Firmly Grasping the Guiding Thought of Cultural Reform and Development

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2012-03-31 14:17
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 The Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Major Issues Pertaining to Deepening Reform of the Cultural System and Promoting the Great Development and Flourishing of Socialist Culture was passed at the Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee. Taking into account changes in the state of the world, the country and the Party, the Decision defined the guiding thought of cultural reform and development under a new situation with a view to building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and promoting socialist modernization. The guiding thought requires 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. We must also take scientific development as our theme, take developing the system of core socialist values as our fundamental task, take satisfying the people’s non-material and cultural needs as our purpose and objective, and take reform and innovation as our source of impetus. We must develop a national, scientific and popular socialist culture geared to the needs of 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. Accurately understanding and fully implementing this guiding thought will be of great and far-reaching significance for maintaining the orientation toward advanced socialist culture and creating a new phase in the development of socialist culture in the course of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and taking the path of scientific development. In order to achieve this objective, we must exert ourselves in the following areas:

 Members of the village troupe in Halagui Village, Chaoyang County, Liaoning Province, performing for their fellow villagers. The village troupe, which comprises entirely of local farmers, was founded in 1949. The farmers take to the stage during the slack season and return to farming during the busy season. / Photo by Xinhua

 First, we must continue to take Marxism as our guide and adhere to the orientation toward advanced socialist culture. The issue of primary importance in cultural development is the kind of culture and the values that we advocate, as this demonstrates the nature of a political party and determines the orientation of a country’s development. Marxism, as a scientific theory, is what gives advanced socialist culture its advanced nature. Marxism reveals the natural laws behind the development of human society, firmly safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. It is a scientific theory that guides people in pushing forward social progress and creating an ideal means of life. The CPC has held high the banner of Marxism since it was founded, constantly adapting Marxism to China’s conditions, the times and the masses. This has culminated in two major theoretical accomplishments, the first being Mao Zedong Thought, and the second being the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which includes major strategic ideologies such as Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. These theoretical accomplishments are the basic pointers for the progress of Chinese culture. It was Marxism that injected advanced ideological connotations into Chinese culture, arming the Chinese people with a scientific and powerful ideological weapon, and greatly liberating them ideologically and in spirit. As Mao Zedong said, “Since they learned Marxism-Leninism, the Chinese people have ceased to be passive in spirit and gained the initiative.” China’s cultural sphere is presently undergoing broad and profound changes, resulting in greater diversity in the ideas and values present in society, greater complexity in trends of thought, and an obvious increase in the independence, selectiveness, changeability and differences of individual thought. Thus, it has become more important that we adhere to the orientation toward advanced socialist culture, and more pressing that we exert the guiding role of the main theme amidst diversity. We must uphold the guiding position of Marxism in ideology, and give play to the leading role of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics in cultural development, so as to ensure that cultural development stays on the right track. We must apply Marxist stands, viewpoints and methods to study and resolve conflicts and issues confronting cultural reform and development, and distinguish between the mainstream and the non-mainstream, differentiate between the advanced and the backward, and clearly divide the positive from the negative amidst the complexity of social ideas and society’s cultural landscape, so as to effectively guide trends of thought in society and suppress decadent cultural influences. In accordance with the realities of cultural reform and development, we must effectively balance the relationships between emphasizing the main theme and advocating diversity, between educating people and satisfying the people’s diverse non-material and cultural needs, and between social benefits and economic benefits, and constantly consolidate and expand the mainstream socialist ideology and culture. We must liberate the mind, seek truth from facts, move forward with the times, and grasp the features and requirements of cultural reform and development under the new situation through the course of practice. By doing so, we will be able to constantly deepen our understanding of the laws that govern cultural development, improve our theories, principles and policies on cultural development, and provide powerful theoretical guidance for the progression of cultural reform and development. 

