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Traditional Chinese culture offers insights into global problems

Author  :  JI DONGXIAO     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2018-10-29

In the National Working Conference on Ideological Publicity, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping once stressed that the thought, notions, humanistic spirit and moral norms embodied in refined traditional Chinese culture are not only the core of the Chinese people’s thought and spirit, but also conducive to solving the problems facing humans at large. 

Indeed, the humanistic spirit in dealing with nature conveyed in Chinese culture provides wisdom for people around the world to solve nature-related problems. When humans today are suffering from the aggravation of drought, climate warming and other issues of natural environment deterioration, the quintessence of how Chinese culture perceives the relationships between man and nature is helpful to these situations. The idea that man and nature are a unity means that there is a harmonious coexistence between the two and that humans should revere nature and conform to the law of nature. In Chinese culture, only by conforming to the law of nature is the sustainable use of natural resources possible.

The art of state-to-state association advocated by Chinese culture is the cultural cornerstone for building peaceful, stable world orders. Since ancient times, China has been known as the nation of propriety and righteousness, which is the core element of traditional Chinese culture. Therefore, “friendship and good neighborliness is the treasure of a country” has become China’s basic principle in getting along with other countries. This concept of friendly communication has offered a rich intellectual and cultural wellspring for today’s countries to realize a peaceful coexistence with solidified ties. In addition, in terms of countries dealing with each other’s national interests, Chinese culture says that “a state does not take profit as the gain, but righteousness as the gain,” an attitude which can ensure the maximization of national interests in international cooperation. Also, the Analects says that “in practicing the rules of propriety, harmony is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great we follow them.” In a word, the traditional Chinese culture of friendly exchanges is of great significance for solving the problems of unilateralism, protectionism and zero-sum mentality that are arising in the current process of world integration.  

With a profound interest in a humanistic concern that takes the wellbeing of the world as its own duty and carrying an unyielding spirit for seeking improvement, the Chinese culture can motivate people from different countries to constantly strive for the establishment of fair, rational new world orders. Regarding pantisocracy as the highest target humans can strive for in pursuing rational, justified world orders, the culture inspires people’s effort to eliminate inequality between countries, the Global North-South divide and world poverty. In Chinese culture, only through the social governance mode in which “harmony is prized and there is harmony without uniformity” can the orderly world situation of “universal love” be achieved. In a global context where there is increasingly closer ties, these thoughts offer insights for solving the common problems that people from different countries face such as terrorism and new colonialism.


Ji Dongxiao is a research fellow from the Research Center for the Theoretical System of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics of Shandong Province. This article was edited and translated from Guangming Daily.




(Edited and translated by BAI LE )









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