Dean of Fudan University: The biggest problem in the West today is that empty talk misleads the country.

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 Dean of Fudan University: The biggest problem in the West today is that empty talk misleads the country.


The Chinese people do not allow the political machine to idle. All the government has to do is to improve peoples lives. Otherwise, what we call idle talk is misleading, and idle talk is one of the biggest problems in todays western model.

On September 2, in the 33rd program of This is China of Oriental Satellite TV, the guest speaker, Professor Zhang Weiwei, Dean of China Research Institute of Fudan University, elaborated three concepts that may affect the world: seeking truth from facts, people-oriented and holistic thinking.

Professor Zhang pointed out that the western democratic discourse still seems to have some advantages in moral discourse, but for the vast majority of people in the world, people-oriented thought is the real embodiment of democracy, far more firm and powerful than empty democratic preaching.

The Observer Network organizes the full text of the programs speeches to feed the readers.

Zhang Weiwei:

You may have heard the saying that Mrs. Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, once said that China could never become a first-class power, because although China exports refrigerators, washing machines, television sets and so on to the world, China has no idea of exporting them to the world. Some of our countrys public knowledgeable also follow this statement, thus lamenting what happened to this country, what happened to this system. The truth is very simple. Mrs. Thatcher is wrong and wrong.

She knew too little about China, so when she visited China in the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader, had taught her a lesson. She didnt want to return Hong Kong to China at that time. Deng Xiaoping said that if we could not reach an agreement, China would take unilateral measures. She didnt expect Chinas attitude to be so tough. So when she stepped out of the meeting hall, she had a heavy heart and fell on her foot when she came down the steps of the hall.

On September 24, 1982, Deng Xiaoping and Mrs. Thatcher talked about Hong Kong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

In fact, the Chinese concept is rich and wonderful. Why?

First of all, it is the rise of a civilized country, so Chinas concept often has thousands of years of civilization behind it; second, Chinas concept is backed up by its own great practice of rapid rise in the past decades, so it is a concentrated reflection of Chinas wisdom and experience; third, I think it is China. Ideas are often the consensus of Chinese society from top to bottom, even the wisdom of people in daily life.

For example, seeking truth from facts, you often see two people quarrel, one person persuade, persuader will say, seeking truth from facts, you two have some problems, each step back on the vast sea and sky? This is a kind of Chinese wisdom. In fact, it has been used in our reform and opening up and in the rise of our country.

In view of the richness of the Chinese concept, I am going to discuss it with you in two lectures. In fact, two lectures are not enough. What I have done is to attract more people to join in the research and dissemination of the Chinese concept.

I think there are many Chinese ideas, but if we can clarify some of the most basic ones, I think we can have a general understanding of how China succeeded and the possible impact of these ideas on the whole outside world. In our current words, we are trying to provide some Chinese wisdom for the world.

The first idea is seeking truth from facts. I remember one year in London when I visited Churchills memorial, the commentator told me that the British Prime Minister Churchill had made a very important contribution to post-war international relations. Because Roosevelt, then President of the United States, published a document called the Atlantic Charter as early as 1941, which contained only one page, but affected the development and evolution of international relations throughout the post-war period. The Atlantic Charter was issued on August 14, 1941, when it showed that the United Kingdom and the United States were ready to unite to fight against the Nazis in Germany, and it did put forward some major principles that should be followed in the post-war world structure.

I said that I agree with him, but I also told him by the way that I said there was only one Chinese concept in four words, which has changed the fate of a big country with a population of 1.3 billion, and may eventually change the whole world pattern. These four words are seeking truth from facts, and English translation is just four words, English is called Seeking truth from facts, Chinese interpretation is to seek truth from facts, I think it is closer to its original meaning. By the way, some of us have translated it into pragmatism, which I think is inaccurate and distorts the original meaning of the idea. Seeking truth from facts is closer to the original meaning of this concept in Chinese.

The concept of seeking truth from facts was first seen in Hanshu Hejian Xianwang Biography, which refers to an honest attitude towards learning. Then in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the practical learning came into being, emphasizing the discovery of regularity through the exploration of things themselves.

