Ⅰ. Carrying forward the Patriotism and Enhancing People’s Strength of Character.


Patriotism is a positive and supportive attitude of an individual or the group towards their motherland, which is one of the civic virtues being possessed by every one. Patriotism is an expression of the love towards one’s country. The direct embodiment of motherland is fellow citizen, while for a country, it is the political power. Changing the name can be counted as losing one’s country; while losing the culture is losing the world. Here is a Chinese saying: “Every one is responsible for his country”. China can only be flourishing with the culture goes on. Loving one’s motherland is loving their culture, which is guarding China’s traditional culture. Patriotism is bound to be spontaneous. It originates from the basic view of interest and conscience and seems like being a part of people’s blood which can not be removed thoroughly. Because it is such kind of potential existed in almost every body, patriotism is the deepest emotion to one’s motherland settled for thousands of years. It is combined with the character of contributing to and being responsible for the country. Patriotism is a lofty ideology and morality.


Great Chinese nation has a long history which can not be separated from patriotism for its important role as the spiritual pillar and mental wealth. Patriotism is a strong feeling of people who have the deep attaching to their homeland where they grew up and their nation. This feeling which existed in the long river of history finally obtained the identity of social mentality by the whole ethnic group and transferred to patriotic consciousness after thousands of years of aggregation and countless excitation. It is also a power of morality and have an immeasurable effect on the living and development of a country and the nation. During the development of thousands of years, Chinese nation has developed into a great national spirit centered on patriotism with the character of unity, peace loving, diligent and brave quality, willing to devote as well as unremitting self-improvement.


Patriotism is the main melody of socialist literature and art, which should be sang all the time. Xi Jinping pointed out that we must take patriotism as the main melody of literature and art creation, guide people to establish and uphold correct views of history, views of the nation, views of the country and views of culture, and strengthen their fortitude and resolve to be Chinese.


Ⅱ. Upholding China’s National Character and Safeguarding Ethnic Unity.


Xi Jinping indicated that China’s national culture is extensive and profound. Learning and mastering its essence of thought is beneficial for fostering a correct worldview, outlook on life and sense of values. The saying of ancient people such as the political aspiration of “worrying ahead of the people, and enjoying after the people”; the patriotism of “concerning the country even in the low social status” and “I will do whatever it takes to serve my country even at the cost of my own life, regardless of fortune or misfortune to myself”; awe-inspiring righteousness of “indulge never in money and rank, apostatize never when in poverty and hardship, surrender never to power and force”; and the devotion of “A death befalls all men alike, I’ll keep a loyal heart to make a name shinning in history” as well as “bending on work and exerting oneself to the utmost, never stop until his dying day” are all the embodiment of fine traditional culture and national spirit of Chinese nation. And we should inherit and carry forward all of them.


National spirit is the reflection of national consciousness, culture, custom, character, belief, religion, values and its pursuit formed in the process and accumulation of history. It can be seen as the essential ideology which keep, coordinate, guide and promote national existence and development of traditional national culture and also the centralized embodiment of vitality, creativity and cohesiveness of one nation.  It is the core and soul of a nation to depend on, live together and enjoy common development. National spirit is a mental status yielded in the long-term development of one nation. It is cultural life of wisdom which was edified and integrated by race, lineage, living custom, historical culture and philosophical thinking, and it can also be seen as the inner mentality as well as conscience keeping and goodness cultivating of a nation. National spirit can be reflected on the moral integrity, tolerance, manner and daily performances. In particular, it was manifested by the way of keeping one’s countenance, striving to make achievement, unremitting self-improvement, dauntless integrity and mood when the nation was in adversity. The spirit of a nation is its soul, the demonstration of its unique character, and also the root of wisdom that can lead one to truth. Within one nationality, there must be its common cultural awareness, living custom, moral standard, mentality of suffering and philosophical thinking, otherwise the divergence would appear. Therefore, national spirit is the lifeblood of a nation, the key for a nation to be one heart and one mind and also an important pivot on national continuity and development.


National spirit is distinct in national character, which refers to the feature of mental quality of national culture existed as the basic core and demonstrated in a specific national culture. This character is an abstraction in highest level for the cultural characteristic of a particular nation. National spirit reflects self-awareness of a nation. It is the self-identification and sense of self-belonging for the members of a nation with regard to their own nation and culture. It is the volition and quality of a nation formed in the process of historical development with its own national character and the demonstration of its national spiritual temperament. It embodies a concentrated reflection of values, common ideal and the way of thinking of a nation. One national spirit comparing to other national spirit shows its irreplaceable and unique prescription, this stipulation embodies the incommensurability of spiritual features of different nations. Different nation exists in different natural environment and lifestyle, so the cultural creation with unique features conducted on the basis of this difference composes into the historical foundation of a nation. No nation, no spirit. Mr. Stalin pointed out in his Marxism and National Question that we must notice the spiritual character of the people who compose to a nation. All the nations are different not only because their different living conditions but their spiritual forms which embodied in national cultural characters are also different.


