Young People Should Practice the Core Socialist Values
May 4, 2014
China has stood up. It will never again tolerate being bullied by any nation. Yet it will never follow in the footsteps of the big powers, which seek hegemony once they grow strong. Our country is following a path of peaceful development.Why are we so confident? Because we have developed and become stronger. China has won worldwide respect with its century-long efforts. Its prestige keeps rising, and its influence keeps expanding. Today's China forms a sharp contrast to China in the 19th century when the country was humiliated, its sovereignty was infringed upon, and its people were bullied by foreigners.
Chinese civilization has formed a unique value system over several millennia. The brilliant traditional Chinese culture is the essence of the nation and has deep roots in the Chinese people's mentality, influencing their way of thinking and behavior unconsciously. Today, we advocate and carry forward the core socialist values through absorbing the rich nourishment of Chinese culture, so as to invigorate its vitality and broaden its influence.Here are some quotations from ancient classics that I'd like to share with you today: "The people are the foundation of a state," "The harmony of Nature and man," "Harmony without uniformity," "As Heaven changes through movement, a gentleman makes unremitting efforts to perfect himself," "When the Great Way prevailed, a public spirit ruled all under Heaven," "Everyone is responsible for his country's rise or fall," "Govern the country with virtue and educate the people with culture," "A gentleman has a good knowledge of righteousness," "A gentleman is broad-minded," "A gentleman takes morality as his bedrock," "Be true in word and resolute in deed," "If a man does not keep his word, what is he good for?" "A man of high moral quality will never feel lonely," "The benevolent man loves others," "Do things for the good of others,""Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you," "Care for each other and help one another," "Respect others' elders as one respects one's own, and care for others' children as one cares for one's own," "Help the poor and assist those in difficulty," "Care less about quantity and more about quality."
These thoughts and ideas all displayed and still demonstrate distinctive national features, and have the indelible values of the times. We have updated them in keeping abreast of the times, while carrying them forward in an unbroken line. As Chinese, we should always keep our own unique inner-world spirit, uphold values that we practice every day without noticing. The core socialist values we advocate today represent the inheritance and upgrading of outstanding traditional Chinese culture.
Values appear and develop in the process of human beings getting to know and shape nature and society. Core values vary in different nations and countries due to different natural conditions and courses of development. The core values of a nation and country are closely related to its history and culture, as well as to what its people are striving for and to the present issues it needs to resolve. There are no two leaves exactly alike on earth. A nation, or people of a country, must know who they are, where they came from and where they are heading. Keep on going when you have made your choice.
On December 26 last year, I said at the meeting commemorating the 120th birthday of Mao Zedong: Boasting a vast land of 9.6 million sq km, a rich cultural heritage and a strong bond among the 1.3 billion Chinese people, we are resolved to go our own way. We have a big stage to display our advantages on, a long and rich history to draw benefit from, and a powerful impetus to push us ahead. We Chinese people – every single one of us – should draw confidence from this. We should modestly learn from the best of other civilizations, but never forget our own origin. We must not blindly copy the development models of other countries nor accept their dictation.
What I mean here is that we should enhance our confidence in the path we have chosen, in the theories we have devised and in the system we have established to reach our goal of development and make the Chinese Dream come true. "In the face of all blows, not bending low, it still stands fast. Whether from east, west, south or north the wind doth blast." Our confidence is supported by our core values.
Why am I talking about the core socialist values with you young people? Because your value orientation will decide the values of the whole of society in the years to come. Besides, young people are at the time of life when they form and establish their values. It is therefore very important to offer some guidance. That reminds me of something that happens in our daily life. When we button up our coat, we may inadvertently put the first button in the wrong button hole, and that will result in all the other buttons being put in the wrong holes. That's why we say that young people should "button right" in the early days of their life. "A deep well is dug starting with a shallow pit." Every young person should learn about the core socialist values starting right now, take them as his basic rules and disseminate them throughout society.
When young people adopt the core socialist values they should emphasize the following points:
First, work diligently to acquire true knowledge. Knowledge is an important cornerstone for the cultivation of the core values. The great philosophers of ancient Greece believed that knowledge was a virtue. Our ancestors also asserted, "One cannot enhance one's ability and wisdom if one does not work hard; neither can one succeed without ambition." A person enjoys only once the youthful days at college, so you should cherish them. To acquire knowledge, one has to study diligently, intensively and persistently. Lu Xun once said, "Who said I'm a genius? I spent all my time working when others were sipping coffee." In college days, "Young we were, schoolmates, at life's full flowering." One can totally throw oneself into seeking knowledge without any distractions, learning from teachers, exchanging views with classmates and rummaging through piles of books. So there is no reason not to study hard. Work hard, acquire more knowledge and turn what you have learned into your own views and ideas. I hope that you will not only concentrate on book knowledge but also care about the people, the country and the world, and assume your responsibility for society.
Second, cultivate morality and virtue, and pay attention to them in practice. "Virtue is the root." Mr Cai Yuanpei believed, "He who is strong physically and talented but has no virtue will end up on the side of vice." Virtues are fundamental for both individuals and society. What is most important is to cultivate morality. This explains why we select those who are both talented and morally cultivated for our work, with morality as priority. One can be placed in the right position only if one recognizes virtue, follows social ethics and restricts personal desires. When talking about cultivating morality, one needs to have high ambitions as well as pragmatic plans. To devote oneself to one's country and serve one's people, this is the great virtue with which one is able to accomplish the great cause. In the meantime, one needs to start to do small things well and be self-disciplined even in small matters. "Learning from fine things that may appear and correcting any mistakes that may occur," one needs to cultivate public and personal virtues, learn to work, to be thrifty, to be grateful, to help others, to be modest, to be tolerant, to examine oneself and to exercise self-restraint.
