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Five Distinctive Features of Chinese Civilization

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-11-17

With a history stretching back to antiquity, China's fine traditional culture is extensive and profound. The best of traditional Chinese culture espouses many important principles and concepts, including the social ideals of pursuing common good for all and fostering social harmony, the principles of regarding the people as the foundation of the state and governing the country with integrity, the ideas of striving for great unity across the nation and being united in diversity, the values of practicing self-cultivation, maintaining family harmony, conducting good governance, guaranteeing peace, and shouldering one's duties to secure the future of the nation, the aspirations of embracing the world with virtue and cultivating integrity, the economic principles of enriching the people and considering both justice and interests, the ecological philosophy of promoting harmony between humanity and nature and ensuring all living things grow side by side, the philosophical tenets of seeking truth from facts and combining knowledge with action, the mindset of understanding multiple perspectives and seeking harmony through the middle way, and the communication approach of acting in good faith and being friendly to others.

These important elements of China's traditional culture offer important insights for addressing contemporary challenges. They can facilitate our understanding and transformation of the world, shed light on national governance, and offer enlightenment on the cultivation of morality.

To see a river travel far, you must make sure it flows smoothly from its very source. Only with a full understanding of the history of Chinese civilization can we spur the creative transformation and innovative development of China's traditional culture, promote the progress of Chinese socialist culture, and build a modern Chinese civilization.

Consistency determines on a fundamental level that the Chinese people must follow their own path. Should we neglect to see China through the prism of its long and uninterrupted history, we will be unable to understand China's past and present, much less its future.

The originality of the Chinese civilization determines that it stays on the right course without merely following the beaten track, and respects traditions but not obsolete practices. It also determines that the Chinese nation is fearless in facing new challenges and embracing new things.

The unity of the Chinese civilization has seen its various ethnic cultures coming together to create a cohesive whole and remaining tightly knit even in the face of serious setbacks. It determines the Chinese people's common belief that China's territorial integrity must always be preserved, the nation must never be allowed to descend into turmoil, our ethnic groups must always remain united, and our civilization must never be interrupted. It further determines that national unity will always sit at the heart of China's core interests and that a strong and unified country is vital for the future of all our people.

Inclusiveness determines the Chinese nation's historical orientation toward communication, exchange, and integration, as well as the harmonious existence of diverse religious beliefs in China. It also defines the willingness of Chinese culture to embrace and draw on other cultures.

Peace, the pursuit of which is the very nature of the Chinese civilization, determines that China will always work to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and preserve international order. China will continue to promote exchange and mutual learning among civilizations without seeking cultural hegemony. China will never impose its values and political system on others. It is committed to cooperation rather than confrontation, and it will never form small groups on a partisan basis.

This elucidation is both cogent and well-refined. These five distinctive features of Chinese civilization fundamentally determine the development path, character, common aspirations, historical orientation, and broad vision of the Chinese nation.