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More than 200,000 people gathered in Tian'anmen Square on October 1, 2009 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the People's Republic of China. The photo shows aircraft staging a ceremonial fly-past.

The Chinese Dream: the Chinese Spirit and the Chinese Way

Today's Chinese Dream is a rich, multifaceted concept, a complex, yet definite idea. It embraces Chinese politics, Chinese philosophy, Chinese culture, the concerns of modern Chinese society; it includes Chinese history and the collective memory of the Chinese people, especially the memories of both the difficult times and Liberation experienced in the modern era. It is a vivid representation of the immediate experience and the real lives of the people, of development and social transformation. It embodies China's development goals, national consensus, future prospects and plans for the way ahead. It is a condensation of Chinese thought, spirit and wisdom. It embraces the economic, political, cultural, social and ecological aspects of China's modern civilization.

The Chinese Dream is filled with the glory, hardship and sacrifice stored in the people's collective memory. It expresses China's culture, philosophy and ideals. The Chinese Dream consists of rich and varied concepts with clear, practical consequences. China's new generation leader, Comrade Xi Jinping, has said that the idea of the Chinese Dream is both timely and profound. Adopting this high level, concise idea will encourage the Chinese people to pull together and work with all their might and with one heart to realize the great dream of national revival.

Modern China is experiencing rapid development. Never before in history have we felt so keenly that national renewal, building a strong and prosperous country, and providing a happy life for our people are within our grasp. Never before in history have we been closer to achieving our aim of reviving and rejuvenating the Chinese nation. Never before in history have we been more confident and capable in realizing the great Chinese Dream.

Cultural Spirit, Philosophical Foundations and Civilized Vision of the Chinese Dream

In world history, neither hardships, massacres, wars, nor any other force, have ever succeeded in obliterating humanity's inherent right to dream. Dreams express individual hopes, yearnings, ideals and expectations. They can also represent the collective memory, common understanding, aims, progress, passion, energy and spirit of sacrifice of an entire people.

The Yellow River, known as the Mother River, winds its way through central China like a dragon. Photo/Wang Yue

In the history of humanity, China's is the only culture to have developed down to modern times in a single, unbroken line. Despite the many changes that have taken place over 5,000 years, Chinese culture continues to exhibit vigor and vitality. It is wide-ranging and universal; it emphasizes virtue, benevolence, self discipline, moral cultivation, determination and strength of character. It values learning, venerates teachers, and encourages careful and clear thinking. It cultivates moral character and honesty. It teaches that yin and yang complement each other and there is harmony between gods and men. But its mainstream concerns are centered on hard work and self-improvement, and a spirit of tolerance and harmony.

Chinese culture's emphasis on hard work and self-improvement can be traced back to some of its earliest literary products; the Book of History and the Book of Songs (also known as the Book of Poetry). These two Confucian classics are permeated with the spirit of diligence, steadfastness, and perseverance. The Yao Classic (the account of the legendary Emperor Yao) in the Book of History, praises the ancient kings, saying they used wisdom to unite the nine tribes, observed the moon and the stars and taught the people the calendar. The Book of History praises the selfless loyalty and devotion displayed by the Duke of Zhou, regent to his nephew King Cheng, recounting the repeated advice and warnings he addressed to the young king. The Book of Songs describes the challenging and difficult period of the founding and early years of the Zhou people.

Confucius was a thinker who vigorously promoted hard work, and practiced what he preached. He spent his whole life dashing from place to place preaching his dream of bringing order to a chaotic age by restoring the ancient rites of the Zhou kingdom. But it is not always possible to accomplish what one knows to be right. The result was that Confucius worked so hard he forgot to eat, and did not notice old age approaching. He had utter contempt for those who wallowed in idleness and gave no serious thought to anything. He believed a gentleman should eat sparingly, not crave security, be diligent and circumspect, learned and virtuous. Later Confucian scholars developed and emphasized these ideas of hard work and self-improvement. Mencius advocated practicing self-cultivation to increase one's benevolence, saying "Benevolence gives birth to nobility." Xunzi, taking his cue from the relationship between Heaven and Mankind, coined the famous thesis "He who controls the mandate of heaven prevails." Regarding hard work and the struggle for self-improvement, one of the most clear-cut formulations can be found in the Book of Changes. It says, "Heaven is in constant motion; the gentleman should constantly strive for self–improvement." In other words, just as the heavenly bodies are endlessly in motion and forever advancing according to the laws of nature, so human beings must work hard and bravely forge ahead. Ever since, hard work and constant self-improvement, cultivating one's moral character, whether regulating one's family, or ruling the state and all under heaven, have been the guiding spirit of Chinese culture and the inspiration of the Chinese people.

