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Understanding the Contemporary Value of the Five Distinctive Features of Chinese Civilization

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2024-04-17

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. Understanding these features bears not just immense historical importance but also significant contemporary value.

First, understanding the consistency of Chinese civilization and firmly following the path of Chinese socialism. The consistency of Chinese civilization is a feature of China's national conditions. China today is the product and inheritance of our history. Chinese socialism represents a dialectical unity of the theoretical logic of scientific socialism and the historical logic of China's social development. It is inevitable that China, a country with a unique culture, a unique history, and unique fundamental conditions, should choose a development path featuring its own characteristics. This is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is the path we must follow in building modern Chinese civilization.

Second, understanding the originality of Chinese civilization and adhering to the enterprising spirit of upholding tradition without clinging to the past and respecting ancient wisdom without reverting to archaic thinking. The consistency of Chinese civilization is characterized by constant innovation. It features both still waters of great depth and magnificent surging waves of advancement. The CPC has kept the great innovative spirit of the Chinese nation alive and thriving. Indeed, contemporary China is undergoing the most extensive and profound social transformation in the country's history, as well as the greatest and most unique process of practical innovation in human history.

Third, understanding the unity of Chinese civilization to resolutely uphold national unity, oppose separatism, and forge a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation. The unity of Chinese civilization stems from its unified economic and cultural foundations. As a distinctive feature of Chinese civilization, unity is a precious historical legacy. It has played a positive role in our history. It is also of great practical significance for promoting the development of socialist culture with Chinese characteristics and building a modern Chinese civilization today.

Fourth, understanding the inclusiveness of Chinese civilization, bringing together a diverse array of elements, and maintaining openness to exchanges. Amid inclusiveness, Chinese civilization has demonstrated continuity, originality, and unity. Inclusiveness has served to continuously expand the open-mindedness of Chinese civilization. The Chinese nation has always viewed other civilizations with an open and tolerant attitude and has developed a unique national spirit of exercising restraint toward oneself and engaging in open exchanges with others. Since ancient times, based on the concepts of "harmony under Heaven" and "harmony between all nations," the Chinese nation has engaged in interactions and cultural exchanges with foreign peoples with confidence and generosity.

Fifth, understanding the peaceful nature of Chinese civilization and working to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and preserve international order. Chinese culture does not advocate harmony without principle. Instead, it calls for harmony in diversity, not only embracing variety but respecting differences. Given the peaceful nature of Chinese civilization, China is well-equipped to provide Chinese wisdom for advancing world peace, promoting global development, and maintaining international order. Pursuing dialogue rather than clashes, exchanges rather than isolation, cooperation rather than confrontation, negotiation rather than coercion, and construction rather than destruction—these should be the norms of peace that humanity follows today, as well as the basic laws that guide our efforts to build a global community of shared future.


Editor: Wang Cuifang