Third, learn to tell right from wrong and make correct decisions. As our ancestors believed, "Reading without thinking makes one muddled; thinking without reading makes one flighty." Knowing what is right or wrong, what is the correct direction and what is the proper way to follow, one is bound to reap the reward of one's work. Facing a complex and fast-changing world, an information era with the surge of various schools of thought, a multifaceted society of genuine and false ideas, and the pressure associated with one's academic pursuit, relationships and employment, you may feel somewhat confused, hesitant or frustrated. This is a normal experience everybody will go through. The key is to learn to think about and analyze situations before making decisions in order to arrive at correct decisions. You should be sturdy, confident and self-reliant. You must form a correct world outlook, view of life and values, then you will see – crystal-clear – the true nature of society and have a better understanding of your life's experience, and be able to tell what is right and what is wrong, what is primary and what is secondary, what is true and what is false, what is good and what is evil, and what is beautiful and what is ugly before making judgments and decisions. As a Tang verse goes, "Gold glitters only after countless washings and sievings."
Fourth, be honest and sincere; do solid work and be an upright person. The correct way needs to be pursued in practice, while morality requires no empty talk. One should be more pragmatic. Knowledge and action should go hand in hand, and the core values should be turned into moral pursuits as well as a drive to make people engage in conscious action. The Book of Rites says, "Learn extensively, inquire earnestly, think profoundly, discriminate clearly and practice sincerely." Some people believe that "sages are mediocre people who work hard, while mediocre people are sages who refuse to work hard." With more opportunities, young people should make their steps steady, lay a solid foundation and make unremitting efforts. It is no good for study or running a business if one works intermittently, or chops and changes. "Difficult things are done starting from easy ones; a great undertaking begins with minor work."
No matter what you opt to do, success always favors hard workers. Young people should take a difficult environment as a challenge or test. "Little strokes fell great oaks." Success awaits those who work doggedly and unyieldingly, and those who are never daunted by repeated setbacks. The cultivation of the core values can't be done overnight. It requires efforts from the easy to the difficult, from close-up to faraway until it becomes a faith and idea that we follow conscientiously. When things are smooth, you may be confident; when there are frustrations, you may have doubts and waver. In all circumstances we should always uphold the core socialist values which have been formed and developed here in our country, make contributions to the great cause in the modern era and fulfill our lifetime expectations.
Students and teachers,
The Party Central Committee has decided to build world-class colleges and universities – a strategic policy that we should follow without hesitation. To make them world-class, they must feature Chinese characteristics. It won't do to copy others mechanically, because we always believe that "the more national the more international." In this world there is only one Harvard University, University of Oxford, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Cambridge; likewise, there is only one Peking University, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Fudan University and Nanjing University in China. We should draw on the world's best experience in running institutions of higher learning, follow the rules of education, and establish more excellent colleges and universities on Chinese soil.
Lu Xun asserted, "Peking University is always innovative and plays a pioneering role in reforming movements, leading China along an upward path towards a better future." The decision on advancing the reform in an all-round way was made at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, defining the demands for the further reform of higher education in China. What we must do now is to turn this blueprint into reality. Institutions of higher learning should take the lead in educational reform throughout the country, centering on the fundamental tasks of building virtues and morality, and moving faster in establishing an educational system and mechanism that is full of vigor and vitality, efficient, more open and favoring educational development in a scientific way. I do hope that Peking University can realize its long-cherished dream as soon as possible of advancing into the ranks of world-class universities through painstaking efforts, reform and innovation.
Teachers are entrusted with the noblest mission in this world. Mr Mei Yiqi opined that the key to the success of a university lies in having a lot of highly accomplished gurus rather than imposing buildings. What he meant by "highly-accomplished gurus," as I see it, are people most knowledgeable in their academic fields and who are also virtuous. Always bearing in mind their responsibilities, teachers should be ready to serve as human ladders, inspiring the souls of the students whom they are teaching with the help of their personal charisma and scholarly attainments.
Party committees and governments at all levels should pay closer attention to colleges and universities, showmore concern for the students and erect a platform for them to dream upon and make their dreams come true. We should accelerate the reform in an all-round way, create a fair and just social environment, promote social mobility and inspire the vigor and creativity of young people. We should improve the system of employment and business startups so as to assist graduates at the beginning of their life-long careers. Leading officials at all levels should keep in communication with the students, make friends with them and listen to what they have to say.
Today, the majority of college students are around the age of 20; and they will be under the age of 30 by 2020, when we complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. They will be around 60 by the mid-21st century, when we basically realize our country's modernization. That is to say, you will participate in the cause of reaching the Two Centenary Goals along with myriads of other young people. I believe that life is meaningless for anyone without faith, without dreams, without concerted endeavors and without contributions. I hope that you can create your own wonderful life while making the Chinese Dream come true since you have never been given a platform as spacious as this or as promising as this.
I believe that young Chinese people today are more than capable of undertaking the historic mission entrusted to them by the Party and the people, and will go on to write a brilliant chapter worthy of our times in their efforts to take advantage of their youthful vigor, explore life and contribute to society!