cutting off one’s own spiritual life line and will mean the loss of the unique character of a country’s culture. For today’s China, its deep and profound national traditional culture, scientific guiding ideology of Marxism and rich revolutionary culture comprise the vital foundation for our culture and our “silver bullet” for ensuring we can stand firm amidst the raging sea of cultures in the world. Therefore, we must always unswervingly do all we can to uphold our culture for the benefit of the current generation and all generations to come.

 First, Chinese traditional culture comprises the parent of our cultural development, so we should feel proud of it. The great profound Chinese culture is the accumulation of the most profound spiritual desires of the Chinese nation, includes the most basic spiritual genes of the Chinese nation and represents the unique spiritual marks of the Chinese nation. It not only provides a rich supply of nourishment for the endless life and developing strength of the Chinese nation, but also makes a unique contribution to the progress of human civilization. It not only forged a brilliant history, but also shines brightly today. Russell said, “… something of the ethical qualities in which China is supreme, and which the modern world most desperately needs”… and “if it could be adopted by all the world, would make all the world happy.” The national learning has become popular in China and studying Chinese culture and Confucianism has become popular in other countries. Many people are discussing the ideological values of the times, such as charity, emphasis on the people, defense of integrity, love of justice, esteem for harmony and pursuit of consensus, that are found in Chinese traditions and culture. This is a vivid illustration of the great practical significance of Chinese traditional culture. Forgetting one’s past, showing disdain for tradition and vilifying a nation’s culture are extremely harmful. Naturally, upholding the finest of traditional culture certainly does not mean returning to the past or defending or reviving ancient ways, but constantly engaging in new cultural creation rooted in the latest experience and in line with the tide of the times instead. There is also some chaff in traditional culture that needs to be abandoned. We need to scientifically screen traditional culture, extract the good aspects and thoroughly mine them to obtain the beneficial ideological values to extract the cream and get rid of the chaff so that the ancient can be used for the present and they constantly show their brilliance and provide a constant source of nourishment for the national spirit. 

 Second, the guiding ideology of Marxism is the basis for the development of our culture, so we should always and unswervingly adhere to it. Marxism is the greatest achievement in the history of human ideology. It reveals the basic rules for the development of human society through a scientific world outlook and methodology as well as points to the correct orientation for the development of advanced culture. The CPC from its founding has held high the banner of Marxism and constantly worked to adapt Marxism to actual conditions in China, leading to the two theoretical results of Mao Zedong Thought and the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which includes the major strategic ideologies of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, now the basic pointers for the progress of Chinese culture. It is precisely Marxism that has injected advanced ideology into Chinese culture and armed the Chinese people with a scientific and powerful ideological weapon and greatly liberated them ideologically and spiritually. Under the current conditions, we must adhere to the guidance of Marxism and use the tailored Marxism to direct cultural development in order to analyze the mainstream and non-mainstream, differentiate between the advanced and the backward and clearly delineate the positive and the negative in the complex ideas present in society and society’s cultural milieu and effectively direct the various ideological trends in society, suppress the corrupt cultural influences and constantly consolidate the common ideological foundation for the united efforts of the entire Party and all the people in the country.

 Third, the revolutionary culture created by the people under the leadership of the Party is the strength behind our cultural development so we should greatly cherish it. In the historical course of the CPC leading all the ethnic groups of the country in revolution, development and reform, we have created a clearly unique revolutionary culture that inspires people to make progress. The revolutionary culture formed in the historical process of painstaking revolution by the Chinese people is a vivid manifestation of the solid progress of the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation and great creative spirit of the CPC and the Chinese people. In the present, just as it will in the future, China’s revolutionary culture is the powerful ideological force that encourages us to work tirelessly on our undertakings. In building and developing advanced socialist culture, we must make effective and ample use of the rich source of revolutionary culture created by the people under the leadership of the Party and ensure that it deeply permeates people’s spiritual world and constantly forms new spiritual force.

 2. We must absorb foreign cultures. No culture can cut itself off from the world and not take in nourishment from other cultures. What attitude a country takes toward foreign cultures is a test of that country’s cultural confidence. The more confident a country is, the more able it is to take a positive attitude toward foreign cultures and the more able it is to experience fruitful development in the midst of interaction and exchange with foreign cultures. Extensively absorbing and integrating the best of the achievements of other cultures is an essential requirement in order to ensure the thriving of the Chinese culture.