Combine harvesters at work in Heilongjiang Province. Photo/Zhao Tianhua

"What the Great Learning teaches, is to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence." Practicing virtue to cultivate moral character, applying knowledge to preserve health, have been at the heart of Chinese culture, especially Confucian culture, for thousands of years. The scholar first cultivates himself then takes up the pen. Confucius' patient and earnest teachings have remained a spiritual guide and encouragement to successive generations of Chinese people. "Impervious to the temptations of wealth or high office, poor but ambitious, never yielding to force," "the scholar must be strong-minded, for the burden is heavy and the journey is long." The Song Dynasty scholar Fan Zhongyan wrote the immortal line: "Be concerned for others, and be happy only after others have achieved happiness," which has since been the maxim of subsequent generations of Chinese scholars seeking perfection in private and public affairs.

The concept of harmony is a key element of traditional Chinese culture. Since ancient times, both Confucians and Daoists have sought harmony between heaven and earth, but the paths they advocated were different. Confucian thought stressed the importance of good governance and advocated active involvement in social and political affairs in pursuit of harmony with heaven and earth. Therefore, human affairs were its core concern. One should always put oneself in the place of others, improve both oneself and the world, and strive to understand heaven. Chinese traditional culture holds that man is an integral part of nature; that good governance leads to harmony; that we should live in harmony with nature; that compromise and conciliation is the road to success, and society should be governed in accordance with a philosophy of harmony. Chinese culture values love for humanity and harmony between nations. This concept of good neighborliness in international relations is both a challenge to and an extension of Western concepts, and has become an important philosophical foundation of the Chinese Dream.

An airplane sprays fertilizer over fields in Heilongjiang Province. Photo/Yang Zhendong

The Chinese Dream is the product of historical experience won at the price of innumerable personal sacrifices. History shows that all imported ideas run into great difficulties and experience repeated setbacks if they do not accord with the great tasks of the Chinese Revolution and Reconstruction. Since reform and opening up, passing through great hardships, by a process of trial and error, we have at last found the correct path to the revival of the Chinese nation, and our success has caught the attention of the entire world. This is the road to development with Chinese characteristics.

The American Dream, the European Dream and the Chinese Dream

The Chinese Dream of reviving the nation is different from both the American Dream and the European Dream. It reflects the long cherished plans of the undefeated and indefatigable Chinese people who, dissatisfied with the status quo, fought for the revival and development of a once backward, semi-colonial, semi-feudal nation battered by more than 100 years of foreign invasion and hardship. It differs fundamentally from the individualistic, materialistic, pragmatic American Dream that values conquest and the acquisition of wealth above all else. It also differs greatly from the European Dream of Britain, France and other European countries that suffered severe setbacks in World War II and are now reflecting on and rethinking several hundred years of colonialism and materialism. The Chinese Dream is all about leading China from a history of backwardness and being bullied, to a strong and prosperous future. It has nothing in common with dreams of expansion or seeking hegemony. On the contrary, it promotes only world peace and development.

The United States developed its own economy and society at the expense of the interests and development prospects of other countries. It relentlessly eats up the world's resources. A country with less than five percent of the world's population accounts for no less than a third of the world's energy consumption. The world's resources cannot sustain this "dream" of development that undermines other countries' right to develop. Chinese traditional culture dictates that in the course of realizing its own development dream, China will emphasize friendship and building positive relationships, and will coordinate its actions with those of others. It will practice harmony and mutual assistance in its relationships with other states, and as regards man's relationship with nature, it will stress the philosophy that man and nature are one, show consideration for living things, respect, protect and act in harmony with nature, and avoid the excessive consumption of natural resources and destruction of the environment that characterized the American model of economic development.

