To increase confidence, China steps up building its own philosophy

May. 18, 2017 10:12:00



Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses a symposium discussing the country's work in philosophy and social sciences in Beijing, capital of China, May 17, 2016. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)

By Li Zhihui

While China is increasingly confident in its dazzling economic growth in past decades, the country is placing urgency on building more basic and lasting confidence -- to generate its own great minds in philosophy and social sciences. 

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has recently pledged to step up building "philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics," a system including various fields such as history, economics, politics, culture, society, ecology and the military. 

People in these fields must shoulder their responsibilities, consolidate confidence in Chinese culture and enhance innovation in their field, said Liu Yunshan, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, at a high-level seminar held on Wednesday to promote the project. 

The remarks came just one year after Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made a speech at a symposium on the development of philosophy and social sciences. 

The speech, ranging from Marxism and the CPC leadership to talent cultivation and innovation, was regarded by academics and officials as a guiding thought on developing these fields. 

A country without advanced development of the natural sciences could not possibly be a leading nation, and neither can a country without booming achievements in philosophy and the social sciences, Xi said at the symposium held on May 17 last year. 


Chinese President Xi Jinping (C front) talks to experts during a symposium discussing the country's work in philosophy and social sciences in Beijing, capital of China, May 17, 2016. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)


Academics believe present day China requires great theory and great minds. 

As the country is undergoing the most profound and widespread social reform in its history, the nation's drive is expected to generate power and broad space for developing theory, said Professor Xie Chuntao with the CPC Central Committee Party School. 

He noted that China's performance in philosophy and social sciences has not kept up with its progress in reform and opening up, and efforts are needed to better sum up and analyze the country's successful endeavors. 

Academics must work harder to generate theories to support future development, Xie said. 

Chinese academics are finding it more difficult to use Western theories to interpret Chinese practices in the economy, politics and society. They are also not being understood by their Western colleagues when explaining what China is doing now. 

"As Chinese people have more engagement with the outside world, we have a deeper need for confidence," said Professor Wang Yiwei with Renmin University of China. "If we cannot build our own guiding ideology, discourses and academic systems of philosophy and social sciences, we will never gain confidence in our path and socialist system." 


At Wednesday's seminar, Liu stressed innovation is a key focus in developing China's philosophy and social sciences. 


Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, attends a symposium on the formation of philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics in Beijing, capital of China, May 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)

 The study should focus on contemporary China. Chinese theories need to interpret China's progress while the later needs to enrich the theories, he said. 

His remarks echoed a guideline issued Tuesday by the CPC Central Committee to promote the development of China's philosophy and social sciences. 

Academics are encouraged to combine the achievements of the country's traditional culture with foreign theories and innovate in knowledge, theories and methods, according to the guideline. 

As part of the innovation efforts, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has set up 19 think tanks focusing primarily on Marxism,  economics and finance, international relations, society and culture as well as border areas. By the end of 2016, the academy had completed almost 13,000 written studies, over 147,000 papers and more than 27,000 research reports. 


Stressing Marxism is the "soul and advantage" of China's philosophy and social sciences, Liu urged increasing the sinicization of Marxism. 

Studying new theories developed since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 is a priority, he said. 

Liu called on studies of Xi Jinping's speeches as well as new concepts, ideas and strategies of state governance, understand the Marxist stance, views and methods behind them, and apply the correct political directions and values in philosophy and social sciences. 

Xi's speeches are rich in content and deep in thought, including the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the "two centenary goals", overall arrangement of economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development, the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and the "four comprehensives." 

They also include the "new normal" theory, supply-side structural reform, democratic politics with Chinese characteristics, people-oriented development, ideological building, poverty eradication, a community of shared future, Party building, comprehensive state security and military strengthening. 

To better interpret Xi's speeches and thought, CASS has compiled 12 volumes of the studies answering major questions concerning the development of the Party and the country in the new era, said CASS President Wang Weiguang. 


Editor: Lu Ye


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