China needs new phase of enlightenment

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-22 0:25:03

Chinese society needs a new round of enlightenment, or another emancipation of thought, to broaden our views and resist any spiritual suppression by outside values.

In the 1980s, Western thought streamed into China. The country's long-existing feudalism was dealt a huge blow. This enlightenment has changed the development process of thought in Chinese society, ensuring that the reform and opening-up could go forward in the following three decades.

What is "God" in Chinese people's minds nowadays? It is not notions embedded in traditional ideologies. Instead, these deified notions are the power that once helped China break away from old-fashioned ideas.

Western thought hasn't occupied a dominant position in China yet, but it does seem appealing to many of China's elites and has gradually influenced public opinion. It has created new "political correctness," and holds more weight than its opposing voices. It goes against the values they promote, damaging the freedom of ideas.

China suffered hundreds of years of poverty and weakness. The accomplishments of China's reform and opening-up are far from sufficient in terms of giving people creative minds. There is still a large demand for outside ideas. China is a net importer of ideas.

But Chinese society needs to have the ability to selectively apply imported ideology.

It has learned many lessons in its modern history of surrendering to external ideas. The country suffered from a dogmatic implementation of Marxism during the new democratic revolution era. It later charted its own path by localizing Marxism.

Now it needs a localization of Western-style democracy. Western thought has to be combined with China's reality to produce a positive impetus. Given China's size, completely copying the Western model has no historical or realistic basis in China. The westernization of China is just the dream of a few idealists.

Even after more than 100 years of learning from the West, China still looks different.

China has to take a path of its own. This is not to be different on purpose, but because the Western model cannot fit China.

The painful process of the westernization of other countries has given China grave warnings. Western ideology is not our bible, and shouldn't be deified.

China needs a new enlightenment. It needs a large number of great thinkers and opinion leaders to initiate it.

Posted in: Editorial

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