The Chinese Dream is also superior to the narrow and particularistic development model embodied in the European Dream. The aim of the European Dream is the protection of Europe's political and economic interests, to defend the current global power structure that favors European development; to defend the entire European model comprising its welfare system, regulations on immigration, merchandise, language, culture and so on. When all is said and done, the European development strategy is aimed at the protection of vested interests. It is an essentially closed model of development based on regional protectionism. By comparison, the Chinese Dream's concept of development is more universal and global in outlook.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway runs from Xining to Lhasa, a distance of 1,956 kilometers. It was opened on July 1, 2006 and is the world's highest railway. Photo/Yuan Ruilun

In contrast to the China's global outlook when pursuing its dream of national revival, the characteristic feature of the American Dream is the maximization of private benefit, and the profit motive is its driving force. So-called universal values are applied selectively according to U.S. interests. The American Dream either ignores or crushes the development dreams of other nations. But the "dream" of unilaterally pursuing its own interests will inevitably lead to resistance and further world conflict. Essentially, the American Dream implies a divided world. The European Dream has to some extent modified and corrected the excesses of America's materialistic outlook. The devastating experience of World War II caused Europe to reflect critically on modernity and turn to ideas such as building a sustainable civilization and global well-being. Advocating integration and recognizing global relations of interdependence, the tolerant, holistic and pluralistic ideas contained in the European Dream to some extent chime with those of the Chinese Dream. However the starting point of the European Dream was its own recovery from the degeneration of World War II, rather than actively seeking cooperation with the wider world. In this respect it differs from the Chinese approach of seeking harmony and friendly relations with all other countries, and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect.

The Chinese Dream is the Dream of China as a Great Power

A thousand people may have a thousand different Chinese dreams. What, then, does the Chinese Dream boil down to? The Chinese Dream is one of liberation, reviving the nation, modernization; it is a dream of wealth and strength, democracy, civilization; of justice, prosperity, success; a people's dream. It is a dream of peace across the Taiwan straits, of national unity; a dream of reform, of decent living standards for all, of a stronger China. But more importantly the Chinese Dream is one of world peace and world harmony...

Astronaut Liu Yang salutes crowds after leaving the re-entry capsule of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia, on June 29, 2012.

"What is the Chinese Dream?" is a question that can be answered in many ways. But in terms of the collective dream of the people, the Chinese Dream is the recovery and rebirth of the Chinese nation. Xi Jinping says, "Everybody has their own ideal, pursuit and dream. Today everybody is talking about the Chinese Dream. I believe the greatest dream of the Chinese nation in modern history is national renewal. This dream encapsulates the long-cherished wishes of several generations of Chinese people, embodies the interests of the entire Chinese people, and corresponds to the hopes and expectations of all the sons and daughters of China. History tells us that our personal future and fate are closely linked to the country's and the nation's. If the country is doing well, the people do well, and everybody does well. Realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation is a glorious but arduous task that will require the combined efforts of generations of Chinese people. Empty talk jeopardizes the nation, hard work rejuvenates it. We, this generation of Communist Party members, must act as a link between past and future and carry forward the cause by building the Party, and uniting the sons and daughters of China to strengthen the country; we must develop our economy and forge valiantly ahead with the great task of reviving the Chinese nation."

The Chinese Dream is one of building a great nation. But this can only be achieved by economic, political, cultural and social reform; so it is a dream of reform, a dream of democracy, of law, of development. Realizing the Chinese Dream means addressing systemic issues such as tackling official corruption, the wealth gap, social trust and integrity, environmental degradation, and a whole array of issues that require urgent attention. We must keep power reined within the cage of regulations and raise the banner of the constitution. "All the peoples of China, all state bodies, the armed forces, social organizations, enterprises and other organizations, must make the constitution their basic guide in all activities. They are duty-bound to uphold the sanctity of the constitution and ensure that its provisions are implemented. No organization or individual can override laws and the constitution." This is the fundamental guarantee of realizing the Chinese Dream.