 Second, we must advance and enrich Chinese culture and take a path of cultural development with Chinese characteristics on the basis of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China has created a vast and rich culture over more than five thousand years. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, we have established the basic socialist system and embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the CPC. China’s profound cultural traditions and its realistic political foundations dictate that China’s cultural development must follow a path with Chinese characteristics, and that China cannot simply copy Western models. Since the adoption of the reform and opening up policy, the active exploration and pioneering innovation of the CPC has allowed it to take China onto a path of cultural development with Chinese characteristics. Suited to the realities of China and conforming to the requirements of the times, it is the only correct path for the development of advanced socialist culture and the flourishing of Chinese culture. Adherence to this path demands that we carry forward the fine cultural traditions of our nation. The cultures of all countries have their own traditions and fixed roots. Our outstanding traditional culture embodies the Chinese nation’s spirit of constant self-improvement and its enduring intellectual treasure, which make it a solid foundation for the development of advanced socialist culture. With a strong sense of responsibility toward the nation, toward history and toward future generations, we must see it as our obligation to pass down the finest elements of our national culture. To winnow the grain from the chaff, make the past serve the present, and bring forth the new from the old, we must delve into our traditional culture and extract those ideological values that we deem beneficial. By doing so, we will be able to develop an outstanding culture with a distinctly Chinese character and build a common spiritual home for the Chinese nation. The great initiative of socialism with Chinese characteristics should form the basis for our adherence to the path of cultural development with Chinese characteristics. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has brought about China’s rapid and sound economic development, constant improvements to the living standards of the people, and a vibrant and vital society. At the same time, it is also a road that has constantly fostered new ways of thinking and new cultural elements. As the great initiative to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics surges forward, new ways of thinking, new concepts, and new ideas are born every time that China makes a major achievement, passes a major test, and makes a major breakthrough. We must conscientiously identify the new experiences that we have gained during the course of our initiatives, draw from the great creativity of the general public to carry out cultural creation, and realize cultural progress during the march of history. Adherence to the path of cultural development with Chinese characteristics demands that we actively assimilate the outstanding cultural achievements of other countries. The world has a diverse array of cultures. Each with its own merits, these cultures are the common spiritual treasure of humankind. We should, therefore, approach foreign cultures with a broader mind and a wider embrace, and actively engage the other cultures of the world. We should boldly absorb and borrow from all practices and outstanding achievements that are beneficial for the development of Chinese culture, and boldly study and apply the newest cultural concepts and scientific achievements, so as to provide a constant source of nourishment for the building of a common spiritual home for the Chinese nation. 

 Third, we must take scientific development as our theme and realize the sound and rapid development of culture. The Scientific Outlook on Development is a concentrated expression of the Marxist world outlook and methodology with regard to development. It not only reflects the CPC’s scientific grasp of current development trends in the world and the orientation for the development 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. Scientific development is not just the dominant theme in the work of the Party and the government, but also the distinctive theme of socialist cultural initiatives. In line with actual conditions in cultural reform and development, we must guide our cultural development with the Scientific Outlook on Development and ensure that the principles of scientific development penetrate all aspects of cultural reform and development. We must always regard development as our utmost priority and use development to resolve issues that are inherent in cultural development. We should continue to put people first, take all factors into consideration, and work to properly balance these factors. On this basis, we should concentrate on the resolution of major issues affecting the scientific development of culture, strike a sound balance between the various fields and facets of cultural development, and correctly understand and properly address all of the major factors related to the reform and development of culture so as to constantly make cultural development more scientific. We must place emphasis on the development of both cultural programs and cultural industries. On this basis, we should scientifically identify the respective responsibilities and functions of the government and the market in cultural development and improve relevant policy measures in order to promote the all-around flourishing of cultural programs and the rapid development of cultural industries. We need to view the transformation of the pattern of cultural development as a major task and resolve pressing issues in regard to the distribution and layout of the cultural sector and the allocation of cultural resources. We need to strengthen macro-control and improve policy measures to direct more cultural resources toward the countryside and local communities and toward old revolutionary base areas, ethnic minority areas, border areas and poverty-stricken areas. In addition, we need to devote great efforts to 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 enhance the benefits of cultural development.

