Economic boom leads to cultural revival

Updated: 2011-11-05 14:42


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BEIJING -- China's rapid economic development is likely to lead to a revival of its culture, said World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin, echoing a recent resolution by the Chinese authorities to accelerate the country's cultural reform and development.

Lin, also World Bank's senior vice-president, made the remarks at the three-day Beijing Forum that opened Friday with a theme of "harmony of civilizations and prosperity for all".

Lin said the advancement and dominance of a civilization is determined by its economic base.

"China's cultural renaissance in the 21st century is hinged on its rapid economic development, too," Lin said.

From 1979 to 2010, China maintained an annual GDP growth rate of 9.9 percent and increased its economic size over 20-fold, becoming the world's second largest economy, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

"In terms of world economic history, it's truly remarkable that China has been able to sustain such rapid growth for such a long period of time," Lin said.

Moreover, China has become the engine of world economic recovery after the 2008 financial crisis that dragged down the global economy.

Lin said China's economic momentum is likely to continue, judging from the economic growth trajectory of Japan, Republic of Korea and China's Taiwan region, which share much similarity in economic growth mode.

However, he noted that whether China can revive its culture depends on several factors, among which the most crucial is whether Confucianism can support an ever-changing economic base with constant innovation of artifacts and improvements in production force.

Lin said China's culture, represented by the Confucianism, has the ability to adapt and innovate itself to fit a changing economic base and keep pace with changing times and context while maintaining its core ethic, namely benevolence.

His comments came shortly after China adopted guidelines to improve the nation's cultural soft power and advocate Chinese culture.

As a major form of support for national unity and a source of creativity, China's cultural industry will play a more important role in the country's economic and social development, read a statement issued by the sixth plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Oct 18.

Minister of Culture Cai Wu said culture is soft power and the government must pay more attention to culture and creativity to improve the quality of country's economic growth.

Lin said other emerging economies like India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa will also commence their culture renaissance on the basis of their respective cultural heritages and core ethnic values.

"The 21st century is likely to see not only a renaissance of the Chinese civilization, but also the co-development, joint prosperity, and shining together of multiple civilizations in the world," Lin said.

The Beijing Forum, which has entered its eighth year since its initiation in 2004, aims to promote the study of humanities and social sciences around the world.

The annual event was jointly sponsored by Peking University, the Beijing Education Commission and the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies.