Academic journal article Asian Culture and History

On Ups and Downs of Chinese Cultural Confidence

Academic journal article Asian Culture and History

On Ups and Downs of Chinese Cultural Confidence

Article excerpt


Chinese nationality has experienced ups and downs in its cultural confidence with the nation's rise and fall. China has become the world's second largest economy and its cultural confidence should be enhanced so that China's softpower will be strengthened too. Chinese cultural confidence can be restored by taking the following three measures: to improve cultural awareness, to understand and rethink traditional Chinese culture deeply and to deal with the relationship between Chinese culture and western culture properly.

Keywords: ups and downs, Chinese cultural confidence, Chinese cultural awareness

1. Introduction and Literature Review

China has surpassed Japan and become the world's second largest economy. Even during the international financial crisis, Chinese economy kept steady and fast growth despite a downturn of the world economy. Despite China's economic miracles outshining other countries and the remarkable cultural and ideological progress it has made, China faces unprecedented challenges in the field of culture. If China wants to grow up to be a real power and enhance its comprehensive competitiveness, its culture should be more influential, be accepted by the world, and gain the right of speech in the world culture. Nowadays, culture is an important part of the country's comprehensive competitiveness, and it is increasingly becoming a key source of national cohesion and creativity, and a key pillar for economic and social development. China is feeling the urgency of enhancing its softpower and cultural confidence is the key to improve a nation's cultural softpower. Unfortunately, Chinese nationality lacks cultural confidence due to various historical reasons. So the statement issued by the Sixth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, convened in Beijing on Oct.15 to 18, 2011, points out that "In order to construct a socialist cultural power, high cultural awareness and cultural confidence must be improved, civilized qualities of the whole nationality must be enhanced, and the nation's cultural softpower should be strengthened ...." Obviously, enhancement of Chinese cultural confidence and cultural awareness is emphasized from the level of the nation's development.

Cultural confidence has been frequently mentioned in China in recent years. Shan Yun gave it a definition: "cultural confidence means a country, a nation and a political party fully confirming the value of their own culture and having a firm faith in the vitality of their own culture."(Yun, 2011:11)Cultural confidence is the key factor for China to realize the objective of a cultural softpower. Chengxiang Zhong holds that only cultural confidence can make China achieve cultural self-empowerment. (Zhong, 2011:49) In addition, many scholars put forward some proposals about how to improve Chinese cultural confidence. Zhenji Du argues that Chinese nationality can improve its cultural confidence only if it gets rid of both cultural inferiority and cultural arrogance. (Du, 2011:18) Jing Yang maintains that China must enhance its cultural confidence on the basis of cultural introspection in order to make Chinese culture more influential to the world. (Yang, 2010:132) In short, cultural confidence is a hot topic in China.

Cultural confidence is relative to cultural diffidence or cultural inferiority. Chinese nationality has experienced ups and downs in its cultural confidence with the nation's rise and fall. Fortunately, its cultural confidence has been recovering with China's economic development and improvement of people's living standard.

2. Ups and Downs of Chinese Cultural Confidence

2.1 From Cultural Self-esteem to Full Confidence in Culture

China, as one of the four ancient civilizations, was undoubtedly in a leading position in human history. By the 16th century, China had been a nation with strong comprehensive national strength, and its economic aggregate accounted for 23% of the world's total. …

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