The profound substance of China's peaceful development is the revival of the Chinese civilization. The key issue here is the relationship between "peaceful rise" and civilized renaissance. We can understand the scenario from the following three aspects.
First, from the aspect of the practical needs of modern China, the peaceful development or rise refers to dealing with the difficulties and challenges confronting modern China in a civilized manner and to realize a civilized revival through autonomous innovation.
China faces three major challenges in the process of peaceful development and rise, namely: the challenge of resources shortage, especially the shortage of energies, environmental challenge in particular the deterioration of the ecological environment, and a series of dilemma challenges in the economic and social development. To solve these problems, people should set up the concept of scientific development, put people first, and promote a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development. All these words are familiar to our ears. However, to put them into a nationwide, profound and sustaining conscious action, efforts should be made to improve the overall civilized level and meet the three major challenges in a civilized manner.
Second, from the aspect of the relationship between China and the whole world, the peaceful development or rise means to build up the image of a civilized power in the world.
The civilization history of the human being tells us that a truly strong nation has always been led by an advanced culture and higher-level civilized nationality. Today, the international community recognized China's "rising" because of China's sustaining and rapid growth. The opening and reform of the country has brought it an average 9 percent of GDP growth in the last over 20 years. However, some international communities are also concerned about the potential threat of the rise of China, partially because of the ideological bias that has "demonized" China, partially because of the problems resulted from the insufficient civilized building created by ourselves. For the latter, the problems of inadequate civilized building worth deep attention from us. Drawing on and assimilating the advanced experience of human civilization reflects the convergence of the Chinese civilization with the world civilization; strengthening the affinity and inspiring the Chinese civilization to be close to the world together with the enhancement of national strength reflects the same. China needs to build up the image being both "peaceful" and "civilized" in its adhering to the road of peaceful development.
Third, from the aspect of China's historical development, its peaceful development or rise refers to making the dream of the Chinese people through the over 100 years come true through invigorating the nation and realizing the revival of the Chinese civilization.
In the history, the Chinese nations have created a brilliant material and spiritual civilization and made tremendous contribution to the development of human society. Only in the modern times, China fell behind with the other countries and suffered oppressive humiliation and bitterness. Although the over 100 years, Chinese people have been dreaming about the rejuvenation of the whole nation. The process of the progressive realization of the "powers dream" and the process of China's peaceful development and rise should be neither a process of sheer westernization, nor a process of outdated-dominant revival. It should be a process that takes the Marxist theory as the guidelines in the development of modern China, creatively inherits and develops the fine cultural traditions, and confidently absorbs and takes advantage of the useful experiences in the history of human civilization. It should be a process in which Chinese civilization could be rehabilitated through autonomous innovation.
China's development is a peaceful development. Its revival refers to a civilized renaissance. There are "four integrations" going through the whole process of the peaceful development and the civilized revival: First, to integrate the heritance of traditions with the reform and innovation; second, to integrate the absorbing of outstanding civilizations of the world with our own realities; third, to integrate natural science with human social science; fourth, to integrate the external peace with internal harmony. These four integrations are of utmost importance. They are closely bound up to the success of our undertakings. It is also the fundamental reason why the revival of the Chinese civilization in the first half of the 21st Century is the profound substance of China's peaceful development.
The author Zheng Bijian is the chairman of the China Reform Forum.
(People's Daily April 11, 2006)