Adhering to the Socialist Cultural Development Path with Chinese Characteristics and Striving to Build a Country with a Strong Socialist Culture

(October 18,2011)

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2012-03-31 10:19
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 Cultural development is an important component of the overall cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Cultural prosperity and development is an important objective for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In addition to comprehensively summarizing China’s achievements and experiences in cultural development under the leadership of the CPC, the decision passed at the plenary session also gave a thorough analysis of the current situation and tasks confronted in cultural development. By pooling the wisdom of the entire Party, the decision expounded on the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics, established the strategic objective of building a country with a strong socialist culture, and set forth the guiding thoughts, important principles, objectives and tasks, and the policies and measures for the promotion of cultural reform and development under new circumstances. Therefore, the decision is a framework document that will guide China’s cultural reform and development both at the present and for a period of time to come. All Party members are required to carefully study and fully understand the decision, devote concerted efforts to carrying out the guidelines set out at the plenary session, and strive to accomplish the objectives and tasks that have been set forth.

 2011–A year marking the beginning of China’s transformation from a country with a great culture to a country with a leading cultural influence.The photo shows Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains on display at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, including both the right part, known as The Remaining Mountain, and the left part, known as The Master Wuyong Scroll. The painting was burnt into two pieces 360 years ago, and has never been displayed together since then. For more than 60 years, these two sections of the original scroll have been kept separately on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. This masterpiece went on exhibit in Taipei on June 2, 2011. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Han Chuanhao

 Firstly, we need to fully recognize the importance and urgency of promoting cultural reform and development. A valuable experience and major political advantage of our Party has been to give full play to the role of advanced culture in guiding progress, converging forces in struggle, and promoting development. Throughout the course of revolution, development and reform, the Party, in line with contemporary conditions as well as the central tasks of the Party, has put forth cultural guidelines, objectives and policies in a tireless effort to promote cultural development, thereby vigorously promoting the cause of the Party and the people. With our unremitting efforts since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy, we have successfully developed a socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics, significantly raised the ideological and moral standards as well as scientific knowledge and cultural attainment of the entire nation, promoted all-round personal development, and remarkably increased China’s cultural soft power. This has provided us with a source of great strength as we have adhered to and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics, allowing us to lay down solid foundations and accumulate valuable experiences for a new upsurge in the development of socialist culture.

 The world is currently going through a period of great development, momentous changes and enormous adjustments. Contemporary China is striding towards new objectives at a new starting point in history, and culture is playing a more extensive and profound role than before. From an international perspective, a prominent feature in competition for overall national strength lies in the fact that culture has come to assume a more significant position and role. Many countries, especially the major powers, view the development of cultural soft power as an important strategy to enhance their core competitiveness. As various ideologies and cultures interact, blend, and clash more frequently on a global scale, whoever seizes the initiative in cultural development and possesses strong cultural soft power will gain the upper hand in fierce international competition. Meanwhile, we must be fully aware that international hostile forces are stepping up efforts to implement their strategies of westernizing and dividing China, with ideology and culture being key areas of their long-term infiltration. We need to be thoroughly aware of the seriousness and complexity of the struggle in the ideological field. We must always be alert in this regard, and take effective measures to prevent and respond to relevant risks. From a domestic perspective, the economic strength and overall national strength of our nation have increased significantly since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, especially since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy over 30 years ago. However, the basic reality that China is still in the primary stage of socialism, and will remain so for a long time to come, has not changed, nor has the principal contradiction in Chinese society—the disparity between the ever-growing material and cultural demands of the people and our backward level of social production. China has entered a crucial period in its initiatives to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform and opening up, and accelerate the transformation of the pattern of economic development. Under such circumstances, culture is increasingly becoming an important source of the nation’s cohesiveness and innovativeness; an important factor in competition for overall national strength; and an important pillar of economic and social development. At the same time, having a rich non-material and cultural life is increasingly becoming a strong desire of the Chinese people. From the perspective of China’s cultural development itself, our cultural sphere is undergoing broad and profound changes, with great achievements in cultural development having been made. However, generally speaking, our level of cultural development does not entirely accord with our level of economic and social development or the ever-growing non-material and cultural demands of the people. The problem of institutional and structural constraints on the development of cultural productive forces has yet to be fundamentally resolved; the role of culture in guiding social trends, educating the people, serving society and stimulating development has yet to be fully exerted; the overall strength and international influence of Chinese culture are inadequate in contrast to China’s rising international status; and we are yet to reverse a situation in which Western countries still have the upper hand over China in international culture and opinion. In addition, there are still a number of prominent conflicts and issues that need to be promptly resolved. These involve education in ideals and convictions, ideological and moral development, the strengthening of integrity, literary and artistic creation, public cultural services, the development of cultural industries and rural culture, the cultural life of the migrant population, Internet development and management, and our ability to promote Chinese culture globally.