 First, we need to be open and tolerant. The world has a diverse array of cultures, and each has its strengths. Each country’s culture makes a contribution to the world’s civilization in its own way and each culture represents a part of the common spiritual treasure of humankind. Only by absorbing the best of other cultures and incorporating the strengths of all kinds of culture can we effectively promote the development of our culture. If we were to shut ourselves off from the rest of the world and totally reject outside influences, our development would lose its vitality and even wither. The reason Chinese culture has been going on so long without fading away is because it has a large capacity for absorbing the strengths of many other cultures and the Chinese people have a tradition of uncovering, absorbing, integrating and making good use of the strong points of others. Chinese culture itself is the common creation of many nationalities and districts and an amalgam of diverse cultural elements, including not only the culture of the Han ethnic group, but also the cultures of the dozens of other ethnic minority groups in the country. Looking at the relationship between Chinese culture and other cultures, although China did go through a period of self-isolation and learned a hard lesson from holding on to backward ways, openness and tolerance has always been the main theme in China’s long history of cultural development. For instance, the Buddhism of India and the culture of the Western Regions were introduced into China during the Han and Tang dynasties and spread extensively in Chinese society, and the Silk Road and Xuan Zang’s journey to bring Buddhist scriptures to China became symbols of cultural exchange between China and the outside world. During the Song and Ming dynasties, a large quantity of Arabic and Persian cultures was introduced into China. Large numbers of foreigners such as Marco Polo and Matteo Ricci came to China to study, do missionary work and engage in business, which had an even greater effect in promoting the integration of Chinese and foreign cultures. History shows that openness and tolerance will not weaken the core of excellence of Chinese culture. Instead, absorbing and borrowing from other cultures constantly enriches and strengthens Chinese culture. With the ongoing process of globalization and China opening ever wider to the outside world, we should view outside cultures from an even wider perspective and with even more open arms, actively participate in the conversation and exchange concerning the other cultures of the world, and boldly absorb and borrow from all practices and excellent results that are beneficial for the development of Chinese culture.

 Second, we must maintain a dialectical attitude in selecting. Openness and tolerance does not mean mindless worship of foreign things and studying and borrowing does not mean simply copying. The culture of any country has a ground on which it depends for survival and has certain conditions that allow it to play a role. Divorced from certain historical conditions and social environment, the value and role of culture are bound to undergo changes. Moreover, foreign cultures are also diverse and varied, and contain both good and bad elements and strengths and weaknesses. This means that we must analyze, compare and differentiate, and maintain a dialectical attitude in selecting what is useful from foreign cultures. If we do not differentiate the good from the bad and even introduce the chaff and trash as though they were treasures, the harm could be immeasurable. The culture of Western countries, based on their economic and scientific strength, now holds a strong position in the world. Naturally, Western ideology and culture have their rational elements and have had a positive role in the development and progress of human civilization, but they also have negative and corrupt elements as well. We can not adopt an attitude of “total rejection” or of “total acceptance.”

 Third, we need to have the ability to convert and remodel. In absorbing and borrowing from foreign cultures, we need to work for an organic “chemical reaction” rather than simple “grafting” with the purpose of converting and remodeling foreign cultures to enrich the development of our own culture. If we were to simply devour or gulp down foreign cultures, it would inevitably lead to indigestion. Chinese culture has a major characteristic, the strong ability to sort through foreign cultures. After a great deal of foreign cultures is introduced into the country, they are organically integrated into Chinese culture. In absorbing foreign cultures, it is important that we decide for ourselves what is useful for us and that we adapt it to conditions in the country. We should combine the best of foreign cultures with China’s traditional culture, blend it with Chinese cultural elements and put the stamp of Chinese culture on it. We should take into consideration China’s practical needs and use foreign cultures to resolve China’s practical problems and ensure that foreign cultures serve the work and lives of the people. We should take into consideration the acceptance habits of the Chinese people and create a performance form in line with the way of thinking and aesthetic interests of the Chinese people that Chinese people can enjoy. Only by converting and remodeling to develop a Chinese style can foreign cultures take root and flower on Chinese soil.

 3. We must keep an eye on the future. Our cultural confidence comes not only from the brilliance of Chinese history, but even more from the great vitality of today’s China and the bright prospects for our future development. Keeping an eye on world events, examining ourselves and looking to the future, we’ll see that changes in the world, China’s progress and the great creativity of the people provide historical opportunities and a vast stage for the thriving of Chinese culture. Contemporary Chinese culture is now witnessing an inspiring and thriving trend.

 First, we need to understand the prospects for the development of Chinese culture in terms of the overall trend in world developments. The diversity of the cultures of the world is becoming more and more apparent and the cultures in the world are forming a diverse pattern. In particular, the outbreak of the international financial crisis has profoundly impacted and changed the world and profoundly impacted and changed the relationship between China and the rest of the world. As China’s overall strength has grown and its international standing has improved, the world has been taking more notice of China and paying more attention to Chinese culture. This is providing important opportunities for the impact of the vast Chinese culture. Some foreign scholars have been talking about the “theory of world cultural center moving eastward” and asserting that the “21st century is the Asian century” and that “the West will be drawing from Chinese culture in many respects in the future.” These views are not necessarily accurate, and some may even be insidious flattery. China’s influence is growing and Chinese culture is becoming more popular in the world; these are indisputable facts. Although China is being subject to various factors and influences and it will be a long time before China truly becomes a culturally strong country in the world, the rejuvenation of Chinese culture is unstoppable. As long as we view and carry out cultural development against the background of world development, fully understand the trends in world development, constantly develop new strengths and continue making over the country, we will certainly be able to broaden the impact of Chinese culture and make our own contribution to the development of the culture of the world.

