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China sees vibrant philosophy and social science development

DUAN DANJIE | 2022-05-26 | Hits:
Chinese Social Sciences Today

The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, located in east China’s Zhejiang Province, bear testimony to the over 5,000-year-long Chinese civilization. Photo: XINHUA

On May 17, 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the Seminar on Philosophy and Social Sciences, calling for developing philosophy and social sciences with Chinese features.

Over the past six years, Chinese academics of philosophy and the social sciences have focused on major theoretical and practical issues in the new era, and produced remarkable insightful research with academic profundity and application value.
New discoveries
As a major national-level multi-disciplinary comprehensive research project on ancient Chinese history and culture, the Origins of Chinese Civilization Project [announced in 2001] has made solid progress over the past six years, and effectively demonstrated the continuation of Chinese civilization, which spans more than 5,000 years. 
Wang Wei, the project’s chief expert and a Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that following the correct application of Marxist methodology, and judging from actual archaeological materials in Liangzhu, Taosi, Shimao and other sites of capital-level cities, a Chinese plan is proposed for judging the standards for whether human beings have entered a civilized society: production and cities; social division and differentiation; the emergence of classes; and the emergence of kingship and the state. This is a breakthrough from the old standards once recognized in the world, which believed that metallurgy, use of the writing system, and the appearance of cities are the three symbols used when determining entry into a civilized society.
“The next task is to effectively introduce the project’s research results both at home and abroad through various means, while continuing to deepen theoretical research, so that the Chinese civilization’s glorious 5,000-year history can be more widely recognized,” Wang said.
Theoretical innovation
Contemporary China is going through extensive and profound social changes, which has provided strong impetus and broad space for Chinese theoretical creation and academic prosperity.
Over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China’s rapid development has attracted worldwide attention, providing important theoretical and practical prerequisites for advancing the construction of the discipline system, academic system, and discourse system in the field of economics, especially the in-depth study of China’s experience. Justin Yifu Lin, a professor at Peking University, believes that China is “the only country in the world that has not experienced a systemic economic crisis in the past four decades,” which provides fertile ground for the theoretical innovation of a new and uniquely Chinese path to modernization.
Under the theme “A New and Uniquely Chinese Path to Modernization,” The International Academic Forum in China 2021 was successfully convened last October. More than 100 scholars from within China and more than 20 other countries conducted in-depth interdisciplinary academic dialogues from historical and practical perspectives under the theme.
Looking back on over 40 years of exchanges with Chinese academia, the then 93-year-old Nishihara Haruo, former president of Waseda University in Japan, said in his video speech at the forum’s Opening Ceremony that “looking back to the 1980s, it is so obvious how happy the Chinese people are today.” By comparing the past and the present, “we can correctly analyze this great change of both success and twists and turns from the perspective of social sciences. It helps to clarify future directions to complete modernization by 2035, and the next good vision after completion of modernization.”
For philosophy and social sciences with Chinese features to develop and prosper, it is necessary to effectively stimulate their innovative vitality in the multi-dimensional construction of theory and practice, reality and future, and China and the world. Only in this way can Chinese academia gradually approach the center of the world academic stage and make new and greater contributions to the progress of human academic civilization.
Edited by JIANG HONG