 In summary, grasping and making good use of this important period of strategic opportunities to develop our country, deepening the reform of the cultural system, and giving impetus to the great development and flourishing of socialist culture at this new starting point in history will have a direct bearing on achieving our goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, on adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, and on achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The plenary session has established the guiding thought for the promotion of cultural reform and development. It emphasizes that we must comprehensively implement the guiding principles of the Seventeenth National Party Congress; hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics; take Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as our guide; thoroughly implement the Scientific Outlook on Development; and adhere to the orientation toward advanced socialist culture. Scientific development must be the theme of our initiatives. The development of the system of core socialist values must be our fundamental task. Our fundamental purpose must be to satisfy the people’s non-material and cultural needs. Our driving force must come from reform and innovation. We must develop a national, scientific and popular socialist culture geared towards modernization, the world, and the future. We must cultivate a high degree of cultural self-awareness and self-confidence, raise the cultural level of the whole nation, increase the country’s cultural soft power, advance and enrich Chinese culture, and strive to build a country with a strong socialist culture. The whole Party needs to thoroughly understand and comprehensively implement this guiding thought. While upholding economic development as our central task, we need to consciously view the enrichment and development of Chinese culture as an integral part of the notion that development is both the absolute principle and the Party’s number one task in exercising power and rejuvenating the country, and also deem it a basic requirement for thoroughly implementing the Scientific Outlook on Development. We need to further balance cultural development with economic, political, social and ecological development, thereby providing a strong ideological guarantee, a powerful psychological impetus, an effective foundation of public opinion, and sound cultural conditions as we continue to emancipate our minds, persevere in reform and opening up, further scientific development, and promote social harmony.

 Secondly, we need to adhere to the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics. The connotations of the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics are diverse, and are specifically reflected in the guiding thoughts, important principles, objectives and tasks, as well as policies and measures set forth in the decision of the plenary session. These things require our comprehensive study and implementation. I would like to emphasize several points.

 To adhere to the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics, we must continue to take Marxism as our guide and adhere to the orientation toward advanced socialist culture. The guiding role of Marxism and the orientation toward advanced socialist culture are the most distinctive features of socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, having a fundamental bearing on the overall state of cultural reform and development. Only by continuing to take Marxism as our guide and following the orientation toward advanced socialist culture can we lay down solid foundations for socialist cultural development with Chinese characteristics. With the continued development of the socialist market economy and our ever expanding openness to the outside world, China is witnessing more diversified social ideas and values as well as more changeable trends of thought in society. Therefore, it has become more important and urgent that we adhere to the guiding role of Marxism and the orientation toward advanced socialist culture. In order to promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture, we must maintain the guiding ideological position of Marxism, so as to provide effective theoretical guidance for cultural development and ensure that cultural reform and development stay on the right track. We must continue to apply Marxist theory, especially the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to various fields of cultural reform and development, and constantly enrich and develop a theory of cultural development with Chinese characteristics that meets the requirements of the times in order to establish China’s cultural development in all sectors on a solid theoretical footing. We must adhere to the orientation of serving the people and socialism, as well as the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend. We must emphasize the key theme while advocating diversity, balance the relationship between educating the people and satisfying their diverse non-material and cultural needs, and prioritize social benefits whilst also enhancing economic benefits, in order to effectively guide the trends of thought in society, vigorously block the influence of various kinds of mistaken and decadent ideas, and constantly consolidate and enhance the mainstream ideology and culture of socialism.

 To adhere to the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics, we must let the people play the main role in developing culture, and uphold the principle that culture should be developed for the people, by the people, and with the people sharing in its fruits. The questions of “who we represent” and “who we rely on” are fundamental issues for promoting cultural reform and development, as they determine the nature and orientation of socialist culture. Socialist culture with Chinese characteristics is developed and shared by the people, who are the deepest source of impetus for the great development and flourishing of socialist culture. Adhering to this principle is a fundamental requirement of China’s socialist system, and an important reflection of the Party’s tenets of serving the public good and governing for the people. In order to promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture, we must adhere to the principle of putting people first. With the fundamental objectives of satisfying the people’s non-material and cultural needs and promoting all-around personal development, we must constantly raise the ideological and moral standards as well as scientific knowledge and cultural attainment of the entire nation, and cultivate socialist citizens with high ideals, moral integrity, a good education, and a strong sense of discipline. We must implement the Party’s mass line and respect the subject role and creative spirit of the people so as to release a torrent of cultural creative vitality throughout society as a whole. We must keep the orientation of cultural creation centered on the people by showing care for the lives of the people, being aware of their wishes, reflecting their will, and deriving nourishment from their great creativity in order to provide them with the best cultural products. We must direct our efforts toward grassroots society and serving the people, regard satisfying the basic cultural needs of the people as the fundamental task of socialist cultural development, and encourage the creation and production of more cultural products that are well received by the public in order to ensure that all people can benefit from cultural development.

