Published: 14:35, June 12, 2023 | Updated: 14:39, June 12, 2023
Xi urges further cultural advancement
By Wang Ru in Shenzhen, Guangdong and Xu Wei in Beijing

In letter to forum, president stresses aspect’s importance in building modern Chinese civilization

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, participates in a meeting on cultural inheritance and development, and delivers an important speech in Beijing on June 2, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping underlined on June 7 the need to continue to boost cultural prosperity, make China a leading country in culture and build a modern Chinese civilization.

In a congratulatory letter to the opening of the first Forum on Building up China’s Cultural Strength, held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Xi called for continuous efforts to promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations.

The forum was held days after Xi presided over a symposium on cultural inheritance and development, during which he laid out a vision on building a modern Chinese civilization.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed the Party’s resolve to creating new glories of socialist culture.

He noted that the Party has given priority to cultural development in governance of the nation since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, and took solid steps in turning China into a country with a strong socialist culture.

Xi called for the across-the-board implementation of the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress, which was held in October last year.

He called for more efforts to shoulder the new cultural mission, consolidate cultural confidence, remain open and inclusive, uphold fundamental principles and break new ground, and encourage the cultural innovation and creativity of the whole nation.

Li Shulei, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, read out Xi’s letter and delivered a keynote speech at the forum.

He said that Xi’s congratulatory letter charted the path for shouldering new cultural missions and building a modern Chinese civilization.

Li urged efforts to study and implement Xi’s important instructions, and also called for advancing cultural prosperity and development.

“This forum is being held to focus on our goal of building up China’s cultural strength, and to gather wisdom and energy from all walks of life, promote continued efforts to make progress in the cultural field and open up new prospects,” Li added.

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Party secretary of Guangdong, and Tie Ning, vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, also attended the forum and delivered speeches.

The forum, hosted by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, bore the theme “Towards greater cultural confidence and mutual learning among civilizations”. It brought together officials from news organizations and publicity departments and scholars from think tanks.

Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, stressed the importance of preserving cultural heritage in building up cultural strength. He cited remarks made by President Xi during an inspection of Fujian province in March 2021 that “without the 5,000-year Chinese civilization, Chinese characteristics could not be formed. And without Chinese characteristics, the successful path of socialism with Chinese characteristics we follow today could not be found”. 

Several other scholars also voiced their ideas on Chinese civilization and modernization, including Chen Lai, director of the Tsinghua Academy of Chinese Learning; Zhao Tingyang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Philosophy; and Zheng Yongnian, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen). 

According to Chen, China’s modernization is different from that of Western countries. “Some foreigners consider Confucian culture and modernization to be contradictory, but that’s not true. People who grow up being influenced by Chinese culture and accept Confucian values can certainly achieve outstanding economic progress,” said Chen.

Zheng agreed, highlighting the contributions made by Chinese civilization to the world’s modernization, mainly in technological inventions in ancient times, as well as in political systems and philosophical concepts.

Zhao pointed to obstacles in communication between different civilizations and offered suggestions to overcome those hurdles.

On June 8, discussions took place at the forum on topics including fostering the development of art and literature, and building up the cultural strength of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

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