Next 60 years to witness a new traditional China

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, September 29, 2009
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On the 120th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 2069, Chinese taikonauts could salute Tiananmen Square from the moon, says Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin.

What's in store for the next 60 years may be uncertain, but many scholars and experts agree on the country's 60th National Day anniversary that China will become more harmonious and developed, and probably the world's biggest economy.

Liu, China's most popular science fiction author, says the world will see the rise of a technologically and economically stronger China. "The moon will no longer be far from Beijing," says the 46-year-old.

The rise of China will help Chinese to be more confident with their own traditional culture and values, which will introduce modern values and form a new Chinese value system, Liu says.

The dominant Western value system stresses the individual over the collective, and encourages consumption but not frugality, while Chinese traditional values seek a balance between individual and collective, and encourages frugality, but not consumption, Liu says.

He advocates a new value system which acquires a balance between individuality and collectivity, and comprises the concept of sustainable development.

"It's not a process of abandoning western values, but a process of amalgamation of two value systems," Liu says.

He believes the new values will influence Chinese people's lives, economy, diplomacy, technological development and even the world.

The U.S. National Intelligence Council forecasts China will overtake Japan as the world's second largest economy by 2025, while according to Chinese Academy of Sciences, China will exceed America to become the world's largest economy by 2050.

The rise of the economy will lead Chinese people to review their own traditional culture -- the essence of Confucianism, including humanitarianism, impartiality, manners, wisdom and, most importantly, trust, says Yan Feng, Chinese professor of Shanghai Fudan University and chief editor of the Chinese edition of French magazine Science et Vie (Science and Life).

Xiong Yuegen, a sociologist of Peking University, expects China to be a modernized and civilized country with typical Chinese features by 2069.

The new generation is expected to be more open to different cultures while cherishing more their own cultures, Xiong says.

Chinese people have tended to seek their roots as the country develops, says Wu Yan, professor of science fiction at Beijing Normal University.

China named its rockets and missiles revolutionary names such as Changzheng (Long March) and Hongqi (Red Flag) before the 1990s, but switched to traditional names like Chang'e, after a goddess who flew to the moon, and Shenzhou, literally "divine vessel," more recently, Wu said, quoting Stacey Solomone, a futurist at Hawaii Research Center for Future Studies.

"Some Chinese people lost themselves in the fast developing society, but the rise of economy should not equal the fall of morality, so that the most important thing for China in the next decades is to change its thinking -- to return to its cultural roots, including the essence of Confucius, Mencius and Mo-tse," Yan says.

"Corruption, commercial fraud and food scandals have been frequent in recent years and I truly hope they will decrease in the next decades. People should have a stronger sense of morality in the future," Yan says.

New technologies might enhance the process. For instance, corruption will be monitored by more people through the Internet, Yan predicts.

Yan's view is echoed by Liu Yunfeng, a new energy researcher of General Electronic's China Technology Center, in Shanghai. "Science and technology are fundamental to the economy and the way we think," Liu says.

Focus on developing advanced technologies is wise as science and technology are primary productive forces, Liu says, quoting Deng Xiaoping.

Fossil fuels will be depleted in the near future, but the world will always be reliant on energy, Liu says. It is vital for China to look for new energy sources, such as solar and wind energy.

Unlike fossil fuels, which are unevenly distributed, the sun and wind energy has been used in many countries. China will offer abundant green energy with new technologies, he says.

Scientific and technological developments will change attitudes, says Zhang Zheng, principal researcher of Microsoft Research Asia, in Beijing. "The Internet will be as omnipresent as the air, which will definitely change the social relationships of the introverted Chinese people."

The Internet would also play an important role in online trade and enhance China's democracy, he said.

Tong Xin, sociologist at Peking University, agrees. "The Internet will be a potential driver of China's democracy reform."

A growing number of people express their views on the Internet. The National People's Congress and National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have solicited public opinions through Internet in making decisions since 2002. Premier Wen Jiabao chatted online with members of the public this year to hear their political views and problems.

Internet reaction had changed the government decision in 2007 on weather to build a paraxylene (PX) plant, which was polluting and potentially dangerous in the coastal city of Xiamen in eastern Fujian Province. The government held hearings after persistent public protests on and off-line and moved the plant to another site.

"On the way to translate a dream into reality, China should not fear negative aspects, which can lead to social progress and is true for both government and ordinary people," says Wu Yan.

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