 Second, we must place great importance on the future of Chinese cultural development in the midst of realizing the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China has successfully followed the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics during the past 30-plus years of reform and opening up. This is a road that has brought about China’s rapid and sound economic development, constant improvement in the lives of the people and a vibrant and vital society, as well as a road that has constantly fostered new ways of thinking and new cultural elements. Every time China has made a major breakthrough, passed a major test and made a major achievement, it fostered the formation of new ways of thinking, new concepts and new ideas. Since the institution of the reform and opening up policy, historical changes have occurred in the face of the Chinese people, socialist China and the CPC, the most important of which is the change in the spiritual environment. Why has China’s economy been able to develop steadily and fairly rapidly for so long? How does a major country with a large territory and population have such great cohesiveness and centripetal force? Why is China so able to muster its forces to accomplish major project and wholeheartedly overcome difficult situations? Behind all this is the advantage of the Chinese system and the ideological and cultural strength forged in the process of developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. The country is developing and the culture is thriving. The great development of socialism with Chinese characteristics is proceeding magnificently. Our development philosophy, development orientation and development path have provided powerful guarantees for the thriving development of Chinese culture, as well as provided important resources and valuable treasures for carrying out cultural development. As long as we stay based on socialism with Chinese characteristics, carry out cultural creation as part of the great creativity of the masses and realize cultural progress during the march of history, we are sure to create a brilliant culture worthy of history and the times.

 Third, we need to consider the future prospects for the development of Chinese culture in the light of the favorable situation of cultural development. Chinese culture is now entering a golden period of thriving development along with economic development and social progress. The CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary has given even higher priority to cultural development by introducing a number of new ideas concerning cultural development in line with the requirements of the times and making a number of major arrangements concerning overall cultural development, providing strong and powerful leadership and comprehensive impetus for cultural development in terms of system innovation, policy support, budgetary allocations for operating expenses and capital construction. All localities in China are being more aware of and taking more initiative in cultural development and introducing the objective of strengthening their individual localities through cultural development. All sectors of society are paying more attention to and participating in cultural development as never before and a strong wave of “culture fever” is now taking shape and the environment for accelerating cultural development is becoming ever stronger. China’s per capita GDP has now reached US$3,700 and consumer spending on culture is now in a period of rapid growth. Concerned government departments calculate in accordance with international experience that annual consumer spending on culture should be about 4 trillion yuan, but actual spending only amounts to approximately 1 trillion yuan. Liberation of this potential in consumer spending will provide a huge market for cultural development. As China deepens reform of the culture system and continues to liberate the cultural productive forces, cultural programs and the culture industry are experiencing rapid development, new cultural industries are constantly emerging, both state cultural enterprises and non-government cultural enterprises are developing, the culture market is thriving and the array and variety of cultural products is growing. All of this has created excellent conditions and opened up a vast space for cultural development. As long as we pay close attention to the new requirements placed on cultural development by economic and social development, pay close attention to the new expectations for cultural activities among the masses and pool the cultural creativity of all sectors of society, we are sure to bring about a new leap in cultural development.

 Four, we must consider the prospects for the development of Chinese culture in terms of rising popularity of the Internet and information technology. We have now entered the era of computer networks and IT, and the mushrooming development of the Internet and its increasing popularity have not only brought about profound changes in the way people work and live, but also brought about great changes in production, dissemination and consumer spending of cultural products. In the past, we usually considered the Internet as just a virtual space, but the Internet has now become a very important component of society as it has become more popular, more media-oriented and more practical. There are now 420 million people in China using the Internet to get information, search for news, obtain knowledge and find entertainment and recreation. It has become an important way for people to enrich their cultural life and meet their spiritual and cultural demands. Moreover, more and more people are using the Internet to participate in cultural development and receive help from blogs, podcasts and Wiki in carrying out cultural creation. The large Chinese Internet communities who enjoy Internet culture are also creators of online culture. In addition to meeting people’s cultural demands and stimulating their creative drive, network technology is also fostering new cultural patterns with the characteristics of the information age and led to the development of new cultural forms such as online music, online games, online video and online literature. This in turn has greatly increased the productivity of cultural product creation and production and greatly enriched the field and content of cultural products and services. Some people are predicting that in the future most spending on and enjoyment of culture, creation and production of culture, and exchange and dissemination of culture will take place through the platform of the Internet. Whoever seizes the initiative in developing culture online will have the upper hand in the field of culture. As long as we keep up with the tide of the Internet information age, take advantage of rare opportunities, use the Internet to disseminate advanced culture, provide public cultural services, develop new fronts and platforms to enrich the spiritual and cultural lives of the people and work to develop Internet culture with Chinese characteristics, we will certainly be able to inject new vigor into the development of Chinese culture and open up new fields.

