Academia sums up achievements on occasion of Congress

By DUAN DANJIE and SUN MEIJUAN / 10-20-2022 / Chinese Social Sciences Today

The gate of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences building is decorated with Chinese characters meaning “Celebrating the National Day and Embracing the 20th CPC National Congress.” Photo: Zhu Gaolei/CSST

On Oct. 16, the 20th CPC National Congress opened in Beijing. General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping delivered a speech to the congress. Over the past 10 years since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Chinese philosophy and social science community has contributed wisdom to the great achievements and transformation of the Party and the country, with leapfrog development in many major projects and landmark achievements in philosophy and social sciences.

Academic prosperity

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, philosophy and social science research has been focusing on comprehensive, strategic, and forward-looking theories and practical issues in China’s economic and social development, while accelerating the construction of the disciplinary, academic, and discourse systems for philosophy and social sciences with Chinese features. As such, the academic community has provided scientific advice for major national strategic decisions, and pooled strength to build a great modern socialist country.

Yao Zhizhong, a delegate to the 20th CPC National Congress and secretary of the Party Committee of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), elaborated on the great achievements in building the disciplinary system, academic system, and discourse system for philosophy and social sciences with Chinese features over the past decade in the new era. 

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to interdisciplinary construction. On the basis of full argumentation and extensive consultation, the State Council’s Academic Degrees Committee decided to set “interdisciplinary categories,” and support institutions of higher learning to independently institute relevant secondary disciplines or interdisciplines, improving the disciplinary system steadily, Yao said. 

Academic evaluation has always had an important role in the systematic project of developing philosophy and social sciences with Chinese features in the new era, Yao continued. The continuous advancement of measures such as comprehensively deepening reform of the professional title system, scientifically improving the talent evaluation system, and strengthening the academic community of journals, has lifted the levels of academic construction and academic evaluation constantly.

In terms of the discourse system, extracting iconic concepts is the cornerstone of all academic theoretical systems, Yao commented. The academic community is actively creating iconic concepts with Chinese characteristics and international influence to improve global understandings of China.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xi has put forward a series of important expositions regarding archaeology of cultural relics, giving a new historical mission to the development of archaeology in the new era. Looking back on achievements from China’s archaeological endeavors over the past decade, Wang Wei, CASS Member and president of the Archaeological Society of China, said that the last 10 years saw the fastest development and most fruitful achievements in 100 years—since the birth of modern Chinese archaeology. 

For starters, the number of excavation projects rose from hundreds in 2012 to more than 1,400 in 2022. Meanwhile, the proportion of proactive archaeological excavations with a clear academic purpose also increased significantly. There have been countless groundbreaking archaeological discoveries, such as at the Erlitou site in Henan, Sanxingdui site in Sichuan, Liangzhu site in Zhejiang, Shimao site in Shaanxi, and Taosi site in Shanxi, among others. After several generations of scholars’ efforts, the research results of major projects—including the project tracing the origins of Chinese civilization—have proven that Chinese civilization has more than 5,000 years of history. A Chinese criterion defining a “civilized society” has also been introduced, making an important contribution to the study of the origins of world civilization, Wang said.  

People-centered research orientation

In his speech at the Seminar on Philosophy and Social Sciences in 2016, Xi called for adherence to a people-centered research orientation in China’s philosophy and social sciences. This requirement has pointed the way for the prosperity and development of philosophy and social sciences with Chinese features in the new era. Over the past 10 years, the Chinese philosophy and social science community has remained true to this mission of upholding the people-centered research orientation.

Development is the master key to solving all problems in China. What kind of development should be achieved, and how development can be achieved, are essential questions the Party must answer to lead the people in governing the country. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has made scientific judgments on the economic situation, accurately grasped the new development stage, thoroughly implemented the new development philosophy, and accelerated the construction of the new development paradigm. The Chinese economy has made great strides forward along the new track of high-quality development. 

