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A view of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall in Huairou District, Beijing. Photo/Chang Keyong

An aerial view of the Forbidden City. Chinese civilization led the world for at least 1,500 years, laying the foundation for today's Chinese Dream.

Fireworks form the Olympic Rings over the National Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, August 8, 2008.

The Chinese Dream in Historical Perspective

Individuals have their private dreams of love, happiness, or success. Nations also have their dreams, of prosperity and security. History teaches us that neither hardship nor oppression, no matter how severe, can take away human beings' right to dream.

Today, on a global scale, there are three partially overlapping dreams competing for influence over human civilization. These three great visions are the American Dream, the European Dream and the Chinese Dream.

For an individual, a dream represents hope, aspiration, ideals and expectations. For a nation, a dream represents consensus, common purpose, target, enthusiasm, motivation, sacrifice, and taking responsibility for realizing the dream.

What is the Chinese Dream?

The Chinese Dream is one of liberalization, renewal and modernization; of security, democracy and culture; of justice, prosperity and success.

The Chinese Dream is a dream of cross-straits peace and national unity.

It is a dream of reform, of decent living standards for all, of China regaining its place among the great powers. The Chinese Dream is a dream of world peace and universal harmony.

But to fully grasp the meaning of the Chinese Dream requires a profound understanding of Chinese civilization.