 III. Cultural strength: orientation, goals and path

 The ultimate purpose of cultural awareness and cultural confidence is to realize our own cultural strength. By “own” we mean building a national, scientific, people’s advanced socialist culture that is oriented toward the modernization drive, toward the world and toward the future based on our own conditions, relying on our own strength, stressing our own character and taking our own cultural development path. By “strength” we mean that our culture should have a powerful attraction and influence, strong vitality and creative ability and strong competitiveness and we should develop China into a culturally strong country under socialism with Chinese characteristics. If a large developing country such as China is to take charge of its own future and fate in the international community it must have its own design for culture and its own cultural strength. China’s economic strength and overall national strength has grown significantly, so we should carefully consider the issue of “what to carry out along with economic development,” incorporate cultural reform and development into the overall plan for economic and social development and into the appraisal and assessment system for scientific development, tightly seize the initiative in cultural development, truly ensure that cultural development stays in step with economic development, political development and social development and develop our own cultural strength and make China a culturally strong country as soon as possible. How do we develop cultural strength? We must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, continue to take Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as our guide, thoroughly implement the Scientific Outlook on Development, concentrate on sound and rapid development of culture and carry out research on how to develop a sound soul, a right path, a solid foundation, rich sources and strong wings for the development of our cultural strength, centering on the major topic of “what a culturally strong country under socialism with Chinese characteristics is and how we develop it.”

 1. By “a sound soul” we mean molding the soul of socialist culture. So what is the soul of culture? It is the crystallization in the field of culture of the most deep-rooted factors that determine the qualitative definition and orientation of a culture, the set of core values. Those values determine the stands of culture, the orientation of culture and the choices of culture. Soft power and the power of culture are fundamentally determined by the vitality and cohesive strength of the core values. History and recent times have repeatedly shown that without these core values a culture cannot stand or be strong, a nation will not have a spiritual link on which to rely for maintenance and a country will not have a unified will and not be able to take concerted action. China has 56 identified ethnic groups and a population of 1.3 billion. In order to form a consensus of ideology and will among the many people of the country and ensure that the Chinese nation stands tall among the many nations of the world amidst the many ups and downs taking place in the international situation, we must develop a set of core values that will effectively play a unifying, leading and integrating role. Precisely based on overall and strategic considerations, the CPC defined the basic project of developing a system of socialist core values to unify the soul and gather courage, and strengthen the base and solidify the fundamentals. In carrying out cultural development we must concentrate on doing a good job in the formation of a system of core socialist values as a basic task, unswervingly arm the Party with the latest results of efforts to tailor Marxism to conditions in China, educate the people, use the cohesive power of the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics, use the national spirit with patriotism at the core and spirit of the times with reform and innovation at the core to encourage our efforts and use the socialist concept of honor and dishonor to lead the trend .

 The important thing in forming a set of core socialist values is to ensure they reflect the feeling of the times, are in line with the wishes and lives of the masses and are highly original. By “feeling of the times” we mean that they must reflect the theme of the times, reflect the spirit of the times and be on the cutting edge of the times. A set of values is a product of the times and must reflect the requirements of the times in order to direct social progress. The reason the ideas of “putting people first,” “scientific development,” “fairness and justice” and “harmony and amity” are creating such a strong reaction and extensive resonance both domestically and abroad is because they evoke a strong feeling of the times. The reason the value system of capitalism has historically played a role in promoting progress is because it was in conformity with the historical requirement for people to throw off the shackles of feudalism. Time marches on and society progresses, and value systems must stay in step with the times. By being in line with the wishes and lives of the people we mean that they should take into consideration the desires of the people and be a part of their lives, and have a strong moral force and extensive recognition in society. The reason the traditional Chinese values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and trust still have such a great effect today is because they reflect some basic norms for handling the world, traveling through the world and standing in the world. A value system must be taken to heart by the masses in order to have extensive affinity and appeal. By highly original we mean that the value system must have unique traits and characteristics and be able to contribute to the development of human civilization. The clash of different value systems is like a process of large waves wearing away the beach, a continual screening process. Only value systems that are highly original and have widespread significance can stand the test of time and actual practice. The more a value system is in line with a nation the more it belongs to the world. We must be proficient at learning from our experience and extracting the spiritual core formed through the long struggles of the Chinese people. In addition, we need to be oriented toward the world, pay close attention to trends in the progress of human civilization, clarify our own core ideas and value stands, and dare to stay on the cutting edge by working to surpass everyone else. Naturally, in developing a system of core values there is also the issue of what form to use to express them. They must be as clear, simple and concise as possible so that they are easy for people to understand, remember and express.