Zhao Xijun, a professor from the School of Finance at Renmin University of China, said that economics has played a crucial role in promoting the Chinese economy to achieve historic achievements and effectuate historic changes. In recent years, a series of studies conducted by the economics community have greatly fueled the solid implementation of national development strategies, such as supply-side structural reform, economic restructuring, transformation, and upgrading, completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and moving towards common prosperity, innovation-driven development, and improving the ecological environment and living conditions. 

After eight years of the fight against poverty, nearly 100 million people have all been lifted out of poverty, and all of the 832 registered poor counties in China have been removed from the poverty list. For the first time in history, absolute poverty has been eliminated, and the region-wide poverty problem has been resolved, Zhao said. 

From winning the battle against poverty to fully advancing rural vitalization, China’s achievements in poverty alleviation are remarkable.   

Zhang Qi, director of the China Institute for Poverty Reduction at Beijing Normal University, who has been on the frontline of poverty alleviation, noted that the scale of China’s poverty eradication is unprecedented in world history, and the country’s poverty reduction has exemplified the CPC’s solemn commitment to prioritizing the people’s interests. Following the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping commanded, deployed, and supervised the battle against poverty in person, presiding over seven central poverty alleviation work conferences, investigating poverty alleviation work more than 50 times, and inspecting more than 20 impoverished villages. He creatively proposed targeted poverty alleviation strategies and fostered innovative theories and practices for poverty reduction with profundity and depth. 

“China’s successful practice and valuable experience in eliminating absolute poverty have deepened understandings of the law of human poverty reduction, enriched and developed humanity’s anti-poverty theory, and offered Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions to all countries around the world, especially developing countries, on eliminating absolute poverty,” Zhang said.

People’s wellbeing is the foundations of the people’s happiness and social development. Over the years, improving people’s wellbeing has consistently been the main theme of China’s social construction and development. 

Lin Mingang, director of the Center for Social Security Research at Nanjing University, said that in the new era, the Party has taken a long-term perspective, consolidated its roots in the people and opened up new paths to improve people’s wellbeing. Starting from education, medical care, housing, elderly care, and other concerns of the people, the Party has earnestly taken solving problems concerned with people’s wellbeing as the growth point and focus of economic development, making steady progress in ensuring access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance.

The implementation of China’s Civil Code in 2021 pushes the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics to a new height, regulating, guiding, and guaranteeing China’s overall national economy and people’s wellbeing. Several generations of civil jurists have played a key role in the compilation of the Civil Code. 

Xie Hongfei, a research fellow from the Institute of Law at CASS, noted that civil jurists not only provided beneficial and common rules in comparative law to the compilation of the Civil Code, but also summarized new experience of judicial practices based on the essence of fine Chinese traditional culture and socialist characteristics to respond to the demand for law in the fields of information technology and ecological protection. Their efforts have added distinctive contemporary relevance, Chinese features, and practicality to China’s Civil Code. After the promulgation of the Civil Code, academic circles in civil law have been devoting themselves to commentary on, and interpretation of, the code, providing strong support for the accurate understanding and application of the code.

“In the future, social sciences will, in theory, usher in major developments in the study of complex social systems; methodologically, computational social sciences will bring about a paradigm shift,” said Luo Jiade, director of the Center for Social Network Research at Tsinghua University. Anti-reductionism, open systems, networks, self-organization, autopoiesis, self-adaptation, and other theories in research on complex social systems will generate revolutionary impacts on the existing theoretical system, and these impacts can lead to real revolutionary developments precisely due to computational social sciences. The introduction of big data and artificial intelligence, as well as the integration of traditional quantitative and qualitative research methods, will help verify theoretical models such as dynamic evolution, nonlinear development, and network dynamics, contributing to major breakthroughs in policy and application.

Chinese philosophy and social sciences have written vivid footnotes for the development of the times. Forging ahead, while staying true to its original mission, on the occasion of the 20th CPC National Congress, the Chinese philosophy and social science community will strive to accomplish even more.