Realizing the great dream of reviving the Chinese nation not only requires the courage to face problems, but also demands effective measures and methods to solve these problems. The correct path is the unity of theory and practice, and realizing that solid, practical work brings results. Whether it is the dream of reform, of law, of democracy, prosperity, strengthening the country, reviving the nation, whatever dream or aspiration we aim at, we must keep our feet firmly planted on the grounds, work together, investigate all options, and remember that results depend on hard work. "The life of the constitution consists in its implementation; the authority of the constitution depends on its implementation. We must untiringly and unremittingly carry on the work of implementing the constitution, take the comprehensive implementation of the constitution to a higher level." China still has many very real problems to overcome. From a development point of view, in many aspects of governance, economy, culture, ethics, science, education, and so on, we still lag behind the United States and Europe and, therefore, we need to work hard to improve our ability to solve these and other problems.

The Chinese submersible Jiaolong completes its third 7,000-meter dive on June 22, 2012.

For a long time the Chinese have been known as a deep-thinking, thoughtful people, but one whose practice lagged behind its knowledge, who could not coordinate theory and practice and therefore missed many opportunities to develop. By comparison, the West, America and Europe, long ago grasped the importance of linking theoretical investigation with practical activity. To realize the dream of national revival, China must learn from the pioneering, progressive and pragmatic approach of the Americans and Europeans and put these lessons into practice. China currently has a major strategic development opportunity within its grasp. To avoid missing this historic opportunity we must combine, theory with practice and hard work, enrich and perfect the concepts and ideals of the Chinese Dream, and use our renewed spirit to enter the mainstream of world development.

Young ethnic minority people play on a swing in Guizhou Province. Photo/Liang Ming

The Chinese Dream is Every Chinese Person's Dream of Happiness

The Chinese Dream is the people's dream, the dream of the common man and woman; it is every individual and household's dream of happiness, prosperity, security and rights. It is a dream of justice, success or simply one of becoming modestly well-off.

Two children attend school in Inner Mongolia. Inner Mongolia has paid particular attention to the education of national minority children. Photo/Zhang Ling

China has a collectivist tradition, but in fulfilling the Chinese Dream of reviving the nation and emphasizing the welfare of the people as a whole, we do not neglect the interests of the individual. Individual dreams can promote the development of the whole country, as continuing fascination with the American Dream demonstrates. The American system exemplifies the advantages of encouraging individual effort; everyone has an equal chance of success, and through hard work and effort can realize their dreams. It cannot be denied that the American Dream allows for personal development and a relatively large amount of freedom. At the same time, the American Dream is not an absolute rejection of collectivism, since it recognizes that the realization of individual dreams helps to realize the national dream. European culture shares the Western-style emphasis on independence, freedom and individual liberty, values talented individuals who stand out from the crowd, encourages individual effort and releases individual creativity, all of which helped promote the modernization of Britain, France and other European countries.

Western culture's emphasis on the individual has much to recommend it. Today's Chinese Dream consciously pays attention to these issues and has abandoned the restrictions associated with extreme forms of collectivism. While still stressing collectivism it does not neglect the needs of the individual, but attempts to implement a practical, people-oriented system. A viewpoint widely circulated on the Internet seems to sum up Chinese-style individualism: "Where you are standing is precisely your China. How you are is how China is. What you are is what China is. If your future is bright, China's cannot be dark."

Visitors have a panoramic view from the ferris wheel on top of the Guangzhou Tower. Photo/Liu Xiaoming

Two women in a car on a highway in Shanghai. Photo/Liu Xiangcheng

The Central Business District of Beijing is home to offices of many of the world's top 500 enterprises.

The Chinese Dream sets the tone for the individual dreams of Chinese people. As the dream of the country as a whole, it incorporates the dreams of each individual and household. It does not exist only for the sake of the country or as a hollow response to the memory of a century of humiliation. It also exists for the sake of the rights and welfare of each individual citizen. The Chinese Dream pays close attention to realizing the dreams of each individual in respect of education, work, income, social insurance, health care, housing needs and the environment. It respects individual dignity. It creates possibilities for individual development. It created the notions of a "healthy great power mindset" and "rational nationalism." In the theory and practice of the Chinese Dream, the paths of individual development and national revival converge.

Shanghai's transportation system helps sustain its bustling nightlife. Photo/Lyv Baohe.

The Chinese Dream is about the recovery and peaceful rise of the Chinese nation. It is also about the creation of a new national image. We must at all times present ourselves to the world as a model developing country, but also a great country. We must preserve our age-old traditions of cordiality, harmony, honesty and integrity, but also, as a great developing nation, forge ahead with an enlightened, open, confident, modern spirit and a tolerant, optimistic, open-minded attitude to the world.

