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Building soft power of social sciences

While it is increasingly confident in economic growth, China is making great efforts to strengthen its social sciences.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has pledged to step up building “philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics,” a system including various fields such as history, economics, politics, culture and ecology.

People in these fields must shoulder their responsibilities, consolidate confidence in Chinese culture and enhance innovation, said Liu Yunshan, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, at a high-level seminar held on Wednesday.

The remarks came one year after President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made a speech at a symposium on the development of philosophy and social sciences. The speech, ranging from Marxism and the CPC leadership to talent cultivation and innovation, was regarded by academics and officials as a guiding thought on developing these fields.

A country without advanced development of the natural sciences could not possibly be a leading nation, and neither can a country without booming achievements in philosophy and social sciences, Xi said at the symposium held on May 17 last year.

As the country undergoes some of the most profound and widespread social reform in its history, the nation’s drive is expected to generate power and broad space for developing theory, said Professor Xie Chuntao with the CPC Central Committee Party School.

Better narration

He noted that China’s performance in philosophy and social sciences has not kept up with its progress in reform and opening up, and efforts are needed to better sum up and analyze the country’s successful endeavors. Academics must work harder to generate theories to support future development, Xie said.

Chinese academics are finding it more difficult to use Western theories to interpret Chinese practices in the economy, politics and society. They are also not being understood by their Western colleagues when explaining what China is doing now.

Professor Wang Yiwei with Renmin University of China said: “If we cannot build our own guiding ideology, discourses and academic systems of philosophy and social sciences, we will never gain confidence in our path and socialist system.”

Stressing that Marxism is the “soul and advantage” of China’s philosophy and social sciences, Liu urged increasing the sinicization of Marxism. Studying new theories developed since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 is a priority, he said.

President Xi’s speeches are rich in content and deep in thought, including the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the “new normal” theory, supply-side structural reform, democratic politics with Chinese characteristics, people-oriented development, ideological building, poverty eradication, a community of shared future, Party building, comprehensive state security and military strengthening.

(The article is from Xinhua News Agency. Shanghai Daily condensed the article.)

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