 In developing a system of core socialist values, the requirements of the system of core socialist values must permeate all aspects of cultural development and be incorporated into the entire process of developing intellectual, cultural and ideological civilization. The formation of any value system requires the development of an excellent social and cultural environment so that people can effectively perceive and comprehend them and effectively comply with them and apply them in the work and their lives. The impact of the Western value system cannot be divorced from its pervasive influence. Their movies, television programs and mainstream media all reflect the orientation and standards of their values. In contrast, our media and cultural products are not made as conscientiously or cleverly, and some even advocate that “taking responsibility is too much trouble” and “being noble is lame,” messages that deride, profane and degrade our mainstream value system and mislead and throw off the people in understanding standards for what is and what is not true and what is beautiful and what is ugly. We must definitely adhere to our own correct value pursuits, strengthen our sense of responsibility, strengthen guidance for the creation and production of cultural products, resolutely suppress vulgarity, coarseness and poor taste and ensure that all cultural fronts, all cultural products and all cultural activities comply with the contents and requirements of the system of core socialist values so that they are present everywhere and at all times, people truly take them to heart and culture can fully carry out its important function of guiding society, educating the people and promoting development.

 2. By “a right path” we mean the path of scientific development. The path is the way and the main approach to the issue of how to ensure sound and rapid cultural development building on the existing base. The Scientific Outlook on Development is a concentrated expression of Marxism concerning the world outlook and methodology for development. It not only reflects the scientific understanding of the CPC of the current development trend in the world and the development position of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, but also reflects the Party’s scientific understanding of current trends in cultural development and the laws governing the development of Chinese culture. It has opened up a path and pointed the way for realizing the thriving development of culture. 

 Taking the path of scientific development means fully reflecting the fundamental requirements of the Scientific Outlook on Development. The Scientific Outlook on Development has many implications, and it is crucial to applying the Scientific Outlook on Development that we closely combine it with the actual conditions in cultural development and adhere to its philosophy in all aspects and links of our work. We must always keep development at the fore as a matter of first importance and use development to resolve issues that come up on the way forward. In other words, we must serve economic development as the core task as well as work to realize the thriving development of culture itself. In addition, we must always put people first, take the satisfaction of the spiritual and cultural demands of the people as the starting point and final objective, ensure that cultural development is for the people, that cultural development relies on the people and that the people enjoy the fruits of cultural development, and work to ensure the all-round development of people. We must always ensure that cultural development is comprehensive, balanced and sustainable, concentrating on the resolution of the major issues affecting cultural and scientific development, properly balancing every field and facet of cultural development, and promoting the sustained, rapid and sound development of culture. Finally, we must always balance all factors, consider the big picture, keep an eye on the long-term, correctly understand and properly balance all major factors related to the reform and development of culture to constantly strive to make cultural development more scientific. 

 Taking the path of scientific development means ensuring scientific and rational cultural development. The CPC made a major breakthrough in understanding cultural development at the 16th National Party Congress. This was the idea of dividing the area of culture into government cultural programs and the commercial culture industry and promoting the development of both at the same time. It could be said that promoting development of both is a new requirement for cultural development that conforms to the development of the socialist market economy and the inherent natural laws governing cultural development, which is a milestone representing a leap in the development of culture. Precisely because of this leap, we now have gained a better understanding in our undertakings over the last few years of the ideological and commercial attributes of cultural products, better delineated the basic cultural demands and the wide variety of other cultural demands of the masses, and gained a better understanding of the relationship between economic benefits and social benefits. On this basis, we have scientifically identified the responsibilities and functions of the government and the market in cultural development, defined the orientation and principles for the reform of the culture system, found an effective way to liberate and develop the productive forces of culture, formed methods for promoting the development of cultural programs and the culture industry using different ways of thinking thus opening up new prospects for the development of culture. Experience has shown that we must work on both cultural programs and the culture industry and drive both acceleration of the development of a system of public cultural services and acceleration of the development of the culture industry to satisfy the growing spiritual and cultural demands of the people to the greatest extent possible.

