BEIJING, Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Chinese President Xi Jinping highly values culture and has a profound understanding of culture which has strengthened over time. Culture plays a vital role in inspiring national spirit, carrying forward civilizations, and promoting social development and well-rounded personal development.
In Xi’s words: “Without full confidence in our culture, without a rich and prosperous culture, the Chinese nation will not be able to rejuvenate itself.”
This article is the first of the Global Times’ Year-end Special on Culture articles, which review how the country and its people are advancing the national rejuvenation of culture with the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Culture.
The year 2023 is bound to be remembered for China’s profound progress in cultural advancement with a number of important speeches and theories put forward by President Xi Jinping, who expounded on traditional cultural enrichment and international civilization exchanges, which have in turn guided China’s international communication and contributed to mutual understanding among humanity’s various cultures.
Xi proposed the Global Civilization Initiative while delivering a keynote speech at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting on March 15.
Xi also called for integration of the basic tenets of Marxism with China’s specific realities and fine traditional culture at a meeting on cultural inheritance and development in June.
In October, Xi Jinping Thought on Culture was formally put forward for the first time at a national meeting on the work of public communication and culture in Beijing.
During the year, he also set clear tasks for public communication and culture: uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics, rally public support, cultivate generations of young people with sound values and ethics, develop Chinese culture, and better present China to the world.
The new ideas and judgments about cultural development in the new era put forward by Xi are the crystallization of cultural development under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, experts said.
“Xi Jinping Thought on Culture is broad, profound and rich in connotation, showing three characteristics: the integration of original achievements, the integration of systematic deployment, and the expansion of openness,” Wang Xuebin, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, told the Global Times on Sunday.
In the instruction at the national meeting on the work of public communication and culture in October, President Xi stressed building stronger cultural confidence, following the approach of openness and inclusiveness, and upholding fundamental principles while breaking new ground to provide a strong ideological guarantee, spiritual strength and favorable cultural conditions for building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.
“President Xi has put forward a series of original theories on cultural construction,” said Wang, also the chief expert of the Chinese Civilization and China’s Road Research at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
Major theoretical propositions such as cultural confidence, socialist core values, promoting the creative transformation and innovative development of China’s fine traditional culture, and exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations were all mentioned and emphasized at the national meeting on the work of public communication and culture.
Based on brilliant traditions
Rooted in China’s over 5,000 years of civilization, Xi Jinping Thought on Culture places a profound emphasis on the preservation and development of fine cultural traditions. A compelling illustration of this commitment is the Hangzhou Asian Games that concluded in early October.
From setting the flame lighting site in the ancient city of Liangzhu to drawing design inspiration for sports venues from the ancient ritual artifact known as “cong” and including two of the 24 Solar Terms in the opening and closing ceremonies, every meticulous detail embodies the fusion of Chinese civilization’s timeless essence with a contemporary twist.
The year 2023 saw President Xi’s inspection of various cultural spots across the country. In July, Xi inspected the historical and cultural block of Pingjiang Road in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province, where he learned about the city’s efforts in historical and cultural protection. He watched Pingtan (storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect) and appreciated the Suzhou embroidery artworks along the road.
While inspecting Jingdezhen City in October, China’s “porcelain capital,” Xi visited a historical and cultural block, where he witnessed the efforts to promote ceramic culture.
The fire from the kilns in Jingdezhen has burned for some 2,000 years, serving as a testament to the enduring legacy of Chinese civilization.
Confidence in one’s own culture, seen as a broader, deeper and more fundamental expression of self-confidence, stands as the most vital, profound and enduring wellspring of strength for the progress of a country and its people. “The vital and original theory of cultural confidence was finally refined by the Party during its grasp of the fundamental significance of culture in its modernization practice,” noted Wang.
Cultural confidence is rooted in China’s excellent traditional culture and has incomparable depth; with China’s long history as its axis, cultural confidence has unprecedented breadth; with a civilization that has continued for more than 5,000 years as its carrier, it has reached unique heights; with the century-long theoretical innovation of the Chinese Communists, it is the soul the country and has valuable depth; based on the real life of countless Chinese people, it has real warmth.
