Xi calls for advancing study of Chinese civilization
2022-06-02 13:14

On Friday afternoon, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, presided over the 39th group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to further a national research project on tracing the origins of Chinese civilization.

Chinese civilization is extensive and profound, and has a long history stretching back to antiquity. It is the cultural identity of the Chinese nation, the foundation of the contemporary Chinese culture, the cultural bond holding all Chinese around the globe together, and it is the treasure trove inspiring cultural innovation, Xi stressed.

Over the long course of history, the Chinese nation, with perseverance and determination, has endured hardships and traveled extensively and has ventured a course of development different from other civilizations. We should gain an in-depth knowledge of Chinese civilization's development over more than 5,000 years and extend researches into its history, so that all members of the Party and society at large will develop a keener awareness of our history, build up cultural confidence, adhere to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and work together to build a socialist modern country in all respects and realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Xi noted.

Wang Wei, director and researcher with Academic Division of History under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, gave a lecture on this issue and proposed suggestions. After the lecture, members of the Political Bureau conducted a discussion.

Xi made a speech while chairing the study session. He stressed that our Party has always viewed the history of the Chinese nation from the standpoint of historical materialism and has inherited and carried forward fine traditional Chinese culture. Through the continuous efforts of several generations of scholars, the research results of major projects, such as the project to trace the origins of Chinese civilization, proved that China's history includes million years of humanity, 10,000 years of culture, and more than 5,000 years of civilization. The project to trace the origins of Chinese civilization has made marked achievements, but there is still a long way to go. It should be continued and furthered.

Xi stressed that the project to trace the origins of Chinese civilization has provided a clear knowledge of the origins and formation of Chinese civilization, the history of its development, the process of the formation and development of its pluralistic and integrated pattern, and its characteristics and why it was formed in such a way. At the same time, he added, the results that have been achieved so far are still preliminary and phased, and that there are still many historical mysteries to be unraveled and a number of major issues, on which consensus is yet to be reached through evidence and further study.

Xi noted that the latest technologies of such frontier subjects as biology, molecular biology, chemistry, geoscience, and physics have been used on the analysis of our country's ancient historical remains, which has provided the origin-tracing of Chinese civilization with solid scientific base, and broadened our knowledge of the country's 5,000-plus-year history. Tracing the origins of a civilization and research on its formation is a complex, time-consuming, and systematic project. Archaeological exploration and literature research should be combined with tools and methods of natural sciences. Factors including material and cultural conditions and forms of social relations should be comprehensively studied, so as to gradually restore the development path of a civilization from its birth to prosperity. Overall planning and sound arrangements should be strengthened so that experts in archaeology, history, humanity studies, and natural sciences can make joint efforts to make breakthroughs. Endeavor jointly made by different disciplines, from different angles, on different levels, and with different approaches will expand the coverage and range of such studies. As a result, questions will be answered concerning the origins and formation of Chinese civilization, the path of its development, its internal mechanisms, and the evolution paths of all regional civilizations.

Xi stressed that the project has put forward its own definition of civilization and its solution to develop a more civilized world, which has made creative contributions to the research on tracing the origins of the world civilization. A good job must be done as far as the promotion, publicity, and transformation of the research results of China's theory on ancient civilizations and the project to trace the origins of Chinese civilization are concerned. Research, interpretation, display, and dissemination of unearthed cultural relics and sites should be strengthened to advance the influence and appeal of Chinese civilization.

Xi noted that over the past more than 5,000 years, the Chinese people have created a splendid civilization and made significant contributions to the progress of human civilization. We should link the study on the origins of Chinese civilization with that on other major issues including the features and forms of Chinese civilization and, through the interpretation on the origins of Chinese civilization, we will explore and explain how a sense of community among the Chinese people has been developed and how the Chinese people of all ethnic groups are united in diversity. We should carry out researches on the essential characteristics and the development pattern of Chinese civilization, which features benevolence, emphasis on people's lives, respect for justice and integrity, righteousness, and universal harmony, and elaborate on the profound cultural resources on which the Chinese path is based.

With regard to traditional Chinese culture, Xi noted that we should make the past serve the present, break new ground from the old, and carry forward its fine elements. We should establish discipline, academic, and discourse systems with Chinese characteristics, style, and flair for the study of civilizations, so as to provide strong theoretical support for new forms of human civilization practice.

Xi stressed that China's fine traditional culture represents the wisdom and essence of Chinese civilization, is the root and soul of the Chinese nation, and serves as the foundation for China to gain a firm footing amidst global cultural interaction. We have integrated the basic tenets of Marxism with China's actual conditions and with China's fine traditional culture, constantly adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times and promoting the creative transformation and development of our fine traditional Chinese culture. We should continue innovating on the basis of past experience, adapting China's fine traditional culture to socialist society and displaying the unique symbol of the Chinese nation so as to bolster the Chinese spirit, Chinese values, and Chinese strength. We should adhere to Marxism as the fundamental guiding ideology, carry forward our revolutionary culture, develop advanced socialist culture, and extract vitality from China's fine traditional culture. We should make full use of achievements from studies such as the ones on the origins of Chinese civilization to develop a more complete and accurate historiography of ancient China and make history a book for people to learn from.

Since ancient times, Chinese civilization has been known for its openness and inclusiveness, and it has gained new vitality through exchanges and mutual learning with other civilizations. We will uphold and promote civilization concepts that emphasize equality, mutual learning, dialogue, and inclusiveness and understand different civilizations' recognitions of their own value connotations with an open mind, Xi said. We should respect different countries' and peoples' exploration of their own development paths. We should remove civilization misunderstandings through cultural exchanges, avoid civilization clashes by learning from each other, and replace civilization supremacy with coexistence of civilizations. We should carry forward the common values of humanity that Chinese civilization epitomizes and promote the development of a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.

We should keep a foothold on the ground of China, tell stories of Chinese civilization well, and present a credible, lovable, and respectable image of China to the world. We should state clearly what kind of civilization and country China is, and tell clearly about Chinese people's outlook on the universe, the world, society, and their morality. We need to do whatever we can to exhibit the long history and cultural heritage of Chinese civilization, and encourage the world to better understand China, the Chinese people, the CPC, and the Chinese nation, Xi said.

Xi stressed that cultural relics and cultural heritage carry the genes and blood of the Chinese nation, and they are China's nonrenewable and irreplaceable cultural resources. We need to make cultural relics and heritage play their own role in cultural development and create a social atmosphere that facilitates efforts to carry on our fine traditional culture. We should actively promote the protection and utilization of cultural relics and the protection and inheritance of cultural heritage, explore the multiple values of cultural relics and heritage, and promote cultural products and value symbols that embody Chinese culture and spirit.

Xi pointed out that officials at all levels should attach importance to the protection of cultural relics and inheritance of cultural heritage, and provide more policy support for historical and archaeological researchers to conduct research, study, and exchanges. We should foster an atmosphere for imparting and inheriting China’s fine traditional culture and widely publicize research results of those projects that aim to explore the origins of Chinese civilization. We should also educate and guide people, especially young people, to better understand and identify with Chinese civilization, and enhance Chinese people’s aspiration, moral integrity, and self-confidence.