The Chinese Dream is a Cultural Dream

More than 34,000 people celebrate National Keep Fit Day by doing Taiji in front of the Bird's Nest stadium on August 8, 2009. Photo/Cui Jun.

The Scroll of the Olympic Manifesto is unveiled at the opening of Olympic Manifesto Square, Beijing Olympic Green, June 23, 2012. Photo/Guo Jianshe

The Chinese Dream is a dream of a cultured China, of a civilized China, of rebuilding China's image in the eyes of the world. As the luster of the American Dream gradually fades, and the European Dream is still in the period of exploration, the Chinese Dream can offer the world a conceptual model of development with Chinese characteristics that avoids the drawbacks of capitalist development, borrows from the modernization experience of other countries, and synthesizes the best of the East and the West. The Chinese Dream is a distillation of the universal aspects of Chinese culture's value system. It offers humanity an internationalized version of the spirit of Chinese culture. It is an historical embodiment of the spirit of Chinese culture; it presents a modern interpretation of China's traditional value system to the world. It is a positive contribution to the reconstruction of the world cultural order and global development.

The dream of a cultured China means that, while continuously modernizing its economy, China should offer its vast and rich culture to the world, emphasizing its open and progressive character, and its heartfelt advocacy of the cultural ideal of peace. As a projection of China's image on the cultural plane, "Cultural China" means offering the best elements of Chinese traditional culture to the world, while at the same time, through dialogue and exchange, embracing and incorporating the finest cultural achievements of each country, so as to modernize and preserve the appeal and vitality of China's image.

A woman in a wedding dress and a man wearing an old-style military uniform pose for pictures on Saint Valentine's Day in Beijing. Photo/Cui Hao

China is the only country in history to have preserved its civilization since ancient times. China's modernization is about reviving the past glories of Chinese civilization, not just economic and social development, but it also means bringing Chinese traditional culture up-to-date. Whether it is a matter of enhancing China's "soft power" and global influence, promoting economic and cultural development, or building a harmonious society, we need to project a new international image of a spirited and creative "Cultural China."

Because culture permeates every aspect of modern life, to be widely accepted and recognized in all countries of the world, "Cultural China" must display the most concrete and intimate aspects of China's international image. "Cultural China" must also convey the richness and specificity of Chinese culture, reinterpreted for the 21st century, and its ongoing, ground-breaking and creative contributions to world culture.

The first high-speed train from Wuhan to Guangzhou leaves Wuhan's new railway station on December 26, 2009. Photo/Zhou Guoqiang

High-speed trains await maintenance in a locomotive depot in Wuhan, January 12, 2012.

Historically, there was a "Confucian cultural zone" based on Chinese culture and an East Asian tributary system with China as its center. This was partly the result of China's highly developed economy at the time, but also reflected the powerful influence of China's culture and way of life on surrounding countries. In today's world of universal human values - distilled from humanity's multiple value systems as the result of dialogue and exchange - a "Cultural China" must present itself as a unified, but at the same time pluralistic and attractive, competitive developing country; a peace-loving China that respects all human cultural values. A peace-loving, creative, open-minded, outward-looking and rational "Cultural China" will win the trust and respect of the international community and ensure the early realization of the people's dream of China's peaceful rise.

The Chinese Dream is Common Dream of Chinese People on Both Sides of the Taiwan Straits and Worldwide

General Secretary Xi Jinping, when meeting the honorary chairman of the Kuomintang, Lien Chan and other guests from all walks of life in Taiwan, stressed the importance of the peaceful development of cross-straits relations, the promotion of peaceful reunification, and expressed the hope that compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan straits would share the same Chinese Dream.

Xi Jinping pointed out that the Chinese mainland and Taiwan share a common fate and destiny. In modern times, the Chinese people suffered at the hands of the great powers. That period of humiliation is a painful memory for all Chinese people. Since then, the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has been the dream of all Chinese people. Today we are more confident than at any time in history that we can realize this dream. "Brothers, be of one mind, unity is strength." National revival requires the joint efforts of compatriots on both sides of the straits. We sincerely hope that Taiwan and the mainland will develop along a common path and that compatriots on both sides of the straits will work together to realize the Chinese Dream. Joining hands to promote the peaceful development of cross-straits relations and achieve the revival of the Chinese nation, should become the main theme of cross-straits relations and the common mission of China's sons and daughters on both sides of the straits.