 Fourth, we must take developing the system of core socialist values as our fundamental task and strengthen the common ideological and moral foundation upon which the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups work together in unity. Both the past and the present have demonstrated that no culture can thrive without a system of core values to hold it together. The system of core socialist values is rooted in the outstanding traditional culture of the Chinese nation and advanced socialist culture, and has constantly absorbed the fruits of human civilization during the process of modernization. Therefore, it is this system of core socialist values that will guide the development of socialist culture. In the effort to promote the development and flourishing of socialist culture, we must work to develop this fundamental system of core socialist values by strengthening education and guidance, forming a stronger social consensus, and improving institutional guarantees. We must incorporate our system of core socialist values throughout the entire course of national education, cultural and ethical development, and Party building; throughout all areas of reform, opening up and socialist modernization; and throughout the entire process of creating, producing and disseminating intellectual and cultural products. We must continue to use the system of core socialist values to guide trends of thought in society, and in doing so, create a unified guiding thought, common ideals and convictions, strong moral fiber, and basic ethical standards throughout the Party and all of society. We need to use the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics to equip the whole Party and educate the people, adapt Marxism to China’s conditions, the times and the masses, and use the developing Marxism to guide new initiatives. With the focus on ideals and convictions, we need to thoroughly carry out education in regard to current affairs and state policies, national conditions, revolutionary traditions, reform and opening up, and national defense. By guiding cadres and the general public in clearly distinguishing the truth from falsehood and clarifying their confused ideas about important ideological and theoretical issues, we shall encourage them to be more conscientious and resolute in adhering to the banner, the path, and the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We need to carry out education in national spirit and the spirit of the times on a broad scale, carry out publicity and education in regard to the socialist conception of honor and disgrace, launch mass activities that foster cultural and ethical progress, and engage in volunteer services. In addition, we need to strengthen education in social ethics, professional ethics, family virtue and individual morality, and improve the ideological and moral education of young people, so as to develop a culture of harmony and cultivate civilized social trends. We need to act quickly to formulate and promulgate a framework for the development of the system of core socialist values. We will thoroughly carry out a campaign to teach all members of the Party about the system of core socialist values, and thereby allow Party members and cadres to set an example in the practice of these values and assert themselves as staunch believers of the lofty ideal of communism and the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 Fifth, we must take satisfying the people’s non-material and cultural needs as our purpose and objective and safeguard the people’s basic cultural rights and interests. The issue of fundamental importance for the development of culture is who culture is developed for and who the development of culture is dependent on, as this has a decisive bearing on the nature and the orientation of socialist culture. Socialist culture with Chinese characteristics is, in essence, a culture of the masses, as it is developed and enjoyed by all of the people. To maintain the dominant position of the people and always stand alongside the people are the essential requirements of socialism. They are also an important manifestation of the CPC’s tenets of “serving the public good and governing for the people.” To govern and use its power wisely, the Party not only has an obligation to realize and develop the economic rights and interests and the political rights and interests of the people, but is also obliged to ensure the people’s cultural rights and interests. With standards of living shifting from subsistence to moderate prosperity, consumer spending in culture has entered a period of rapid growth. The general public is becoming more and more eager to realize their cultural rights and interests and lead rich cultural lives. In the effort to promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture, we must continue to put people first. We must serve the people, satisfy their non-material and cultural needs, promote all-around personal development, and foster a general public that is more ideologically and morally aware and more accomplished in science and culture. This way we shall cultivate socialist citizens with high ideals, moral integrity, a good education and a strong sense of discipline. We must keep the orientation of creation centered on the people, draw ideas from their work and lives, learn from their great creativity, and view them as our teachers. We should take public satisfaction as the highest criterion for evaluating cultural products and take into account the lives and wishes of the people in order to create literary and artistic products that are excellent both ideologically and artistically, and welcomed and enjoyed by the people. The abundance of culture will allow people to lead even happier lives. The focus of our efforts should be directed towards the grassroots and serving the people. We should give full consideration to people’s capacity for cultural consumption, and safeguard the cultural rights and interests of low-income people and special groups. We should make cultural consumption more accessible and encourage the production of large numbers of outstanding and reasonably priced cultural products that people are willing to pay for, thereby ensuring that all people can benefit from cultural development. We should launch cultural activities that the people are willing to and able to readily participate in, encourage the development of various cultural fronts, and support the establishment of various cultural associations in accordance with the law. We should guide the people in expressing, educating and serving themselves in the course of cultural development, and rely on their wisdom and strength to promote the great development and flourishing of culture.

