Poverty alleviation in consciousness and thoughts

By Chen Hua
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 20, 2016
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The first issue of the academic journal Cyberspace Studies will be published soon. For studies in this field, researchers should first rid themselves of their "poverty" in consciousness and thought, as the Chinese President Xi Jinping requires civil servants to do in his book Get Rid of Poverty.

Zhao Qizheng, former Pudong New District director in Shanghai, has remarked that people mainly looked at the physical infrastructure construction in Pudong in the past 20 years, while ignoring Pudong's development concepts, methodology and social statistics.

The internet and Pudong are two things that have both developed very fast and shaped Chinese society and economy in the past two decades. Zhao invited Fei Xiaotong, one of the most famous Chinese sociologists, to conduct research in Pudong in 1995, to help strengthen the new district's social cohesion and give suggestions to the government on the urbanization of rural areas.

Fei appreciated that a local governor, usually focusing on economic growth and investment, attached so much importance to social construction. A research team led by Fei visited Pudong thereafter, and did a good job as Zhao had expected.

Years later, Fei recalled that Pudong had become a meeting point of old and new conflicts, and Eastern and Western cultures, so this made it a valuable subject for sociological study.

In 2001, Zhao, then minister of the State Council Information Office, showed his foresight again while attending the opening ceremony of an internet forum, saying China needed the internet, and suggesting the country must grab the opportunities brought about by its fast development.

In 2014, the 20th anniversary of the internet's arrival in China, top local researchers in the field said it was not only the case that China needs the internet, but also the other way round.

Pudong and the internet's development in China should have provided inspiration to internet researchers, who are expected to base their studies on practical conditions and ensure their work serves the practical needs of society.

The fact that Wuzhen, in East China's Zhejiang Province, became the permanent host town of the World Internet Conference is not accidental. Zhejiang is one of the first places in China embracing the household contract responsibility system in late 1970s. And China remains a big agricultural country. The system Zhejiang pioneered is in line with the practical conditions of the Chinese society, and also serves its practical needs.

President Xi Jinping said, in April, 2014, that China has special cultural traditions and national conditions. It means we must take the path that is in line with our own characteristics.

The internet is like a society, and so has social meanings. Internet governance, to some extent, is inextricably linked with social governance.

President Xi said last May that China has produced a number of thinkers over its long history, and accumulated a tremendous amount of cultural heritage containing rich social, philosophical and political thoughts that have made, and will continue to make, great contribution to the people's understanding and transformation of the outside world.

The President once suggested to Robert Kuhn, an American author of Jiang Zemin's biography, that to study China, researchers should not only visit different places in the country, but also study its ancient history, and avoid taking a part for the whole.

China has plunged into a network society during its modernization. There are all kinds of internal and external powers fostering new circumstances and new conditions in the process, to which China must adapt as well as maintain its exceptional status as a cultural, political and social entity.

Fei Xiaotong's theory on cultural self-consciousness refers to the people's understanding of their culture's source, evolution, characteristics and development trend. Fei said that the Chinese people constitute a self-conscious entity, which forms in the process of its confrontation with the West. A self-conscious entity can always adapt to changing circumstances, and does not have to resort to the West or to the past to seek easy solutions.

The formation and development of the Chinese network society, and the formation of corresponding social governance, also bear the historical characteristics of cultural self-consciousness.

The Chinese government is exploring ways to establish, together with the other countries, a community sharing the common interests in cyberspace. China intends to make great contributions to global internet governance.

Chinese society pays special attention to applying social governance concepts in its governance of cyberspace since 2000, and has developed a set of effective administration rules, fitting the practical conditions of the Chinese society with Chinese characteristics.

Self-confidence and self-consciousness in the national culture are the foundation to establish an effective cyberspace governance system.

The author is an associate researcher of Beijing Internet Information office

The article was translated by Jason Lee.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.


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