Mr. Lien Chan made it clear that "One China, peace across the straits, mutual harmony, and reviving the Chinese nation," are the way forward. He proposed "ending hostilities, gradually resolving disputes," consolidating and advancing the present situation of peaceful development of cross-straits relations. "Exchange, consultation, mutual respect, strengthening fellow-feeling," a process of "mutually beneficial integration," in which the two sides "shelve disputes" and "agree to differ," while "seeking consensus and dissolving differences" will finally lead to "mutually beneficial integration" and the deepening of cross-straits relations. Despite cross-straits political differences, the two sides can "govern separately but respect each other," strengthen cooperation and seek win-win solutions, hold discussions, build consensus, and establish a "balanced, reciprocal and effective" political framework that will help ensure cross-straits development, stability and peace.

Mo Yan receives the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Stockholm Concert Hall, December 10, 2012.

Mr. Lien Chan especially emphasized the common goal of national revival shared by compatriots on both sides of the straits. This means "promoting the welfare of the people and enhancing national dignity," while looking forward to the Chinese Dream of peaceful reunification.

We should provide mutual aid and protection, advancing hand in hand. The Chinese Dream is also the common dream of the world's 80 million overseas Chinese, a dream of washing away a century of humiliation, of confidently and independently claiming a place among the world's peoples, of preserving and handing on the universal values of China's traditional culture and acting as a bridge connecting the global Chinese community.

The Chinese Dream is the Dream of a Beautiful China

The Chinese Dream is the dream of a beautiful China, of a beautiful environment. The slogan "Beautiful China" put forward at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) resonated at home and abroad. This new idea proposed at key point is set to become a watchword of China's future development.

Beautiful China is, first and foremost, an ecological concept. After 30 years of rapid social and economic development we find ourselves facing resource depletion, environmental pollution, and serious degeneration of the ecosystem. How to respect nature, act in harmony with nature, protect nature, make friends with nature, achieve sustainable development, are major issues facing China. Promoting green development, the recycling economy, low carbon development and establishing new ecological concepts and practices, are essential if we are to ensure the continued development of the Chinese nation and realize the age-old dream of a beautiful China.

But Beautiful China is not just an ecological concept. It is a grander and broader concept of civilization. The problem of ecology does not only relate to nature and the environment, but is also intimately related with the economic, political, cultural and social construction of our entire civilization. It follows that the idea of "Beautiful China" does not just relate to mountains and rivers, but also encompasses the creation of a beautiful society, culture, life and spirit.

The dream of a beautiful China is a state of mind that will stimulate the creativity of the entire nation; a new frontier, signifying that China has embarked on a new stage in its journey; a type of faith, the ageless and boundless faith of all the sons and daughters of China; a mighty and ambitious enterprise that will benefit countless future generations.

The Chinese Dream is a Dream of Universal Harmony

The music and dance epic Road to Revival is performed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the People's Republic of China.

Civilization magazine launches a special issue entitled Road to Revival to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution and the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of China.

"The world belongs to the people" expresses the Chinese people's dream of global harmony. Chinese traditional culture has always clung to the dream of a united and harmonious world – a great harmonious community. The Chinese Dream is a dream of the entire world united in harmony. China will never seek hegemony.

In our turbulent modern world, marked by friction between nations, peoples, regions and religions, fighting never seems to end, and we can never seem to rid ourselves of the shadow of war and terrorism. But peace, reconciliation, international cooperation and living together in harmony are clearly better ways of handling the relations between nations and peoples. The significance of China for today's world is that China is a driving force for economic, political and cultural progress, world peace, security and human happiness.

A river runs through the Zhengdong News District of Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, in central China.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Western world, headed by the United States, has been vigorously promoting the "China threat theory." According to the Americans, rising China is a "dissatisfied, ambitious, restless power, determined to dominate Asia." The Western media piles up China "threats" one after the other – economic threats, food safety threats, military threats, environmental threats, and cultural threats. Since 2001 another "theory" cut from the same cloth – the "China collapse theory" - has been doing the rounds – and the image of China as a "powerful but unstable" country has gained currency in the international community. These spurious "China threat" and "China collapse" theories have seriously damaged China's global image and affected its national interests.

