Explainer: Learn about China from continuity of Chinese civilization

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BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Located at the foot of the Yanshan Mountains in Beijing is the large compound of the China National Archives of Publications and Culture, a national database of Chinese publications of different eras.

Visiting the institution last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored efforts to carry forward the Chinese civilization, the only uninterrupted civilization in the world.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, put continuity at the top of the five prominent features regarding Chinese civilization that he summarized at a high-profile meeting on cultural inheritance and development last Friday.

Through the continuous efforts of several generations of scholars, and the research results of major projects, such as the project to trace the origins of Chinese civilization, it was proved that China's history includes million years of humanity, 10,000 years of culture, and more than 5,000 years of civilization.

"A large number of archaeological discoveries demonstrate the continuity of Chinese civilization and show the richness of Chinese civilization," said Wang Wei, director and researcher with the Academic Division of History under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

And because of continuity, Chinese civilization can reflect the continuous process of human social development to some extent, said Wang, one of the chief experts of the project to trace the origins of Chinese civilization.

The archaeological ruins of Liangzhu ancient city in east China's Zhejiang Province, a key study program of the project and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, have gained worldwide recognition as bearing testimony to the existence of at least 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.

Of the world's ancient civilizations, the Chinese civilization has continued uninterrupted to this day.

The Chinese characters, invented by Chinese ancestors several millennia ago, are still used today. Over 2,000 years ago, there was an era of great intellectual accomplishments in China, which is referred to as "the period of one hundred masters and schools of thought."

Great thinkers such as Laozi, Confucius and Mozi explored a wide range of topics from the universe to the Earth, from man's relations with nature to relations among human beings, and to relations between the individual and society.

The values and teachings of their extensive and profound schools of thought still have a profound impact on Chinese people's way of life today, underpinning the unique value system of the Chinese view of the world, of society and of life itself.

Visions including good neighborliness, the principle guiding ancient China's interactions with other countries, have promoted the development of a human community with a shared future. The wisdom of discarding the outdated in favor of the new has been applied to advance reform and innovation.

Yan'an, in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and Yinxu, or the Yin Ruins, in Anyang City, central China's Henan Province -- two iconic places in the history of the Chinese nation -- see the brilliance of their past continue to illuminate the present.

In late October 2022, less than a week after the closing of the 20th CPC National Congress, Xi visited these two places, seeking to sustain the cultural genes of the Party.

In Yan'an, Xi visited the site of the seventh CPC National Congress and the former residences of veteran revolutionaries of the older generation such as Mao Zedong.

He expressed his admiration for the historic sites of Yan'an, stating that they reflect the glorious journey of the Party during the Yan'an Period to lead the Chinese revolution and explore the localization and modernization of Marxism in China. In his words, Yan'an is an inexhaustible book that will never be fully read.

In Anyang, Xi inspected the Yin ruins and observed cultural relics such as bronze tools, jade objects, oracle bones, and inscriptions. He emphasized the importance of deepening the understanding of Chinese civilization and drawing inspiration for the better building of modern Chinese civilization.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era shows that Marxism is highly consistent with fine traditional Chinese culture.

When the Party celebrated its centenary on July 1, 2021, Xi officially proclaimed, "We must continue to adapt the basic tenets of Marxism to China's specific realities and its fine traditional culture."

Although Marxism and fine traditional Chinese culture have different origins, they are highly compatible with each other.

Take the pursuit of common prosperity for example. Xi once gave a lecture at a study session of senior officials, at which he emphasized that the goal of common prosperity is not only a basic goal of Marxism but also a fundamental ideal of the Chinese people throughout history.

He quoted Confucius, Mencius and the "Book of Rites" to illustrate the notion of a moderately prosperous society as well as a harmonious one.

"Without the 5,000-year-long Chinese civilization, how could we have Chinese characteristics?" Xi once said when he visited a park dedicated to 12th-century philosopher Zhu Xi. People can readily draw similarities between Zhu's advocacy of people-oriented thinking and the Party's people-centered development philosophy.

Xi believes that the outstanding continuity of Chinese civilization determines that the Chinese nation must take its own path. If one does not learn about China from the continuity of its long history, there is no way for him or her to understand ancient China, modern China, or China in the future.

"Chinese modernization invigorates Chinese civilization with modern power, while Chinese civilization supports Chinese modernization with cultural sustenance," he said.

Xi emphasized that Chinese modernization will not eliminate ancient civilization, but instead will continue to build upon it.

"It is a modernization growing out of the Chinese land, and not a copy of any other country's model. It is the outcome of cultural renewal rather than a discontinuity," he added. Enditem

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