National spirit is distinct in era which means the time character of national spirit embodied in its historical evolution. That is the fundamental nature of keeping pace with the times. Any kind of national spirit exists in a certain period of time, closely linking with the politics, economy and culture of a certain period. In order to ensure the historic task can be accomplished successfully, the nation should show its initiative, positive and opportune features to carry forward and abandon some of its national spirit as well as renew and transfer some. In this way, it can reflect a new historic character, master the new laws of times thus achieving the combination with new era and becoming a new national spirit. Actually, national spirit is the accumulation of time spirit in every historic period. In the final analysis, culture and spirit are the reflections of the living conditions in a particular society and history. As the spiritual pillar and force in the progress and development of a nation, national spirit always has some relationship with the historic task in the specific period.


National spirit is distinct in historical inheritance. It is the spiritual characteristics or ideology inherited in the process of national development. This spirit was formed gradually with instant enrichment and mature in the development of national extension. It is always connected with the history and culture of a nation. It’s the production of national cultural tradition after unremitting accumulation and sublimation. Spirit of any nation and its traditional culture enjoy a relationship of getting along swimmingly with each other. It was told in Marxism that, people create their own history but not in an arbitrary way. They conduct creation under the established condition which was inherited from the past as soon as they encounter it, so does the creation of cultural spirit. Recent Chinese national spirit is kind of inheritance of ancient one, but also the inheritance of recent and modern national spirit.


National spirit is distinct in initiative which means this spirit can be realized, reflected and understood by the nation itself, so as to proceed self-denial, develop what is useful or healthy and discard what is not. It is not static, on the contrary, it should constantly negate and renew itself with the development of society and history. The initiative of national spirit indicates that the ideology and value orientation which were widely known or accepted by national members might not be the national spirit. Only the ideology and value orientation which were accepted and abode by people can be defined as national spirit. Our Chinese national spirit is the self-conscious national spirit which has been arranged, refined and processed by intellectuals in particular the philosophers of the past dynasties since Spring and Autumn Period and Warring State. After sustained efforts of philosophers of past dynasties, national spirit was advanced to a theoretical form from the simple consciousness and common mentality. Therefore, national spirit can get strengthened and intensified, becoming self-conscious instead of spontaneous.


National spirit is distinct in openness which is the fundamental character of mutual communication, introduction, absorption and promotion between different national spirits. Although national spirit takes the practice of its ethnic members as the main source, it absorbs the values, principles, thoughts and theories which are in line with our living period, society and material environment and also favorable for the survival and development of our own nation from the national spirit of foreign countries. The excellent national spirit belongs to its nation and also to the world. It is attractive and full of charisma for descendants of the same nation residing abroad and members of other descent. It is a part of world cultural treasury. The openness of national spirit makes it possible to exchange cultures. Mutual learning and combination provide different cultures the opportunity to conduct mutual communications and absorption of merits, which embodies the openness of national spirit and culture. When human history enters in civilization from barbarism, especially the shape of world history break the situation of closing doors to the world for the nation and country. Material production and communication become worldwide, therefore, cultural spirit of different nations conduct mutual introduction, absorption and promotion. Under this kind of situation, it is impossible for cultural spirit of any nations to keep closed status.


The splendid Chinese civilization with more than five-thousand-year history is the fertile soil where China’s national spirit was produced to take shape. Li-Yun-Da-Tong (Li-Yun-Dah-Torng) Section, values on time changing and moderation from the Book of Changes, impartial ideology, benevolence, loyalty and consideration as well as broad and deep thought of Pre-Qin Confucianism, broad mind of Taoism, open mind of great void, the hardworking and practice of Mohism and other thoughts are all the historical and cultural pearl of our Chinese nation. They are also the major elements which composed to China’s national spirit.


China’s national spirit was formed step by step in the long process of social and historical development of the Chinese nation. It reflects the social life of Chinese people from all ethnic groups. It is the most essential and centralized embodiment of Chinese culture, and the cultural concentration of the lifestyle, ideal and faith, as well as values of different ethnic groups. It is the spiritual bond, support and power on which Chinese nation relies to survive and develop, and the national soul of innovating the advanced socialist culture. The basic connotation of China’s national spirit includes that Chinese nation has formed a great national spirit centered on patriotism with the character of unity, peace loving, diligent and brave quality as well as unremitting self-improvement during the development of more than five thousand years,.

