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Government Documents
UPDATED: March 25, 2011
Hold High the Great Banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an All-round Advancement of the Cause of Building Socialism With Chinese Characteristics’ Into the 21st Century
Report Delivered at the 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on September 12, 1997

VII. Developing Socialist Culture With Chinese Characteristics

Socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, as far as its substance is concerned, is identical to the socialist ideological and ethical progress we have been promoting since we introduced the reform and opening up. Culture is relative to the economy and politics, while ideological and ethical progress is relative to material progress. Only when economic development and political and cultural advances are well coordinated and only if there are both material progress and cultural and ideological progress can there be socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Socialist modernization requires both a prosperous economy and a flourishing culture. The process of the modernization drive is largely dependent on the enhancement of the quality of the entire population and the exploitation of intellectual resources. In view of the rapid scientific and technological development, the keen competition in overall national strength, the worldwide interaction of different ideologies and cultures as well as the increasing cultural needs of our people leading a relatively comfortable life, the whole Party must fully understand that cultural advancement is essential and urgent because it plays a great role in developing the cause of socialism and rejuvenating the nation.

A socialist culture with Chinese characteristics is a major force in uniting and inspiring the people of all our nationalities, and an important indicator of our overall national strength. This culture originated from the 5,000-year-old civilization of the Chinese nation and is deeply rooted in our endeavor to build socialism with Chinese characteristics. It has distinctive features of the times, representing the basic features of our socialist economy and politics and playing a great role in promoting their development. In building socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must redouble our efforts to raise the ideological and ethical standards and scientific and educational levels of the whole nation and provide a powerful ideological driving force and strong intellectual support for economic development and all-round social progress. We must nurture citizens one generation after another who have high ideals, moral integrity, a good education and a strong sense of discipline, meeting the requirements of the socialist modernization drive. This is a long-term arduous task for our cultural advancement.

Fostering common ideals and aspirations in the whole society is the basic objective of our cultural advancement with Chinese characteristics. We should make unremitting efforts to educate cadres and the masses in Deng Xiaoping Theory. We should persistently conduct education in socialist ethics with emphasis on serving the people and on the principle of collectivism and strengthen education in democracy, the law and discipline so as to guide our people to foster a correct outlook on the world and life and correct values. We shall make great efforts to promote patriotism, collectivism, socialism and the hardworking and enterprising spirit. We shall advocate communist ideology and ethics and, combining progressiveness with exten-siveness, we shall encourage all ideologies and ethics that are conducive to national unification, ethnic unity, economic development and social progress. We shall carry forward socialist humanitarianism. Young people are the future of the motherland and the hope of the nation, so we should pay great attention to their ideological and ethical progress.

The progress of education and science is the foundation of our cultural advancement. Training hundreds of millions of qualified laborers and tens of millions of professional personnel to meet the needs of the modernization drive and exploiting the advantage of our vast human resources has a direct bearing on the cause of socialism in the 21st century. We must see to it that education is given a strategic priority. We should respect teachers and their teaching, and strengthen the ranks of teachers. Bringing the initiative of all quarters of society into full play, we shall spare no efforts to make the nine-year compulsory education universal, eliminate illiteracy among young and middle-aged people, expand vocational and adult education of different types and steadily develop higher education. We shall optimize the educational structure, speed up the reform of the management system of higher education, and judiciously allocate resources for education so as to enhance the quality of instruction and raise the overall efficiency of schools. We should implement the Party's educational policy with an emphasis on improving the quality of students and train builders of and successors to the cause of socialism, who are developed morally, intellectual and physically in an all-round way. Great efforts should be made to raise the scientific and technological level, popularize science and technology, guide people to take a scientific approach and master scientific methods, and encourage them to be creative and inventive. We should eliminate ignorance and combat feudal and superstitious activities. We shall develop philosophy and other social sciences, which are of great importance to retaining the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological sphere of our country, to studying the laws governing the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and to improving our ability to understand the world and change it.

