2014 marks the 120th anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), which ended in China's defeat. Considering the current confrontation between both countries, Japan becomes the biggest challenge facing China. This anniversary has already become a daunting memory in the minds of many Chinese people.
According to the Chinese classical method of numbering years, 60 years completes a cycle. It is said that 1954 is another important year in understanding Chinese modern history.
China was a declining nation in 1894, and the war with a rising Japan could be regarded as the straw that crushed the empire. The ensuing six decades witnessed China suffering from weakness and humiliation.
1954 was one year after China fought to a standoff with the US on the Korean Peninsula.
It was also the very year that China launched its first constitution, and initiated its process of industrialization through the first five-year plan. It bears great significance in the path to China's rejuvenation.
Another 60 years have passed since 1954. At the beginning of 2014, China has already become the second largest economy, enjoying the second largest defense budget and having the liveliest market. Although it still has many problems, its vitality and ability to reform still prevail over the rest of the world.
Challenges from Japan will definitely be a thorn in China's flesh. But Chinese people should open their mind and focus their attention on more important issues.
This is the first year of China comprehensively deepening its reform. It will be the backbone of China's future, forging a powerful country with confidence and strategy, which will not be easily defeated as 120 years ago.
Chinese society in 2014 should learn how to adapt to rapid changes, trying to realize a steady transformation to a diversified community with a well-structured pattern of interests of different social groups.
Some 35 years ago, China began its reform along with the support of the West.
But 35 years later, undermining an emerging China becomes their major task. They would probably over-amplify and utilize China's setbacks during reform. A stable process of reform is what China desperately needs.
The confrontation between China and Japan will be a long-lasting event. China does not only have to triumph over it, but also prove to the world that China follows its own promise as a peaceful rising power.
China's new type of relationship with the US has global significance. China should continue its "polishing" with the US on bilateral relations.
China's whole package of reform will surely continue attracting the attention of the West. It could serve as an opportunity for China to prove its promising future to the world.
China doesn't have time to flaunt its achievements in 2014. It has to do quiet, hard work.