 Taking the path of scientific development means we must transform the pattern of China’s development and improve the quality and benefits of cultural development. Accelerating transformation of the pattern of economic development is the overall strategic arrangements that affect reform and opening up and modernization drive of the country and is a strategic choice based on historic and current good and bad experiences and represents a major task of seizing the high ground in development and creating new strengths in development that we cannot afford to relax in accomplishing. Transforming the pattern of development is not only an economic issue. The development pattern in the field of culture also needs to be transformed to inject new development drive and create new space for development. Looking at the current situation, there are many issues that urgently need to be resolved in the pattern of cultural development. For instance there is an imbalance in cultural development between urban and rural areas, between regions and between categories of culture. The various cultural facilities and services are concentrated in the medium-size and large cities and are fairly well developed in the eastern region of the country, but their development is very weak and insufficient in the countryside and many local communities. In some ethnic minority regions, border regions and poverty-stricken regions in particular, the people’s basic cultural needs are hardly being met. In terms of the structure of culture, the structure of the ownership, the industrial structure, the product structure, the technology structure and the structure of imports and exports all need improvement. The level of technology content of products is low, the proportion of non-public capital is low and the supply of quality cultural products available on the market for ordinary people is insufficient. There are problems of the industry being too scattered, facilities being too small and oversupply in the degree of the concentration of industry and there is not good economy of scale and poor resistance to risk. In terms of the distribution of resources, there is a problem of “investment hunger” as well as a problem of irrational investment. The problem of building redundant cultural projects is serious in some localities, resulting in a waste of resources. We need to view transformation of the pattern of cultural development as a major task, taking a long-term view and carrying out systematic consideration of the problem. We need to strengthen macroeconomic regulation, improve policy measures, and combine the function and role of the government with efforts to promote more participation of non-government forces to direct more cultural resources toward the countryside and local communities and toward old revolutionary areas, ethnic minority areas, border areas and poverty-stricken areas. We need to put more energy into the strategy of stimulating cultural development through major culture industry projects, concentrate on fostering and developing new and emerging culture industries, constantly work to improve the distribution, structure and allocation of resources, constantly strengthen the drive for sustained cultural development and improve the benefits of cultural development.

 3. By “a solid foundation” we mean the basic strengths we rely on for cultural development. Cultural development should very closely rely on the masses and at the same time fully motivate the enthusiasm of the many people working in the field of culture. The extensive participation of the masses and the enthusiastic creativity of people working in the field of culture constitute a dependable guarantee for a flourishing culture.

 The masses constitute the main factor in the progress of history. People are not only the creators of material wealth, but the creators of spiritual and cultural wealth as well. Looking at the origin of culture, we can see that values and morality as ideological forms and music and dance, calligraphy and painting, and poetry and lyrics as art forms, all come from the work and lives of the masses. The people not only create culture, they also constantly pass on and develop culture. The transmission of Chinese culture over millennia has relied on generation after generation of Chinese sons and daughters passing the torch and passing their culture on to the next generation. What we are developing is socialist culture, the culture of the masses, a basic characteristic of which is that it is jointly developed by the masses and is enjoyed by the masses. The people need culture and culture needs people even more. The view that culture is for the enjoyment and appreciation of the few is completely contrary to the socialist view of culture. We must effectively adhere to the view that development of culture should rely on those for whom it is intended, firmly focus efforts on the masses, reject the idea of culture for the few, fully respect the dominant position and original creativity of the people and rely very closely on the concerted efforts of the people and society. We need to open up channels, build platforms and create conditions to strongly support the culture creativity of the people. We need to frequently review, refine and popularize cultural forms and cultural vectors originating from the people and their vibrant lives to tap and liberate the potential wisdom and strength of the masses.

 Stressing the dominant position of the masses does not mean denying the role and contribution of professionals in the field of culture. Regardless of whether one is speaking of the enhancement and refinement of cultural elements, the guiding and promotion of cultural trends, or the remolding and redevelopment of culture and art, the development of culture cannot do without professionals in the field of culture. A culture can only be strong if the personnel working in the field of culture are strong. A generation that produces large numbers of talented personnel will inevitably be a generation of thriving culture. China’s Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods was a high point in ideology and culture, with many schools of thought contending that cannot be separated from the outstanding work of Lao-tse, Confucius, Mozi and Han Feizi. The apex in the development of poetry and prose that occurred during the Tang and Song periods cannot be separated from the outstanding contributions of Li Bai, Du Fu, Bai Juyi and the eight prose masters of the periods. The artistic brilliance created in Renaissance Europe cannot be separated from the artistic creations of Dante, DaVinci and Michelangelo. The flourishing of classical music in the last half of the 18th century cannot be separated from the musical accomplishments of Hayden, Mozart and Beethoven, the “three Viennese masters.” This shows that the ideological and cultural edifice of a generation must be supported by a group of masters and other talented participants, that the brilliant culture of a nation must be represented by a group of deans and masters and that the thriving and flourishing culture of a country inevitably has a group of leading personages leading the way. If we are to fulfill a grand blueprint to become a culturally strong country, we must work to foster the development of a group of influential famous persons and masters in the field of culture and leading personages in every field of culture as well as a large contingent of personnel in the field of culture that is in tune with the times, greatly inspiring and highly innovative and creative. China has adopted a number of important measures in recent years to foster the development of personnel in the field of culture, with significant results. Overall, however, the contingent of personnel is still not able to meet the requirements for a culturally strong country in this generation and unable to fulfill the important task of increasing the country’s soft cultural power. We need to give higher priority to work concerned with personnel in the field of culture, to use strategic thinking and revolutionary spirit in planning and promoting the development of personnel in the field of culture, concentrating in particular on younger personnel, high-level personnel and multi-faceted personnel, and to develop a group of world-class spokespersons for our culture. We must continue to respect labor, respect knowledge, respect talent, respect creativity, encourage excellence, be tolerant of failure, create an outstanding and excellent environment for the healthy growth of talented personnel and a vibrant scene in which people can develop and use their talents to the fullest, and personnel in all fields of culture emerge in large numbers to take full advantage of their creative vitality. Intellectuals are the most lively and most creative community in the field of culture and are responsible for the important mission of the production, creation and transmission of culture, so we must place great importance on work concerning intellectuals in order to do well in cultural development. We must improve the CPC’s policy on intellectuals in accordance with the requirement for “respect, tolerance, service and guidance,” fully motivate the enthusiasm and creativity of intellectuals, guide them to consciously and willingly contribute their intelligence and wisdom to the development of socialist culture and rally intellectuals around the CPC to the greatest extent possible.