The roots of the "China threat" and "China collapse" theories lie in the hegemonic mindset of the Western powers. But we should also recognize that as China has gone out into the world and integrated with the international community, other countries' (including Western countries') understanding of China has fallen far short of China's understanding of the world.

Gao Meili, a rural migrant worker, was a delegate to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. 26 migrant workers were elected delegates to the 18th Congress. Over the past decade, migrant workers have played an increasingly important role in China's economic and social development.

Unlike the "with us or against us" approach characteristic of Western culture, the Chinese Dream advocates "seeking common ground and shelving differences." The Chinese approach is to seek harmony and contact, and is comfortable with, and accepting of, global diversity. Chinese culture is open and inclusive. In the course of its development, China has continuously evolved by absorbing and assimilating different regional cultures. China's geography dictated that from the start its culture was the product of an amalgamation of different cultures. In its early period, epitomized by the Han and Tang dynasties, Chinese culture was open and inclusive, and absorbed many different influences. These periods were characterized by creativity and innovation, breadth of vision, and the ability to absorb the best features of other cultures. But in more modern times, China's stagnation and decline were results of its loss of many of these open and tolerant aspects of its culture.

A night view of the Sao Paulo Cathedral in Macau. Photo/Chen Xianyao

In the process of realizing the Chinese Dream of reviving the nation, keeping an open mind, adopting the best elements of the cultures of other nations, will allow China to share in world culture, and share its culture with the world. In this way, countries will come to understand and respect each other's strengths, and learn to live in peace with each other. This is not about trying to transform other countries, but rather about taking their interests into account and actively cooperating with others to address the new development challenges facing the world. This is China's dream for the world, the real meaning of the dream of world harmony.

Reform and Innovation - the Forces that Can Turn China Around

Spring flowers bloom on grassland in Xinjiang against a background of blue sky and snow mountains. Photo/Zhang Bing

The Chinese people have together created the great dream of national renewal. However putting this dream into practice will not be plain sailing. Chinese society is passing through a period of profound transformation; the reform process is entering deep water; development has reached a bottleneck; we must make a determined effort to eradicate the deep-seated problem of corruption. Implementing the Chinese Dream will not be a bed of roses. The Chinese Dream includes all types of dreams; it is full of different opinions, different plans, different viewpoints, different "isms," and even full of skepticism, doubts, opposition and contention.

 

We face a host of problems - contaminated infant milk formula, polluted air, food safety crisis, arable land depletion, housing problems, disturbances arising from demolitions and resettlement, unfair distribution of income, slow pace of political reform, high cost of maintaining order and stability, unfavorable international situation and continuing global economic downturn. The road ahead is thorny and strewn with pitfalls, but we must steel ourselves and mobilize all the forces of the Chinese nation to embark on a new Long March.

Today, the Internet, mobile phones and other new media are rapidly expanding the public arena, increasing cultural diversity, and giving rise to novel thinking and competing values. Society has been seized by a passion for political participation and involvement. The democratic right to be involved in politics has become a basic demand of all citizens. The issues they raise revolve around the basic dreams of ordinary people for a decent quality of life, including concerns like whether they will have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe. The Chinese Dream is not all about bombastic articles and theories, or top leaders making speeches; it is also about dealing with such concrete and down-to-earth issues such as a glass of water and a breath of fresh air.

The lush grassland of Inner Mongolia. Photo/Dong Yu

Today, more and more Chinese citizens have the courage to dream, and more and more ordinary citizens are willing and eager to speak out on public affairs. They are making the connection between their own everyday dreams and the great political dreams of the nation, and are joining this great procession of dreamers. Democratic participation in government has become the passion of this great nation of nearly 1.4 billion, as it is the aim of any country advancing towards maturity. It is the most important precondition of our modern state's progress towards prosperity and strength.

Does not the Chinese Dream paint a vision of a glorious future?

Written by Jin Yuanpu, a professor at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of Renmin University of China, a PhD supervisor and a top scholar in the discipline of literature and arts.