Ⅲ. Promoting China’s Cultural Spirit and Creating Excellent Works


Xi Jinping indicated that, Chinese nation has more than five-thousand-year unremitting history of civilization, which creates the extensive and profound Chinese culture and makes indelible contributions to the progress of human civilization. After thousands of years of vicissitudes of life, 1.3 billion people from fifty six nations of China could be tightly bound together because of the extraordinary struggle we have experienced, the beautiful home we have co-created and the national spirit we have co-cultivated. And the more important thing though the process is the the ideal and faith we all held tightly.


During the history of thousands of years, China’s traditional culture never stops developing even in ups and downs as well as advancing even in fierce struggle, which creates the great Chinese civilization and casts Chinese people the national character of unremitting self-improvement and energetic and promising features. All of these endue China the cultural spirit with salient national characters.  


The spirit of “Harmony but not Sameness” features in peaceful coexistence and multiple integration. Chinese civilization is essentially a peaceful civilization. It was said in Rites of Book · Doctrine of the Mean that, when the Mean and Harmony are actualized, Heaven and Earth are in their proper positions, and the myriad things are nourished. (The following sentence is Chinese explanation, same meaning no translation.) Harmony but not Sameness is a part of peaceful civilization with great significance beyond time and space. It is the classic explanation and standard of conduct made by Chinese culture for the coexistence and common growth of different countries and civilizations. And at the same time, it is the core values contributed to human civilizations by Chinese culture.


The spirit of “Harmony of Man with Nature” respects for nature and loves peace. This thought shapes the Chinese people with peaceful cultural psychology which is universal and enduring during the thousands of years of changes in the history, indicating the direction for harmonious coexistence between man and nature. It makes great contribution to people’s pursuit of peace and development, rather than the development of ecological civilization and social harmony. The concept of “Harmony of Man with Nature” illustrated that human is a small part of the universe, myriad things on earth move according to a regular pattern. Therefore, people must abide by laws of the nature to conduct self-awareness and self-alteration, only in this way can people adapt to the laws.  


The spirit of inclusiveness is compatible with all things like the sea accepting hundred rivers. China’s traditional culture is distinct in inclusiveness. As the representative of China’s traditional thinking, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism all feature in inclusiveness, standing for “He nourishes the myriad things and they grow up together without harming each other, and they follow their courses simultaneously without interfering with each other.” It is exactly this kind of powerful inclusiveness helps Chinese culture get renewal after one and another challenges and create one and another new historical phases of splendid Chinese civilization, rather than disappear when encountering various shocks from different kinds of foreign cultures.


The spirit of taking responsibilities sets the mind for heaven and earth, strives for the life of people. It is prominent in China’s traditional culture that each individual has the obligation, duty and responsibility for his or her country and nation. A great man is a man of indomitable spirit. Mengzi once said, to dwell in the widest house of the world, to stand in the correctest position of the world, and to walk on the most promising path of the world; when he obtains his desire for office, to practice his principles for the good of the people; and when that desire is disappointed, to practice them alone; neither riches nor honors can corrupt him, neither poverty nor lowly condition can make him swerve from principle, neither threats nor force can bend him - these characteristics constitute the great man. “Every body is responsible for the fate of the world” (quotation from Mr. Gu Yanwu); “Although I can die thousands of times for the stability of my country, grizzled hair on the temples can not turn green again.” (poem of Mr. Lu You); “All men are mortal, but my loyalty will illuminate the annals of history forever.” (quotation from Mr. Wen Tianxiang); “I will do whatever it takes to serve my country even at the cost of my own life, regardless of fortune or misfortune to myself.” (quotation from Mr. Lin Zexu); “To ordain conscience for Heaven and Earth, to secure life and fortune for the people, to continue lost teachings for past sages, to establish peace for all future generations.” (quotation from Mr. Zhang Zai) The tremendous amount of classic expression embodies the great character of taking responsibilities in Chinese culture.


The spirit of fairness and justice brings out all equality and great harmony. “What tortures people is inequality rather than scarcity of labor forces, what gnaws their souls is chaos instead of poverty”; “When the great way prevails, the world is equally shared by all. The talent and virtue are elected. Mutual confidence was emphasized and brotherhood was cultivated. Therefore, people regard all parents as their own, and treat all children as their own. The elders can live in happiness, the adults are employed by their talent, the youths can grow and educate. Widows and widowers, orphans, childless ills and invalids are all well taken care of ... This is called “the Age of Great Harmony”. This kind of philosophy embodies the noble moral realm of people who are actuated by high ideals and the desired social and political state.


