Keywords to Understand China
Interpret and explain the development concept and path, internal and external policies, ideological and cultural core discourse of contemporary China to the international community.
【有朋自远方来，不亦乐乎】Is it not a real delight to have friends come to visit you from afar?
Is it not a real delight to have friends come to visit you from afar?
This is the opening line in The Analects of Confucius, expressing one's delight with like-minded people coming from different places. The ancient Chinese believed that to achieve great success one must have friends who cherish the same ideals, and that working with kindred souls is a valuable, happy thing.
Xi Jinping began his remarks by saying "What a joy to have friends coming from afar!" to welcome the guests, scholars and experts attending the International Conference Commemorating the 2,565...
【四海之内皆兄弟】All men within the four seas under heaven are brothers.
All men within the four seas under heaven are brothers.
This is a quotation from The Analects of Confucius. The four seas refer to the seas on the four sides. The ancient Chinese thought that heaven was round and land was square, and China was located in the middle of the land, which was surrounded by four seas. The places within the four seas were all the territory known to them then.
The belief that "All men within the four seas under heaven are brothers" reveals the Chinese nation's concern for the whole...
【物之不齐，物之情也】Things are born to be different
Things are born to be different.
This is a line in The Book of Mencius, which states an objective law that "things are born to be different." The idea respects the differences among things and reminds people to regard differences not as aliens, but as a kind of supplement to offset one's shortcomings.
Xi Jinping uses this saying on many occasions to explain the relationships between countries and civilizations. In his written answers to the questions of The Wall Street Journal in September 2015, he quoted Mencius again and pointed out: With so much...
【独学而无友，则孤陋而寡闻】Learning alone without exchanges with others will lead to ignorance
Learning alone without exchanges with others will lead to ignorance.
This is a warning in The Book of Rites. Those who study on their own and have no others to exchange views with may become narrow-minded and short-sighted, and fail to make progress. Only through mutual learning and drawing on the strengths of others can a successful education be ensured.
Exchanging ideas is an idea championed by the traditional Confucian philosophy on education, as mutual learning and mutual assistance are believed to be an excellent way to acquire knowledge and cultivate virtue.<...
【万物并育而不相害，道并行而不相悖】All living things grow side by side without harming one another
All living things grow side by side without harming one another; the universe and the seasons rotate according to their own laws without hindering each other.
This idea comes from The Doctrine of the Mean. It explains how the Chinese people get to know the world, that is, all things grow together but do not harm each other, and the universe and the seasons rotate according to their own laws but do not create conflict among themselves.
Xi Jinping cited this quotation in his keynote speech at the CPC in Dialogue with World...
【互学互鉴】Mutual learning among civilizations
Mutual learning among civilizations means that different civilizations, following different paths and at different development levels, learn from each other and draw on the strengths of each other, to achieve common improvement.
Exchanges and mutual learning sustain civilizations, and such exchanges and mutual learning should be reciprocal, equal-footed, diversified and multidimensional; they should not be coercive, imposed, one-dimensional or one-way. Countries must be broad-minded and strive to remove all barriers to cultural exchanges and they must be inclusive and always seek nourishment from other civilizations to promote common development of civilizations through exchanges and mutual learning.
【海纳百川，有容乃大】The ocean is vast because it admits all rivers
The ocean is vast because it admits all rivers.
This is a motto of Lin Zexu (1785-1850), an official of the Qing Dynasty well-known for his efforts to ban imported opium. It encourages people to be open-minded, generous and tolerant, just like the vast ocean that admits all rivers. This reflects the moral sense of adjusting relations between oneself and other people to achieve social harmony, while recognizing and respecting individual and social differences. But it is not simply tolerance or compromise without principle. It reminds people, officials in particular, to be open to diverse...
【一花独放不是春，百花齐放春满园】 A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to a garden
A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to a garden.
This is a saying collected in Gu Jin Xian Wen (Proverbs Ancient and Contemporary): A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to a garden. The garden is too dull if there is only a single flower, however beautiful.
Xi Jinping has used this old, popular saying to describe exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations and common development around the world. He quoted it again in...