Nav Search

Understanding the Laws Underlying the Development of Chinese Civilization

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2024-04-16

At a meeting on cultural inheritance and development held in Beijing, June 2, 2023, President Xi Jinping put forward a holistic and systematic explanation of the distinctive features of Chinese civilization—consistency, originality, unity, inclusiveness, and a peaceful nature. President Xi's profound exposition has granted us a deeper understanding of the laws underlying the development of Chinese civilization by shedding light on its intrinsic characteristics.

Chinese civilization is distinguished by a remarkable level of consistency, being the sole ancient civilization to endure without interruption and develop as a nation down to the present day. With history in China encompassing a million years of humanity, ten thousand years of culture, and more than five thousand years of civilization, the Chinese nation boasts a distinctive, deep, and wide-ranging civilization and value system. The consistency of Chinese civilization is the outcome of carrying forward our culture by building on past achievements and signifies the high degree of unity defining Chinese civilization both as a whole and in every specific stage.

Chinese civilization is set apart by its outstanding originality, which is based on discarding the outdated in favor of the new, moving in step with the times, and ceaselessly pursuing self-improvement. Originality is the fundamental reason why Chinese civilization has flourished among the civilizations of the world. As a civilization, we have tended to discard the outdated in favor of the new, move with the times, and ceaselessly pursue self-improvement. Moving with the times is in fact a core tenet of our civilization. These three qualities have kept Chinese civilization moving forward in a material, institutional, and cultural sense, allowing it to reach one height after another.

Chinese civilization enjoys remarkable unity, featuring great diversity, internal cohesion, and solidarity. Over its more than 5,000-year history, Chinese civilization has gradually developed the concept of great unity. This principle of governance and institutional design has been widely acknowledged in the political process for thousands of years, greatly contributing to the stability of China as a unified multiethnic country. Within a politically unified framework, Chinese culture, as the collective creation of all China's ethnic groups, is manifested in a colorful and wide range of forms.

Chinese civilization is characterized by exceptional inclusiveness, bringing together a diverse array of elements and maintaining openness to exchanges. Chinese civilization came to maturity in a historical environment featuring the simultaneous existence of numerous ethnicities. The history of Chinese development is thus defined by the convergence of diverse ethnic cultures. The openness and inclusiveness of Chinese civilization enabled the Chinese people readily to absorb the best of what other nations had to offer in both a material and cultural sense at every level. At the same time, the best of traditional Chinese culture spread to neighboring regions and further afield.

Chinese civilization is distinguished by a peaceful nature, advocating concord between oneself and others, advancing harmony through dialogue, promoting coexistence and shared progress, and upholding peace. Chinese civilization advocates a world of harmony based on a moral order and believes in fostering concord between oneself and others while putting others before oneself, embodying the spirit of collectivism. The Chinese have always been a peace-loving people. China does not subscribe to the notion that a country is bound to seek hegemony when it grows in strength. Aggression and hegemony are simply not in the blood of the Chinese people; rather a love of peace is imprinted on our character.


Editor: Wang Cuifang