Chinese Culture – Contribution to the world

Another article on Chinese Culture in People’s Daily and how it could contribute to human kind. I think, it will be more useful if one can define what Chinese culture is, in the first place. It could mean different things to different people.  However, I do think that author means reformed or modernised part of culture aligned to Confucianist principles. That means women shall have their place alongside man, as women ‘hold half the sky’.
My view is that harmony which is central tenet in the culture, is something worthwhile being introduced to the world at large. This article also take a dig at Western culture, and may not sit well with some Westerners.
It also takes a critical stance on Western media, and even remarked that Chinese media is more objective !  
I somewhat agree actually, that Western media are far from objectives when reporting about events outside their countries, especially non Western countries. In contrast, China news media appear to be more objective, usually reporting based on agencies report. (Its’s another matter though when it comes to domestic news).  From what I’ve observed, Chinese media are not prone to sensationalising bad news of other countries. For example, in China there has been no attempt to sensationalise the beating of foreign students in Australia, or any promotion of news of the mistreatment of Aboriginals. In contrast, Aussie media  had field days on  incidences in Tibet and Sinkiang with one sided reports. Their newspapers  columnists have also gone berserked with China bashing articles, when relation turned sour due to Rio-Tinto saga.
Re-enunciation on what China to contribute to world
What does China contribute to the world? This is a question worthy of consideration. In my previous article carried in a special column of the People’s Daily Overseas Edition on July 28, I said: "What China can contribute to the world is the concept on building a harmonious world."

China can contribute to the world the concept of building a harmonious world and the principles of steadfastly and unswervingly taking the road of peaceful development and cooperating for a win-win outcome. These guidelines are required by the world. But for a long-term point of view, it may be the Chinese culture that is best able to contribute to the world.

For centuries, Western culture has contributes incredibly to the world and has had an immense role to play in the world progress. No culture is perfect, however, since every culture has both strong points and weak points.

Western culture is also called the Christian culture, and its mainstream culture is based on or rooted in the Christian civilization, whose antithetical tendencies are very outstanding and conspicuous. Good and evil, beauty and ugliness, orthodox and unorthodox, and "heaven and hell" are irreconcilable to each other as the fire to water, and one has to annihilate the other.

Culture decides an outlook or concept, which in turn determines actions. So, the Western world has inflicted much hardships, troubles and thorny problems upon the rest of the world in the course of handling its external relations during its stage of upward growth and development. While "going overseas", Westerners always considered themselves undertaking the mission of disseminating civilization to the world and very much wanted others to follow suit and emulate their models. Otherwise, they would deem others "guilty of high treason". Hence, in a sense, complex problems of the world in existence have much to do with deficiencies of Western Culture.

On the eve of the War in Iraq, former U.S. President George W. Bush talked about a "crusade". Undoubtedly, he had a different sense of the term in mind after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York in 2001. "This crusade, this war on terrorism" kicked off a din in the Muslim world. His wording "Islamic terrorism" also greatly irritated the Muslim population the world over.

While in presidency, Bush administration set forth the so-called concept of the "Greater Middle East Initiative" (GME) in an obvious attempt to bring a new order to the Middle East and turn nations in the region into countries of American-style democracy.

Then, let us look at some Western media nowadays. Western media often take their press and other media organs as a standard by which to lambaste other countries and they often act as the world judge to order others about and tell them what to do. Consequently, people have an aversion with the way of their reporting. And Chinese netizens sometimes feel indignant and resentful to the Western media for their distorted coverage. In contrast, Chinese media always present things overseas objectively and positively to its readerships in its world coverage.

Chinese culture and Western culture have a lot of similarities and disparities. People in China 2,000 years ago set forth an outlook or concept on harmony with differentiations as they came to realize that it was impossible to annihilate diversity but to accept and recognize it and proceed to co-exist with it. The world today is a diverse one,as people acknowledge it, and even in the same nation, there are different cultures. Since there is no way to do away with the cultural diversity, the best way, however, is to accept and co-exist with it harmoniously.

Chinese culture is a longstanding culture, which is the sole culture around the world that has remained uninterrupted for thousands of years. Why has the Chinese culture had enjoyed such a long life span with lasting vigor and vitality. The basic reason rests with its ability to keep up with the times and readiness to absorb "nutrients" from other cultures to enrich itself. Moreover, the Chinese culture is open to the outside world instead of being sealed off, magnanimous but not exclusive.

Chinese culture is part of the Oriental culture. With the emergence of Asia, the era may come for the Oriental culture and the Chinese culture in particular to contribute even more to the world. In the 21st century, it could be possibly the Chinese culture, not the Chinese manufacturing that would contribute the greatest to the world.

By People’s Daily Online and contributed by Wu Jianmin, an especially-invited People’s Daily guest commentator, a prominent professor of the China foreign Affairs University in Beijing as well as a full member and vice-president of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Humanities


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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