 Sixth, we must take reform and innovation as our source of impetus and constantly inject fresh vitality into cultural development. Reform and innovation are strong driving forces underpinning the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics as well as the great development and flourishing of culture. Only by infusing the spirit of reform and innovation throughout the whole process of cultural development, constantly deepening the reform of the cultural system, and creating new content and forms of culture will we be able to further liberate and develop cultural productive forces and promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture. In recent years, the reform of the Chinese culture system has gone progressively deeper, going from focusing on certain areas to a broader approach. The pace and intensity of reform have also been stepped up on a constant basis. As a result, important breakthroughs have been made in certain key areas and crucial links, and the results are gradually becoming apparent. The reform of the culture system has now entered a crucial stage in which difficult issues must be overcome. The broader and deeper the reform goes, the more it will involve deep-seated issues and problems. We must continue to promote the development and flourishing of culture through reform, strengthen efforts, focus on key areas, and progress on all fronts while unswervingly adhering to the direction and goals set by the central leadership. On this basis, we should work to deepen the reform of cultural organizations for public welfare, speed up the transformation of state-owned commercial cultural institutions into enterprises, accelerate the transformation of government functions, create a new model for taking Chinese culture global and strengthen the legal system pertaining to culture. In this way we shall remove the institutional barriers that are impeding cultural development and develop systems and mechanisms that are full of vitality, highly effective, more open, and conducive to the development of culture in a scientific way. Culture is the area most in need of innovation, as innovation is a fundamental trait of culture. Generally speaking, the history of human culture is actually one of cultural innovation. Both the strategy of making China an innovative country and the need to satisfy the diverse, multi-level and multi-faceted non-material and cultural demands of the people require us to strongly promote cultural innovation. Moreover, significant efforts to promote cultural innovation are also called for if we are to seize the initiative in fierce international competition in the field of culture and make renewed contributions to the progress of human civilization. We must allow creative spirit to permeate the whole process of cultural creation and production, foster democracy in academia and art, encourage equal discussion between different views and schools, and work hard to create a social environment in which innovation is encouraged. In an environment where all creative undertakings receive support, all creative talent can live up to their potential, and all creative achievements are commended, creativity will become the main theme and the prevalent tone in the field of culture. We must promote the application of modern science and technology in the cultural creation and production and encourage the crossover of different art forms and cultural activities, so that we can adapt to new characteristics in people’s cultural demands and changes in aesthetic tastes. In addition, we should make good use of audio, optical and electronic technologies to highlight the presentation of culture and encourage the comprehensive development of genres, themes, forms and methods. We should promote vigorous innovation in terms of concepts, content, styles and schools.

 Finally, we must cultivate a high degree of cultural self-awareness and self-confidence and strive to build a country with a strong socialist culture. China is a country with an ancient civilization and abundant cultural resources. Despite this, however, it is yet to become a country with a leading cultural influence. The strategic goal of building a country with a strong socialist culture is fitting in with China’s rich cultural foundation and abundant cultural resources, in accord with the overall cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and in line with the goal of building a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country. It has been introduced in light of the tide of the times and the wishes of the people, and will help to bring together all forces in the effort to promote the great development and flourishing of socialist culture. To realize this objective, we must cultivate a high degree of cultural self-awareness and self-confidence throughout the Party and society, which will serve as the ideological basis and prerequisite for developing a country with a strong socialist culture. The past and the present both show that the awakening of a nation begins with cultural awakening, and that a confident nation must first have confidence in its culture. Whether or not a nation or a political party can demonstrate a high degree of cultural self-awareness and self-confidence not only determines whether culture will develop and thrive, but also determines the future and fate of that nation or political party. The world is currently going through a period of great development, momentous changes, and enormous adjustments, and China is currently working towards new objectives at this new starting point in history. As the importance of culture in overall national strength becomes increasingly apparent and its role in economic and social development continues to expand, the influence of culture has become broader and deeper than ever before. These new situations and tasks urgently require that we strengthen cultural self-awareness and self-confidence. We must fully recognize the importance of culture in the rejuvenation and development of the Chinese nation and master the laws that govern cultural reform and development. On this basis, we must be more aware of our responsibility to use advanced culture to direct the progress of society as well as our responsibility to carry forward the finest aspects of our national culture. We must be more aware of our responsibility to satisfy the non-material and cultural demands of the people, safeguard their basic cultural rights and interests, strengthen the country’s cultural soft power, and safeguard the country’s cultural security. We must strongly uphold our cultural ideals. By rationally engaging in cultural reflection, cultural comparison, and looking towards the prospects for culture in the future, we should fully recognize the unique strengths and potential of Chinese culture and constantly strengthen the faith we have in our path and in our goals. As long as we adhere to the socialist cultural development path with Chinese characteristics, we are sure to create a brilliant culture that is worthy of history, worthy of the times we live in, and true to the expectations of the people. 


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.22, 2011)

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