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Harmonious culture and cultural harmony
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14:48, July 24, 2007

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"Confronted with the surging tide of ideologies and cultures of all kinds in the contemporary world, confronted with national development and demands of the Chinese people for cultural development with the improvement of their livelihood and confronted with the varied, lively situation in the social and cultural life, it is a vital, practical topic placed before us to find out and set the direction and position for the development of China's culture, to create a new glory of the national culture and to upgrade the soft power of the country."

President Hu Jintao, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the above statement at the 8th Congress of Writers and Artists and concurrently the 7th Congress of the Writers' Representatives.

The cause of our culture has been built and developed in the set-up of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the CPC; the theoretical basis guiding its thinking is Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and the important thought of "Three Represents" (That is, the CPC must always represent the development trend of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China.)

The cultural cause, cultural phenomena, cultural achievements and cultural traditions, guided by our mainstream ideology, have more extensive, varied contents, and so need all the more to be naturally selected, shaped, altered, developed and accumulated in the long process of history and the global vision of the world. So we have to face up the diversity, step-by-step progress, universality and protracted nature of the Chinese culture, respect and correctly use the law guiding the culture itself.

A culture has been shaped out of the long-standing inertia of history and, at the same time, it is bound to accept the guiding ideology and gear to some sort of social system.

In case of religious cultures, Confucian culture or doctrine, ancient classics of the Chinese nation and trends of thought from the Western world, some of their concepts or ideas, though contradictory with our ideology, can still be sorted out, selected, standardized and even carried forward by means of drawing on their advantages while shunning hazardous effects with the use of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of "Three Represents" and the scientific outlook on development, and be turned into our cultural, spiritual resources and assets.

The proposition of a harmonious society and a harmonious world constitutes an important, crucial idea for bringing forth cultural revitalization and the new brilliance of the Chinese nation. By a harmonious culture, it is meant to respect the tradition of basing virtue under Confucius upon "harmony with differences" while exploring extensively our cultural resources and cultural ideas or beliefs.

The prerequisite for creating a harmonious culture is the cultural harmony, this is, to avoid sectarian bias culturally, moderate possible cultural clashes and unfold serious, benign cultural criticism, so as to give scope to the steering role of the guiding ideology.

The proposition of a harmonious world has inspired us to take the initiative of value concept amid a raging and fierce rivalry. In this world, we should act not only as the defender of our own culture but an explorer and promoter of the harmony -- a new, universally-accepted, lofty idea.

The proposition of a harmonious culture facilitates our cultural innovation and cultural integration. Instead of seeking the wholesale Westernization or the "return to the ancients," we are working to foster the new, cultural spirit in the process of creating the history by incorporating things of diverse nature, enrich and enhance our ranks and make innovations on our own, so as to face up the world, the future and the modernization.

This will represent the cultural life and cultural deluge, which not only highly develop traditions but draw on the excellent outcome of all modern civilizations, which are imbued not only with vivid national hallmarks but echo the tide of human civilization and meet on a wide-ranging scale the cultural requirements of different regions (including compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and people of Chinese ancestry worldwide), at different levels, from different ethnicities, and with different beliefs and character of the Chinese nationals, while displaying the concepts of socialism.

This represents a culture, both ancient and modern, a culture vibrant with life and a classic, splendid culture, as well as an elite and elegant culture, and a culture close to people and loved by them. So it constitute an indispensable part of the human civilization.

By People's Daily Online and its author Wang Meng is chairman of the Committee of Cultural and Historical Data of the CPPCC National Committee and an honorary vice-chairman of the Chinese Writers' Association

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