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Social sciences in spotlight at Beijing forum
Jun. 03, 2024
Experts and authorities gathered in Beijing on Sunday for a seminar exploring the role of social sciences in shaping modern Chinese civilization.

The event, organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, comes a year after President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of cultural inheritance and building a modern Chinese civilization.

The seminar, attended by over 100 domestic officials and experts, built upon Xi's remarks, in which he highlighted five key characteristics of Chinese civilization: consistency, originality, uniformity, inclusiveness and peacefulness.

Li Shulei, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, delivered the opening address.

Gao Xiang, president of CASS and director of the Chinese Academy of History, also spoke at the event and emphasized the importance of studying and implementing Xi's vision. He urged social scientists to contribute their knowledge to aid the pursuit of a modern Chinese civilization.

Archaeologists presented recent findings that have illuminated aspects of the nation's civilization. Shi Jinsong, deputy director of the Institute of Archaeology at CASS, highlighted the role of Han characters as a unifying element. Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) artifacts unearthed in Yunnan province are evidence of the widespread use of the characters, even in border regions.

Shi said their discovery underscores the unifying influence of Han characters on Chinese people.

"This proves that Han characters have played an important role in the formation of the uniformity of Chinese civilization," he said.

Historians including Qian Chengdan, former director of Peking University's Institute of Area Studies, delved into the formation of Chinese civilization.

Qian discussed the unique interplay between spiritual and political forces, with ideologies such as Confucianism acting as the spiritual carrier and state power functioning as the institutional guarantor. This enduring synergy, established during the Han Dynasty, distinguishes Chinese civilization from others, he said.

"Since its origins, the Chinese civilization has a born nature of integration," he said. "It has developed and grown with integration."

Qian further explored the concept of integration as a core element of Chinese civilization's longevity. Throughout history, the Central Plains civilization interacted and absorbed influences from neighboring cultures, ultimately contributing to the formation of the Chinese civilization.

Media professionals also participated in the discussions. Sun Shangwu, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily, highlighted the importance of China's rich cultural heritage in international communication efforts.

"The over-5,000-year-old Chinese civilization has created numerous brilliant cultural achievements and has written a glorious chapter in the history of human civilization," Sun said. "It is also an inexhaustible resource for our international communication efforts."
China Daily
Written by:
Wang Ru