The development of the cultural undertakings, including literature and art, the press and publishing, radio, film and television, is an important aspect of cultural advancement. In the press and publicity work we must adhere to the principle of keeping the Party spirit, persist in seeking truth from facts and maintain a correct orientation for public opinion. We should tighten control over the press and publishing, optimizing their structures and improving their quality. We should deepen reform of the system for managing cultural undertakings, and implement and improve related economic policies. We must adhere to the principles of serving the people and the cause of socialism and of "letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend," giving full scope to the theme of our times while advocating diversity so as to create more excellent works which integrate ideological content with artistry.

A healthy cultural environment is an important condition for promoting the cultural and ideological progress of society and advancing the reform, opening up and the modernization drive. We should conduct mass activities to promote ideological and ethical progress in depth and in a protracted way, and make efforts to advocate social, occupational and family ethics. We should, on the one hand, try to boost our cultural undertakings, and on the other, tighten control over the markets for cultural products so as to facilitate their sound development. We should build more cultural establishments. More attention should be paid to the protection of scientific and cultural heritage and revolutionary relics. We should promote the reform and development of public health and sports. We should advocate healthy and civilized lifestyles and constantly improve the cultural life of the masses.

China cannot develop its culture in isolation of the common achievements of human civilization. Following the principle of keeping our own culture as the base and making use of that of others, we should conduct various exchanges with other countries, drawing on their strong points while introducing our own achievements to the world. We must resolutely resist the corrosion of decadent ideas and cultures.

As part of the working class, intellectuals are playing an important role in the drive for modernization. We should implement the Party's policy toward intellectuals and give full play to their initiative and creativity. Intellectuals should study hard and better themselves so that they will be propagators of advanced thoughts, pioneers in the development of science and technology, educators training people to be citizens with high ideals, moral integrity, a good education and a strong sense of discipline, and producers of excellent intellectual works, contributing hand in hand with workers and peasants to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Chinese culture has a glorious history. In the great practice of the socialist modernization drive, we are sure to create a more magnificent socialist culture with Chinese characteristics and make due contribution to human civilization.


Having talked about the economic, political and cultural tasks, I should now like to make a special point on national defense and army building. To strengthen national defense and army building is the basic guarantee for our national security and modernization drive. Deng Xiaoping's concept of army building in the new period is the continuation and development of Mao Zedong's thinking on military affairs and the scientific guide to building our army and our national defense. In line with the general requirements of being qualified politically and competent militarily and having a fine style of work, strict discipline and adequate logistical support, we should press ahead with the army building and reform so as to make the People's Liberation Army a more revolutionary, modernized and standardized army. In our army's 70 years of brilliant history, it has stood all kinds of tests and become stronger and stronger, for which the fundamental guarantee is the strong Party leadership. Under the new historical conditions, the army must consistently uphold the absolute leadership by the Party, be in agreement with the Party Central Committee ideologically and politically, obey orders of the Party Central Committee in all actions and never forget its nature and purposes as the people's army. It should adhere to the strategy of active defense, improve its quality and take the road of fewer but better troops with Chinese characteristics. The army should be strict with itself, strengthen ideological and political work, carry forward its fine traditions and take the lead in the whole society in promoting cultural and ethical progress. In order to adapt itself to the profound changes in the military arena in the world, the army should intensify its education and training, and upgrade its defense capabilities under modern technology and especially high-tech conditions. In addition to the army reduction by one million men in the 1980s, we shall reduce the armed forces by another 500,000 in the next three years. We should strengthen the army by relying on science and technology, put more efforts in the research in defense-related science and technology, establish and improve an operation mechanism so that the defense industries are adapted to the socialist market economy, and gradually upgrade weapons and other equipment. The army should subordinate itself to and serve the overall interests of national economic development, strengthening itself through thrift and hard work and actively supporting and participating in the economic development of the country. Party organizations and governments at all levels and the masses should be concerned about and support the development of national defense and army building. We shall intensify defense education, increasing the people's awareness of the importance of national defense. The army should continue to support the government and cherish the people, and the government and the people should continue to support the army and give preferential treatment to families of armymen and martyrs so as to consolidate the unity between the army and the government and between the army and the people. We should also strengthen the work with regard to the militia and the reserves, and improve the mobilization system for national defense. We should continue to strengthen the Chinese People's Armed Police and the public and state security departments.

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