 To adhere to the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics, we must carry forward the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation, vigorously foster Chinese culture, and build a common spiritual home for the Chinese nation. China’s vast and rich culture embodies the profound spiritual aspirations of the Chinese nation. It represents a limitless driving force behind the tireless efforts of the Chinese nation to stride forward in a common endeavor, and a profound basis for the development of socialist culture with Chinese characteristics. In the effort to promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture, we must energetically foster the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation, the revolutionary cultural traditions we have nurtured since the May Fourth Movement, and a series of new thoughts, ideas and customary practices that have taken shape in the field of culture since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy and pursue an advanced socialist culture on the basis of our grand initiative to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must view foreign cultures with broader horizons and a more inclusive attitude, actively participate in international cultural exchanges and cooperation, and draw from all useful experiences and outstanding achievements that are conducive to China’s cultural reform and development.

 To adhere to the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics, we must place equal emphasis on non-profit cultural programs and cultural industries so as to promote the comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of cultural programs and cultural industries. The development of non-profit cultural programs is the fundamental means of guaranteeing the basic cultural rights and interests of the people under the socialist system. It is an institutional guarantee to ensure that cultural development is conducted by the people and for the benefit of the people. Developing cultural industries is an important means of satisfying the people’s diverse non-material and cultural needs under the socialist market economy. It is a necessary requirement for giving full play to the positive role of the market forces in allocating cultural resources and for stimulating the cultural creative vitality of society as a whole. In order to promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture, we must scientifically define the people’s basic cultural rights and interests as well as their diverse non-material and cultural needs, fully understand the obligations and functions of the government and the market in cultural development, and develop a work approach that places equal emphasis on cultural programs and cultural industries so as to strengthen both efforts. In accordance with the need for public-oriented, basic, equitable and readily available cultural services, we need to encourage the active participation of society as a whole and vigorously develop public-oriented cultural programs that are guided by the government, funded by public finance, led by cultural organizations for public welfare, targeted at the entire population, and designed to guarantee the basic cultural rights and interests of the general public. We must nurture a number of leading cultural enterprises that are powerful and competitive, increase the overall strength and competitiveness of China’s cultural industry, and create a cultural sector in which public ownership is dominant and cultural enterprises under diverse forms of ownership develop side by side. Both efforts to develop public-oriented cultural programs and to develop cultural industries need to adhere to the orientation toward advanced socialist culture, balance social benefits and economic benefits, and give top priority to social benefits.

 Thirdly, we need to implement all tasks set forth by the plenary session in line with the principles of reform and innovation. The plenary session has made overall arrangements for promoting cultural reform and development under new circumstances, and set forth a number of new tasks, measures and requirements that need to be implemented by all localities and departments in a planned and step-by-step manner. By giving overall consideration in light of realities, these efforts need to be comprehensively implemented whilst focusing on key points, among which the most important thing is to follow the four points in the guiding thought set forth by the plenary session for promoting cultural reform and development:

 First, scientific development must be the theme of our initiatives. Scientific development is a distinctive theme of the work of the Party and the state, and also a distinctive theme of cultural reform and development. We need to consciously apply scientific development to all aspects of cultural reform and development, fully take into account relevant realities, and strive to transform the pattern of cultural development in order to improve the quality and efficiency of cultural development and constantly make it more scientific. We need to guarantee the people’s cultural rights and interests and promote all-round personal development in accordance with the principles of putting people first as well as being rooted in reality, life and the ordinary people. We need to adhere to comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, strive to resolve prominent issues that undermine the scientific development of culture, and strike a balance between all areas and all links of cultural reform and development in order to promote the sustained, rapid and sound development of culture. We need to take into account the overall situation, correctly recognize and appropriately handle the major relationships in cultural reform and development, strike a balance between all initiatives in this regard, and improve the distribution and structure of culture as well as the allocation of cultural resources. By doing so, we will be able to promote integrated cultural development in urban and rural areas as well as between different regions, and tilt cultural resources in favor of rural and local areas, old revolutionary base areas, ethnic minority areas, border areas and poverty-stricken areas in order to constantly strengthen the continued driving force for cultural development and achieve sound and rapid cultural development.