“Cultural confidence is a more basic, broader and deeper confidence, and a more basic, deeper and more lasting power,” said the professor.
Advocating mutual learning
Over the years, Xi’s thinking, viewpoints and assessments on cultural advancement have greatly boosted the cultural confidence of the entire Party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups, which has led to a better understanding of China and CPC around the globe.
Xi Jinping Thought on Culture will help the world better understand China and its uninterrupted civilization, as a misunderstanding of China often stems from a lack of knowledge about its traditions and historical context.
Stelios Virvidakis, a professor of University of Athens, has visited a number of Chinese cities in Sichuan, Shandong and other provinces to promote cultural exchanges between China and Greece. He and four other Greek scholars launched the Center of Chinese and Greek Ancient Civilizations in February, because “civilization should not be closed, but should have full exchanges and dialogues.”
In a reply letter to Virvidakis and other Greek scholars in February, Xi stressed that in the long course of human history, various nations have created civilizations with their own features and symbols, which jointly form a colorful garden of human civilization.
To promote the development of human society and jointly build a human community of shared future, it’s a must to have a deep understanding and grasp of the origins and rich contents of different civilizations and allow the essence of all civilizations to benefit the present generation and all mankind.
“Greece and China share so many similarities. The horizon for our cooperation and exchanges is vast. There are endless possibilities which have not been explored,” Virvidakis told the Global Times.
In September, he traveled to China for the Golden Panda Awards in Chengdu and Beijing Cultural Forum, calling for more and closer exchanges and mutual learning.
For Matias Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the orchestra’s tour to China in November not only reflects the importance that the US and China attach to cultural exchanges and a friendship that has lasted half a century, but also provides a good opportunity for cooperation and understanding between the two countries. Fifty years ago, in 1973, they made a historic tour to China, the first by a US orchestra, opening new possibilities for cultural ties between the two countries.
Tarnopolsky said he felt honored and grateful upon receiving a letter from Xi, in which the Chinese president expressed hopes that orchestras and artists from China, the US, and across the world will persist in efforts to strengthen people-to-people ties between China and the US, and spread friendship among the peoples of the world.
David Symington, deputy director of the Story of China Studies Institute at the China Institute for Innovation & Development Strategy, told the Global Times that Chinese culture and Western culture seem to be different, but in fact, both cultures also have a lot in common. Chinese and Western culture have much more in common than what sets them apart.
“Just like a poem by Su Shi, ‘I don’t know the true face of Mount Lu, just because I am in this mountain.’ Many times, we focus more on differences. There is still a lot of work that can be done to promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning between China and the West,” he noted.
Xi advocating for cultural mutual respect and mutual learning has provided guidance for China’s international communication and benefitted people on both sides.
In June, a group of US people returned to their old home from decades ago in Kuliang, East China’s Fuzhou, to be united with their Chinese neighbors. In November, when Xi visited San Francisco, he met these “Kuliang friends” there and appreciated their contribution to friendly exchanges. Their story was a manifestation of friendship not limited by cultural background or nationality.
Sun Jiashan, an associate researcher at the Central Academy of Culture and Tourism Administration, told the Global Times, “Deepening people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation and building a bridge of people-to-people ties is not an abstract idea, but a cultural practice with rich connotations.”
Through relevant cultural institutions such as the Central Academy of Culture and Tourism Administration, China is helping relevant countries and regions such as Syria and Afghanistan, which have profound cultural heritages but have been ravaged by war, to master the Chinese wisdom, experience and plans accumulated in cultural heritage protection as quickly as possible.
Starting with a series of important concepts that contribute to the whole world like a global community of shared future and the Global Civilization Initiative, it is important to have a global perspective to understand, study and research Xi Jinping Thought on Culture, Wang added.
SOURCE Global Times