 4. “The rich sources” means the wellspring of the drive that ensures thriving cultural development. A flourishing culture requires a constant driving force. What is this driving force? One is reform and two is innovation. Reform is the essential path for liberating and developing the productive forces of culture and innovation is the winning path for thriving cultural development.

 Management systems and mechanisms are fundamental and have long-term effect. Culture can only show great vitality if we constantly deepen reform to break down systemic and mechanical barriers to cultural development. Reform of the Chinese culture system has gone from focusing on certain areas to a broader approach and from shallow to deeper in recent years, and the pace has been constantly accelerated and the intensity constantly strengthened. As a result, important breakthroughs have been made in some key areas and crucial links and the results are gradually becoming apparent. Experience has shown that the decisions and arrangements made by the Central Committee concerning deepening reform of the culture system were totally correct. Reform of the culture system is a comprehensive reform, including reform of the macro management system as well as reform of the micro operational mechanism. In terms of the macro management system, the reform mainly changed the relationship between administrative departments and their subsidiary enterprises and institutions, accelerating the effort to change the way government functions by further separating government and enterprises, government and capital, government and institutions, and government and market agencies and organizations. This shifted the government function away from mainly running the culture industry to mainly regulating the culture industry, from micro management towards macro management and from directly managing subsidiary enterprises and institutions to being oriented more toward all enterprises and non-government organizations so that the government could better carry out its responsibility for policy adjustments, market oversight, social administration and provision of public services. In terms of the mechanism for micro operation, the reform accelerated efforts to transform state-owned, profit-making cultural organizations into enterprises and efforts to set up modern corporate structures run as legal persons, centering on efforts to remodel the players in the culture market. This created a group of backbone state-owned culture enterprises and strategic investors in the field of culture, greatly improving the economy of scale and international competitiveness of Chinese culture enterprises. In addition, reform of the personnel systems and income distribution systems of non-profit cultural organizations was deepened to improve their service capabilities and give them more vitality and strengthen their social benefits to the greatest extent possible. Reform of the culture system has now entered a crucial stage in which it must overcome some difficult issues. The broader and deeper the reform goes, the more it involves deep-seated issues and problems and the more it requires a tough struggle. We must continue to promote the development and flourishing of culture through reform, strengthen efforts, focus on key areas, progress on all fronts and work to develop systems and mechanisms that are full of vitality, highly effective, more open and conducive to the development of culture in a scientific way while unswervingly adhering to the orientation and goals set by the Central Committee. 

 Innovation is a fundamental character of culture. Generally speaking, the history of human culture is actually one of cultural innovation. In cultural development today, innovation is the key to success and the content is the most important aspect. Only by constantly strengthening our ability to carry out cultural innovation can our development surpass that of others. Placing great importance on cultural development is a fine tradition of the CPC and we have learned a great deal of valuable lessons in this respect that are worth passing on and upholding. We must remember, however, that time marches on and society is changing, and some methods that were effective in the past may not be so effective today. It was not a good time in the past to carry out certain tasks, but now it has become necessary to tackle them. Some issues were insurmountable in the past, but now we need to make breakthroughs in addressing those issues. Both the strategic requirements for making China an innovative country and the need to satisfy the diverse, multi-level and multi-faceted spiritual and cultural demands of the people require us to strongly promote cultural innovation. Moreover, in order to both seize the initiative in the fierce international competition in the field of culture and contribute more to the progress of human civilization we need to strongly promote cultural innovation. We should view innovation as a kind of faith, a kind of pursuit to creatively mine and use the abundant cultural resources of China and the best of the cultures of other countries so that we can increase the creative content and competitiveness of Chinese culture. We must work hard to create a social environment that encourages innovation in which all creative undertakings receive support, all creative talents can live up to their potential and all creative results can be confirmed so that creativity becomes the main theme and prevalent key in the field of culture.

