China / Society

China hails Confucianism without excluding other cultures

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-25 20:36

BEIJING - There was a period in the Han dynasty more than 2,000 years ago when Chinese authorities established Confucianism as a state doctrine while rejecting any other schools of thoughts.

At that time, Confucianism had supreme position in the system of state governance as rulers needed to promote an idea helpful for safeguarding unification and autarchy.

But when Chinese President Xi Jinping voiced his respect for Confucius while attending a commemoration of the ancient philosopher's birth, he did not mean to follow the ancient way.

As a major symbol of traditional Chinese culture, Confucianism has experienced a sharp rise and fall in Chinese history.

From the early 20th century, the philosophical system came under attack for being imperial, feudal and a hindrance to the modernization of China. Yet today Confucian ideas are back in favor and Confucianism is engaging closely with contemporary society on issues ranging from human relationships to state governance and morality.

Behind the promotion of Confucius is a hunger for deeper traditions as the nation enters a new era of increased wealth. In the eyes of many Chinese, prosperity has created a moral void.

Confucianism, along with other philosophies and cultures taking shape and growing within China, is a record of spiritual experience and the rational thinking of the nation. These cultures are believed to help modern people find spiritual roots and continue to nourish China.

However, during its formation and development, traditional culture including Confucianism had its shortcomings as ancient people's knowledge was limited by the times and social systems.

Some ideas have become outdated or even deemed as dross. The feudal hierarchical order Confucianism advocated has been replaced by equality, and the feudal rule of propriety has been replaced by rule of law.

It is dangerous to blindly copy old ideas in today's society.

Like other parts of the world, China is facing problems including a widening income gap, boundless pursuit of luxuries, expansion of individualism, declining honesty as well as tension between human activities and nature.

Solutions to these problems lie in wisdom and strength that need to be pooled from both traditional culture and that developed in the modern world. [ That is why China encourages creative shifts and innovative development of traditional culture in keeping with the progress of the times. While China stresses Confucianism, it is not judging its culture superior to others.

Openness to other cultures and willingness for cultural exchanges is an important precondition to building self-respect and self-confidence.

History shows that only through exchanges and mutual learning can a civilization have vitality.

President Xi has never hidden his admiration for foreign civilizations during his overseas trips. His choice of reading ranges from Russia's Alexander Pushkin to France's Victor Hugo. He has also quoted from African poets and showed interest in American movies.

As he said during his recent visit to UNESCO headquarters, Chinese culture, together with the rich and colorful cultures created by the people of other countries, will provide mankind with cultural guidance and strong motivation.

There is no perfect civilization in the world, nor is there a civilization that is devoid of any merit.

China will inherit and promote Confucianism, which is embedded in the genes of Chinese people. The country will also take an inclusive attitude to other excellent cultures to form new wisdom that can answer today's questions and contribute to global civilization.

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