Everyone can guess on the basis of official Chinese news coverage that the recent full plenary session of top Chinese Communist Party leaders, which concluded in Beijing yesterday, was all about culture. But as for what the meeting actually spells for cultural creation in China, anyone could be forgiven for being totally stumped.
We’ll take a more in-depth look at cultural policy (both domestic and international) in the coming weeks. But for now we want to just give a flavor of how news coverage looks in China today as the plenary session language on cultural system reforms (文化体制改革) is being loudly promoted by media.
One of the most indicative pieces to be found nearly everywhere today is an official editorial from page two of the Party’s People’s Daily. “Without the flourishing development of socialist culture, there can be no socialist modernization,” the editorial begins. “The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation must be accompanied by the thriving of Chinese culture.” And there are hints of soft power and the international dimensions of culture as well in the statement that without thriving culture “a country and a people cannot possibly stand strong in the forest of nations.”
[ABOVE: An editorial on page 2 of today’s official People’s Daily says great progress was made at the recent sixth plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the CCP on the issue of cultural reforms.]
But beyond a dizzying deluge of formulaic Party language speaking to the essential role of cultural creation in the “rejuvenation of the Chinese people,” there are few specifics anywhere today to tell us exactly what any of this means.
The following is a very partial translation of today’s editorial in People’s Daily.
“The Great March Toward a Great Nation of Socialist Culture“
October 19, 2011
Without the flourishing development of socialist culture, there can be no socialist modernization; the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation must be accompanied by the thriving of Chinese culture.
The sixth plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party concluded successfully. This important meeting held in the midst of the critical period of the comprehensive building of a moderately well-off society (小康社会), from the heights of the general layout of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, made deployments for the deepening of cultural system reforms (文化体制改革), promoting the great development and prosperity of socialist culture. It emphasized the need to cleave to the road of development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, working hard to build a strong socialist cultural nation (社会主义文化强国). This has major practical significance and deep historical significance in mobilizing the whole Party and the peoples of our country, under the leadership of Party, in promoting the steady development of various undertakings, seizing new victories in the comprehensive building of a moderately well-off society to initiate a new situation in the undertaking of socialism with Chinese characteristics, realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The plenary meeting heard and discussed the work report delivered by Comrade Hu Jintao on behalf of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, examining and adopting “Central Committee Decision Concerning the Major Issue of Deepening Cultural System Reforms, Promoting the Great Development and Prosperity of Socialist Culture” (中共中央关于深化文化体制改革 推动社会主义文化大发展大繁荣若干重大问题的决定). All were in agreement that with a rapidly changing international situation and facing the formidable tasks of maintaining reform, development and stability domestically, the Central Committee of the Party with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary uniting with the whole Party, the army and the people, in implementing the scientific view of development, in accelerating a transition in methods of economic development, in thoroughly promoting the building of a socialist economy, politics, culture and society, as well as the building of ecological civilization (生态文明建设) and thoroughly promoting great new projects in building the Party, new advancements and new achievements were made for all the various tasks, and a solid foundation was set down for realizing a good start to the 12th Five-Year Plan period.
Culture is the circulating blood of a nation, the spiritual home of a people. From a strategic standpoint, this plenary meeting was an important meeting for research and deployment on cultural reform and development. . . The “Decision” fully expresses the Chinese Communist Party’s deep grasp of historical mission it bears, its scientific assessment of circumstances both domestically and internationally, its high level of awareness on culture construction (文化建设), and thoroughly reflects the common hopes of all the nationalities of China. It is the programmatic document leading current and future cultural reform and development in our nation.
. . . .
Without culture to guide the way, without the great richness of a people’s spiritual world, without bringing the spiritual strength of the whole nation into play, a country and a people cannot possibly stand strong in the forest of nations.