The spirit of ethics and morality values family affection and friendship. We live in a world of family affection and walk on the road of friendship. Both of them build a micro society for each of us. The one values more about this spirit and advocates ethic obligation is the Confucian culture which have a greater impact on China’s traditional culture. We can say that China’s traditional culture is full of humanity.


The spirit of reform and opening up emphasizes on flexibility and keeping pace with the times. The concept of Yin and Yang moving interactively fully manifests this spirit. “Any circumstance hitting a limit will begin to change. Change will in turn lead to an unimpeded state, and then lead to continuity.” Chinese nation initiates and implements the proposal of mutual learning and communicating about civilizations. The strategy of going out and bringing in made a giant contribution to the development of human civilization. Therefore, Chinese culture could spread to the outside widely and get enlightened and enriched from the external culture.


Xi Jinping stressed that the creation and production of excellent works must be put on the central link of our literature and art work, and we must strive to produce even more excellent works that disseminate the view on values of present-day China, reflect the spirit of Chinese culture, mirror the aesthetic pursuits of Chinese people, which organically integrate ideology, artistry and enjoyability.

Ⅳ. Developing and Expanding Chinese Aesthetic Spirit, Advancing the Capacity on Identifying.


Xi Jinping noted that pursuing the true, the good and beautiful is the eternal value of literature and art. The highest realm of literature and art is touching people, letting the spirits of people experience baptisms, letting the people discover the beauty of nature, the beauty of life and the beauty of the spirit. We must, through literature and art works, spread the true, the good and the beautiful, spread upward and charitable value views, guide the people in strengthening their powers of moral judgment and their sense of moral honor, yearn for and pursue a life of stressing morals, respecting morals and abiding morals. As long as the Chinese nation pursues the moral plane of the true, the good and the beautiful generation by generation, our nation will be eternally healthy and upward, and will for always be full of hope.


Aesthetics is a course studying the aesthetic relations between human and the world. As an important branch of philosophy, it holds history and reality on the level of philosophical thinking through appreciating the beauty in terms of literature and art. It was believed in traditional Chinese aesthetic judgment that the eye for beauty is on image. Conducting aesthetic actions is to build a world of image outside the physical world. The world full of image lights the real world, which is the so-called “nature” in Chinese aesthetics. It is not the “truth” in logic but real existed, a fun world full of life. Aesthetic activity is such a mental act beyond people’s reason and show its beauty on image. Traditional Chinese aesthetics gives image the most general regulation with “mixing feeling and setting”. However, the feeling and setting here can not be understood as two incarnate things external to each other but a gentle and pleasant combination and smooth bond of “feeling” and “setting”.  

“Learning about China” helps the writer understand that China’s cultural spirit and it’s aesthetic spirit both stand on the unified road. The thinking, theory and spirit of China’s aesthetics are extremely distinct in national thought and national doctrinal mark. One is the aesthetic theory of harmony and inclusiveness unifying people and the nature. The sages such as Laozi, Confucius and Zhuangzi in Pre-Qin period, initiated the great tradition of observing and explaining literature, art and appreciation of beauty through putting them into the brand view of the whole social culture, physical universe and ethical morality. If someone says that the philosophy of “Tao Follows Itself” from Laozi emphasizes on man is an integral part of nature, then the Confucian’s view on etiquette and music, beauty and kindness highlights that the observation upon human’s beauty-appreciation is from individual’s social responsibility. While the philosophy that great beauty keeps silence and freedom is most beautiful from Zhuangzi conducts the observation on human’s beauty of appreciation from the rhythm of life. It laid a foundation for Chinese aesthetics: laying emphasis on kindheartedness, integrity, concordance and great harmony. The other is transcendental and mundane human feelings. Chinese philosophers stand for experiencing the beauty of spirit from human feelings during their living time. The quotation “The way bears sensation, sensation bears memory, sensation and memory bear abstraction, and abstraction bears all the world” of Laozi expressed an emotion of coziness; “follow my heart’s desire without overstepping the line” of Confucian expressed an emotion of freedom and “forgetting both oneself and the external world” of Zhuangzi expressed the free and unfettered emotion. Using one principle runs through all those philosophies we can say it is actually a sort of mix and unity of transcendental and mundane feelings, sticking to life and the emotion as well as the quietness and elegance on spirit. It is the accumulation and sublimation of philosophy and also life’s interest and aesthetic purport which digested the true, the kind and the beautiful. The last is the poetic feature and freehand brushwork which are good at creating imago. China’s aesthetic spirit emphasizes on imago and its essence is being beautiful for the imagery. The aesthetic category possessing national doctrinal idiosyncrasy including emotion, interest, conception, temperament, charm, flavor and quality were derived from China’s aesthetic spirit which stressed on imago.