 Second, the development of the system of core socialist values must be our fundamental task. As the guide of our socialist culture, the system of core socialist values not only has its roots in the fine culture of the Chinese nation and advanced socialist culture, but also draws from the achievements of human civilization. We must closely adhere to the fundamental role of developing the system of core socialist values in order to promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture. We need to continue to use the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics to equip the whole Party and educate the people, vigorously adapt Marxism to China’s conditions, the times and the people, and use the developing Marxism to direct our new initiatives. With continued emphasis on education in ideals and convictions, we must guide cadres and the general public to become more conscious and resolute in adhering to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics, and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. We need to extensively carry out education in national spirit, the spirit of the times and the socialist conception of honor and disgrace; intensify mass activities that foster cultural and ethical progress, and strengthen ideological and moral development in order to develop a culture of harmony and cultivate civilized practices. We need to thoroughly carry out an education campaign throughout the Party to study the system of core socialist values. We need to incorporate the system of core socialist values throughout national education, cultural and ethical development, and Party building; all areas of reform, opening up and socialist modernization; and the whole process of creating, producing and disseminating non-material and cultural products. The system of core socialist values cannot be built in a day; it is both a pressing task at the present, and a long-term strategic task. Unremitting and consistent efforts will be required to truly make it the general consensus of the Party and society, and to transform it into the conscious action of cadres and the general public.

 Third, our fundamental purpose must be to satisfy the people’s non-material and cultural needs. In order to satisfy the people’s demands for the realization of their cultural rights and interests as well as the enrichment of their non-material and cultural life, we must vigorously promote the flourishing of cultural creations, and enrich and improve the quality of people’s cultural lives. We need to increase investment in the cultural development of urban and rural communities, thoroughly implement key cultural projects to benefit the people, and accelerate the development of public cultural infrastructure. We need to strengthen our guidance over cultural creation and production so that cultural workers may adhere to the correct stance in the field of culture; exalt the true, the good and the beautiful and denounce the false, the evil and the ugly; integrate academic exploration and artistic creation into the cause of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation; and create literary and artistic products that are excellent both ideologically and artistically, and welcomed and enjoyed by the people. We need to develop a healthy Internet culture so that the Internet and other emerging forms of media can truly become a new front for advanced socialist culture, a new platform for public cultural services, and a new intellectual and cultural space for the people. We need to organize and launch cultural activities that people are willing to and able to participate in readily, and guide them in expressing, educating, and serving themselves in the course of cultural development so as to promote cultural prosperity and development by relying on the people’s wisdom and strength.

 Fourth, our driving force must come from reform and innovation. Only by deepening the reform of the cultural system and making innovations in the content and form of culture will we be able to constantly liberate and develop cultural productive forces and constantly provide strong impetus for the great development and flourishing of socialist culture. Centering on efforts to establish systems and mechanisms that are full of vitality, highly efficient, more open, and conducive to the scientific development of culture, we will strive to make new progress in key areas and crucial links, and clear the institutional and structural obstacles that are constraining the development of culture. We need to deepen reforms of cultural organizations for public welfare, state-owned commercial cultural institutions, and the cultural management system by accelerating the transformation of government functions and strengthening the legal system pertaining to culture. We need to accelerate the development of a public cultural service system, make innovations in the operating mechanisms of public cultural services, and constantly improve the capacity and standards of cultural organizations for public welfare. We need to make the cultural industry larger, more intensive and more specialized, optimize its structure, and integrate the development of culture and science in order to establish the cultural industry as a pillar of the national economy. Centering on efforts to enhance the international influence and competitiveness of Chinese culture, we need to actively develop the international cultural market, create a new model for taking Chinese culture global, and constantly increase China’s soft power in culture.

 Party committees and governments at all levels need to emphasize the important position of cultural development in their overall work, include cultural development in overall plans for economic and social development, and study, plan, organize, implement, oversee and inspect cultural development in conjunction with economic and social development. We need to conscientiously implement investigations and studies, review experiences, discover problems, formulate implementation opinions in light of realities, define work duties, and put forward concrete requirements so as to ensure that the objectives, tasks, policies and measures set forth by the plenary session can be truly implemented. We need to use the evaluation system for scientific development to assess cultural reform and development results, and use these results as an important basis for gauging the work performance of leading bodies and leading cadres. We need to give higher priority to the development of personnel in the field of culture, commit larger efforts to the cultivation of younger personnel, high-level personnel and multi-faceted personnel, and strive to foster an influential group of famous persons and masters in the field of culture as well as leading personages in every field in order to build up a large contingent of personnel in the field of culture. We need to devote major efforts to initiatives concerning intellectuals, give full play to the enthusiasm and creativity of intellectuals, and closely unite them around the Party. In summary, the entire Party must implement the principles set forth by the plenary session and strive to create a new phase in the development of socialist culture as we work towards building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and take the path of scientific development.


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.1, 2012) 

Note: / This is a portion of a speech delivered by General Secretary Hu Jintao at the second meeting of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee.

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