Qu Qingshan: A noble aspiration: Chinese modernization is the modernization of material and cultural-ethical advancement

2023-10-16 15:13:18 | Author:Qu Qingshan

The emphasis General Secretary Xi Jinping places on this matter is due to being materially and culturally-ethically wealthy is the noble aspiration of Chinese modernization. Accurately recognizing and judiciously grasping this noble aspiration is vitally important for successfully navigating Chinese modernization in practical application.

Material and cultural-ethical advancement are a fundamental requirement of socialism. Marxism posits that material and cultural-ethical advancement are intimately connected, mutually influential, reciprocally conditional, and dialectically unified. Lenin highlighted that without a richness of knowledge, technology, and culture, communism cannot be established. Socialism, being the preliminary stage of communism, envisions a society that is comprehensive in its development. A socialist society must not only promote material advancement but also cultural-ethical advancement. Genuine socialism is only achieved when there is both material and cultural-ethical advancement. During the socialist stage, creating conditions conducive to transitioning toward a communist society is only possible by gradually establishing a high level of material advancement while concurrently developing a high level of cultural-ethical advancement.

On April 12, 2023, General Secretary Xi Jinping visits GAC Aion New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd. He explores the company’s exhibition hall, assembly workshop, and battery production workshop to comprehend the enterprise’s advancements in pivotal core technologies and the progression in advocating high-end, intelligent, and eco-friendly manufacturing. The image displays the general assembly production line of GAC Aion New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd. Photo credit: Xinhua News Agency reporter Deng Hua.

Material and cultural-ethical advancement represents a requisite trend and direction in the evolution of human society. A notable indicator of human advancement has been tool creation, setting humans distinctly apart from animals. From its origin, humanity has not simply adapted to the natural environment but has proactively transformed it, perpetually modifying nature to cater to human needs. While altering the objective world, humans have concurrently been reshaping their subjective world. Additionally, humans possess not only material needs but also cultural-ethical ones. Material and cultural-ethical advancement mutually constrain and enhance each other, complementing and co-developing symbiotically.

Material and cultural-ethical advancement encapsulates the perpetuation and amplification of Chinese civilization, as well as an exploration of practice and distillation of experience. The Chinese nation, characterized by its industriousness, bravery, and kindness, adheres to benevolence, esteems morality, values harmony, and stresses honesty. It upholds the principle of “establishing others in seeking to establish oneself, and achieving through the achievement of others,” promoting the ethos of “jointly navigating tribulations and mutual aid,” and exalting the spirit of “boundless love and cooperative unity.” Alongside fostering significant material advancement, it has also nurtured a thriving cultural-ethical progress. Over millennia, the Chinese nation’s magnificent national spirit has been perpetually transmitted, becoming the pulsating lifeblood and soul of the Chinese people. The CPC, perpetuating the distinguished traditional culture of the Chinese nation and promoting its creative transformation and innovative development, adheres to the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological domain, conducts education in ideals and convictions, proactively cultivates and practices core socialist values, broadly administers education in patriotism, collectivism, and socialism, intensively engages in activities to promote socialist cultural-ethical progress, promotes revolutionary culture, advances socialist progressive culture, and continually propels the modern civilization for the Chinese nation.

Material and cultural-ethical advancement distinguishes Chinese modernization from its Western counterpart. Chinese modernization aspires to both material prosperity and cultural-ethical richness. As General Secretary Xi Jinping put it, “To build China into a strong modern socialist country, we must enrich ourselves not only materially but culturally and ethically.” In contrast, Western countries, influenced by their ideologies and social systems, prioritize material gains at the expense of spiritual values in the course of modernization, leading to rampant materialism, unchecked selfish desires, loss of faith, spiritual poverty, decadent lifestyles, and moral decay. Society is thereby plagued with crimes such as drug trafficking, prostitution, gun violence, racial discrimination, theft, and robbery. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. has seen a significant rise in mass shootings in recent years, with gun violence claiming 43,341 lives and injuring 37,763 in 2022, amounting to 636 mass shootings, or an average of 2 per day. The U.S. holds the highest rate of gun-related homicides globally. A survey revealed that in 2020, 59.3 million Americans aged 12 and above abused drugs, with 49.6 million consuming marijuana.

The “noble aspiration” for material and cultural-ethical advancement compels us to continuously fortify the material foundation of modernization and steadily enhance the material conditions facilitating the people’s happiness and prosperity during the progression of Chinese modernization. Concurrently, it is imperative to ardently nurture an advanced socialist culture, bolster the education of ideals and convictions, perpetuate Chinese civilization, and foster the holistic enrichment of material wealth and all-rounded development of individuals.

Qu Qingshan: President of the Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China