Con­fi­dence in cul­ture vi­tal to re­nais­sance

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

In re­cent years, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has been re­it­er­at­ing that, to re­vive the na­tion, we must re­main con­fi­dent as ever of the path, the­o­ries, sys­tem and cul­ture of so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. Artists should learn to draw essence and power from Chi­nese cul­ture to cre­ate clas­si­cal works to in­spire peo­ple.

How should the coun­try and in­di­vid­u­als draw con­fi­dence from Chi­nese cul­ture? And what is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the cul­tural her­itage of more than 5,000 years and cul­tural con­fi­dence?

It’s not easy to un­der­stand the far-reach­ing sig­nif­i­cance of the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s con­fi­dence in the path, the­o­ries, sys­tem and cul­ture of the coun­try de­spite many of th­ese as­pects be­ing part of in­di­vid­u­als’ daily lives. Even if a per­son is de­ter­mined to achieve a goal, he or she may face prob­lems when it comes to hav­ing cul­tural con­fi­dence based on his own char­ac­ter and morals. But the per­son could fig­ure out his or her life’s goal (path), the rea­sons be­hind that goal (the­o­ries) and the best way to re­al­ize that goal (sys­tem). And cul­tural con­fi­dence can in­spire that per­son to achieve his or her goal.

In the same way, cul­tural con­fi­dence can help a coun­try to pur­sue and achieve the dream of na­tional re­ju­ve­na­tion.

In the past, doubts about our tra­di­tional cul­ture un­der­mined our cul­tural con­fi­dence, and forced us to wan­der in search of the right an­swers for in­di­vid­ual and so­cial eman­ci­pa­tion. The lack of the right ap­proach to tra­di­tional cul­ture could prompt many peo­ple to con­ceive it as list­less, if not flawed.

Many Chi­nese TV dra­mas have high­lighted the wil­i­ness of of­fi­cials, the trick­eries of the job mar­ket, the cri­sis of trust in in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ships and the “power” of vested in­ter­est groups. When au­di­ences seem con­vinced that hu­mans by na­ture are weak and thus sus­cep­ti­ble to cor­rup­tion, it be­comes nec­es­sary to ag­gres­sively pro­mote moral­ity and pro­bity in so­ci­ety.

Thanks to China’s strength­en­ing na­tional power and the top lead­er­ship’s pro­mo­tion of tra­di­tional cul­ture as a unique strate­gic re­source, the pub­lic has grad­u­ally come to re­al­ize that tra- di­tional cul­ture needs to be put on the devel­op­ment agenda.

By giv­ing a new life to tra­di­tional cul­ture, the Party has pro­foundly strength­ened our cul­tural con­fi­dence in the fu­ture in at least four as­pects.

First, the re­vival of tra­di­tional cul­ture of­fers a solid ba­sis for the re­ju­ve­na­tion of Chi­nese na­tion and re­al­iz­ing the Chi­nese Dream. The re­ju­ve­na­tion of the na­tion, how­ever, is not lim­ited to ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and safe­guard­ing State sovereignty; it also means re­nais­sance of the Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tion.

Se­cond, the re­vival of tra­di­tional cul­ture has strength­ened our sense of his­tory and unity. China has a long and pro­found his­tory, which mo­ti­vates us to con­struct our cul­tural con­fi­dence as mem­bers of a lead­ing world power, and to help other coun­tries to dis­tin­guish China from the rest of the world.

Third, tra­di­tional cul­ture’s re­vival can help us find the roots of our civ­i­liza­tion while also mak­ing it part of our daily life. If we ex­tract the best parts of tra­di­tional cul- ture such as friend­ship, virtue, rec­i­proc­ity, har­mony, benev­o­lence and loy­alty, and fit them into the so­cial­ist core val­ues, we can trace con­cepts such as “peo­ple-based” so­ci­ety, eco­log­i­cal civ­i­liza­tion, rule of law and the eman­ci­pa­tion of minds to tra­di­tional cul­ture. And by us­ing th­ese con­cepts to seek so­lu­tions to the con­tem­po­rary so­ci­ety’s prob­lems, we can demon­strate our cul­tural con­fi­dence.

And fourth, the re­vival of tra­di­tional cul­ture can in­vig­o­rate China’s power strat­egy. Amid the trend of global eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, tra­di­tional cul­tural con­cepts such as “all na­tions live side by side in per­fect har­mony” and “benev­o­lence and good-neigh­bor­li­ness” will help the peace­ful rise of China and con­trib­ute to world peace and devel­op­ment.

... cul­tural con­fi­dence can help a coun­try to pur­sue and achieve the dream of na­tional re­ju­ve­na­tion.

The au­thor is a pro­fes­sor at the School of So­ci­ol­ogy and Pop­u­la­tion Stud­ies, and a re­search fel­low at the Na­tional Academy of Devel­op­ment and Strat­egy, Ren­min Univer­sity of China.

Chen Jin­song

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