 5. By “strong wings” we mean powerful wings that will allow Chinese culture to soar. The role of science and the market in promoting the thriving development of culture is becoming more and more apparent in today’s world. Science and the market are like the two wings of a bird, and the strength of those wings will allow culture to fly even higher and even farther.

 Science and culture have always been a shadow following form. With every major stride of science comes a revolutionary change in the ways culture is transmitted, expressed and developed. The invention of the technology to make paper and printing in ancient China, allowing the transmission of human ideology and culture to break free of the bonds of time, was an important milestone in the history of cultural development. In contemporary times, the invention of radio, photography and film, and television carried human culture into a new era of audio and visual transmission. More recent times have seen the mushrooming development of digital and computer network technology, providing a new vector for the transmission of ideology and culture and providing the catalyst for the birth of new culture industries. Advances in science have also strengthened the expressive power, attraction and spread of culture in unique ways. In stage performances, for instance, modern electronic sound and light technology and video special effects can turn a stage performance into a magnificent, beautiful and brilliant spectacle. Digital video technology has greatly strengthened the expressive power of movies, and surround-screen 4D movies, dome films and interactive movies have provided people with unprecedented aesthetic experiences. We must increase our awareness of science and technology if we are to have a strong culture. We need to stay abreast of the latest trends in modern science and technology, accelerate the application of high and new technology in the field of culture, promote the integration of culture and science, accelerate efforts to develop a culture transmission system that has wide coverage and uses advanced technology, constantly enrich the content of culture, build new platforms, create new forms and strive to use advanced technology to develop and spread advanced culture. Naturally, technology is a tool and a means to serve content. All facets of technology simply add to the depth, height and breadth of the ideological content. We must closely integrate form with content and technology with art so that they complement each other and avoid allowing the technology to drown out the ideology and the form becoming more important than the content.

 The market plays a fundamental role in the distribution of resources in a socialist market economy. When market forces are operating properly, the efficiency of resource utilization can be raised. The production and transmission of cultural products is becoming more and more dependent on the market, and the market is becoming a more and more important means for expanding consumer spending on and satisfying demand for cultural products. Looking at cultural development at home and abroad, wherever the market is fairly well developed and the degree of modernization of the market system is fairly high, the vitality of development and competitiveness of culture are fairly strong. In China the overall level of the development of the market in the area of culture is still not high, the market supply mechanism, pricing mechanism and competition mechanism for cultural products and services need to be improved. Moreover, there are many barriers to the free flow of cultural products and factors such as capital, assets, personnel, information and technology, and market forces still have a long way to go to play their proper role. If we are to realize the thriving development of culture, we must work hard to adapt to the requirements of development of the socialist market economy, break down the departmental and regional barriers and the separation of urban and rural areas plaguing the market, accelerate the development of the mass market for spending on culture and build a modern culture market system that is open, competitive and orderly. In the supply and distribution of cultural products and cultural factors, we have to make full use of the positive role of the market. Even in the case of public cultural products and services, including the construction of some public cultural facilities, the government can adopt a bidding procedure to obtain a competitive price and extend cultural production and consumer spending from confinement to the culture system to the greater market. We not only need to improve the domestic market, we also need to pay more attention to the international market, strive to learn the rules and marketing strategy in the international trade in culture, balance the use of domestic and international markets and resources, balance externally oriented cultural exchange and external trade in culture, balance efforts to expand export volume and efforts to adjust the structure of exports, concentrate on developing externally oriented culture enterprises, concentrate on establishing a brand name for Chinese national culture and concentrate on strengthening efforts to develop export platforms and marketing channels to speed up efforts to take Chinese culture to the world. At the same time we should be aware that there are inherent weaknesses in the market and times when it fails. We cannot depend entirely on the market in developing culture, nor can we let the market lead us around by the nose. We must always put social benefits first while simultaneously pursuing both good social benefits and good economic benefits. Where there is a conflict between the two, social benefits must take priority. We must always ensure that economic benefits serve social benefits and never neglect our social responsibility and harm social benefits for the sake of economic interests. We need to truly carry out the government’s function by working both for thriving development and good management, increase efforts to improve macroeconomic regulation, strengthen routine oversight of the market and improve standards for order in the market to ensure sustained, rapid and sound development of socialist culture with Chinese characteristics.

(From Red Flag Manuscript, No.15, 16, 17, 2010)

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