Xi Jinping pointed out that China’s excellent traditional culture is the spiritual lifeline of the Chinese nation, is an important source nourishing the core socialist values, and is the firm basis for us to get a firm foothold within the global cultural surge. We must integrate the conditions of new times with inheriting and carrying forward China’s excellent traditional culture, and inheriting and carrying forward a Chinese aesthetic spirit. For our socialist literature and art to flourish and develop, we must learn earnestly and draw the merits from the excellent literature and art created by people in all countries worldwide. Only if we persist in using the foreign to serve the Chinese, exploration and innovation, ensuring combinations of the Chinese and the Western, and mastery through comprehensive study, will our country’s literature and art be able to flourish and develop better. Inheriting and carrying forward Chinese aesthetic spirit is an important condition in promoting the socialist literature and art with Chinese characteristics to develop and flourish healthily. Chinese spirit is the soul of socialist literature and art. We must strive to create even more excellent works that disseminate the values of present-day China, reflect the spirit of Chinese culture, mirror the aesthetic pursuits of Chinese people, which organically integrate ideology, artistry and enjoyability. That is the central task of literature and art.

Xi Jinping emphasized that in the area of literature and art creation, the phenomena that there is quantity but no quality, and there are “high plateaus” but no “high peaks” exist, the problem of plagiarism, imitation and stereotypes exist, and the problems of mechanistic production and fast-food-style consumption exist. Literature and art cannot lose its direction as it is absorbed into the market economy, it cannot accept deviations on the question for whom they are, otherwise, literature and art will not have life force. Vulgarity is not popularity, passion does not represent hope, and naive sensual amusement is not equal to spiritual cheer. Superior goods are so excellent due to their deep thought, exquisite art and perfect workmanship. Literature and art workers must hold high ideals, live and create in step with the times and innovate through the individuality of their art. We must persist in the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend, carry forward academic and artistic democracy, construct a vigorous, healthy, tranquil and harmonious atmosphere, advocate discussion between different viewpoints and schools of thought, advocate that styles, themes, forms and methods fully develop and promote mutual praise and reflection in group discussion on ideas, content, styles and schools.

Ⅴ. Carrying forward Chinese Spirit and Concentrating Chinese Strengths.


Xi Jinping said in his address, Chinese spirit is the soul of socialist literature and art. The core element of Chinese spirit is national spirit and the time spirit. He pointed out that to accomplish Chinese dream must base on carrying forward Chinese spirit. This is our national spirit centered on patriotism and the time spirit centered on reform and innovation. This kind of spirit is the soul of rejuvenating and strengthening the country as well as agglomerating mental efforts. Patriotism is always the physical strength which strongly united China’s ethnic groups. Reform and innovation is our spiritual force which spur us on opening up and reform to keep pace with times. People from all ethnic groups must carry forward the great spirit of nation and time, constantly strengthen the spiritual belt of unifying as well as the intellectual dynamism with unremitting self-improvement. March toward the future full of vigor and vitality.


Xi Jinping underlined that the broad literature and art workers must understand the position and role of literature and art from this height, understand the historical mission and responsibility they bear, persist in the creative orientation of putting the people central, strive to create ever more excellent works living up to the times, carry forward the Chinese spirit, concentrate Chinese strengths, and encourage the people of all ethnic groups in the entire country to march toward the future full of vigor and vitality.

China’s excellent traditional culture is the foundation of Chinese spirit. Socialist literature and art taking Chinese spirit as the soul need to stand on the deep foundation of Chinese culture and inject the essence of China’s excellent traditional culture into literature and art creation. Xi Jinping stated briefly that China’s excellent traditional culture is the spiritual lifeline of the Chinese nation, is an important source nourishing the core socialist values, and is the firm basis for us to get a firm foothold within the global cultural surge.


China is going through great changes and facing new complexion and good situation which are all unprecedented. Xi Jinping addressed that today, the goal of Chinese national renewal is closer to reach than any other time in history. Time needs cultural giant and cultural masterpiece. Achieving the great renewal of Chinese nation needs remarkable power of culture.


Learn More about the Statement of Xi Jinping on Literature and Art Spirit

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2015-10-12

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