Later, Chairman Mao Zedong defined it as the ideological essence of the success of the Chinese revolution. As early as 1930, Chairman Mao made a famous speech called Against Benevolence. In view of the dogmatism problems existing in the Fourth Red Army at that time, for example, the experience of opening and closing the mouth of the Communist International and the opening and closing the mouth of the Soviet Union, Chairman Mao raised the question of the Partys ideological line. He said a lot of what we all sound deaf and inspiring today. He said so. Did he say that you cant solve that problem? Then you should investigate the current situation and history of that problem. Youve done a thorough investigation and youve got a solution to that problem. All conclusions come at the end of the investigation, not at the beginning. Only a fool is he alone or invites a group of people not to do the investigation, but to think and make ideas thoughtfully.

Looking back at the magnificent history of the Chinese revolution, when we persist in seeking truth from facts, we will win. On the contrary, we will experience failure and frustration. As we all know, the cause of the Red Armys Long March was Wang Ming and Li Des errors in dogmatic fundamentalism, which led to the smaller the Red Armys base areas, the more serious the casualties, and finally had to carry out the Long March. Until the Zunyi Conference, the new Central Committee represented by Chairman Mao was established, and Chairman Maos ideological and military line of seeking truth from facts was established.

As you may know, there is a god of war in the Peoples Liberation Army called Suyu, so his method of combat is to seek truth from facts thoroughly.

Around 1948, the Central Military Commission initially considered letting three columns of the East China Field Army march into the south of the Yangtze River, forcing the Kuomintang to adjust its strategic deployment in the Central Plains. However, from the analysis of the overall situation of the war and the actual situation of the Central Plains, Suyu saw a rare fighter plane. He was bold enough to advise the Central Military Commission to fight several large-scale annihilation wars in the Huanghuai area of the Central Plains, which later became the famous Huaihai Campaign. The first battle in the Huaihai Campaign was to wipe out the Kuomintangs Huang Baitao Corps. The date of the general attack was set for November 8, but Suyu found that the situation on the front line had changed dramatically, including the trend of the Huang Baitao Corpss gathering. The fighter planes flew away, so he took the risk of disobeying the military orders and adjusted the troopsdeployment. The Central Military Commission sent a telegram requesting that the time for launching the Huaihai Campaign be advanced by two days to November 6. Chairman Mao approved it and then said that he would fight resolutely without having to ask for instructions. Later, practice proved that this decision disrupted the enemys deployment and quickly seized the initiative of the entire battlefield. Later, Chairman Mao made a special comment on the Huaihai Campaign. He said that a pot of rice was eaten by you one by one.

We are now in a situation of great change that has not been seen in a century. I think we need a batch of generals like Suyu, who can not only understand the overall strategic deployment of the Party Central Committee, but also work boldly, realistically and creatively. We need a large number of generals who can take on the responsibilities and devote themselves to fighting in order to do so. Open up new situations one after another. In fact, we see today Hongkongs problems, financial problems, Sino US trade war issues, cross straits relations, one belt along the way, the fourth industrial revolution and so on, which are indeed our opportunities. I think this is an era calling for heroes and a new generation of Suyu.

Similarly, the success of Chinas reform and opening-up in the past decades relies on seeking truth from facts. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping established emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts as the guiding ideology of Chinas reform and opening up, emphasizing that practice is the only criterion for testing truth.

At the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC in 1978, Deng Xiaoping summed up the lessons of the Cultural Revolution and made a very important speech. He said that once the thought became rigid, the fundamentalism that did not proceed from reality became serious. If there is no one in the book, no one in the document or the leaders have not spoken about it, they dare not say one more word, do one more thing and copy everything. Responsibility to superiors and to the people are opposed. I think Deng Xiaopings words are also very meaningful for us to overcome various forms of formalism today.

Deng Xiaoping also said that if a party, a country or a nation proceeds from its original principles, its ideology is rigid and superstition prevails, it will not be able to move forward and its vitality will cease, and the party will perish and the country will perish. Deng Xiaoping said many times later that he believed in Chairman Maos principle of seeking truth from facts.

Looking back on the idea of seeking truth from facts in the past, China got rid of the shackles of dogmatism in the East and the West and embarked on the great process of comprehensive rise.

So the idea of seeking truth from facts has something in common with the rationalism advocated by the European Enlightenment Movement. Both sides have got rid of the rigidity of thought, highlighted the rational spirit of human beings, and promoted their epoch-making industrial revolution.

But there are also obvious differences between them, because seeking truth from facts is the product of the interaction between ancient Chinese civilization and modern civilization, which avoids many drawbacks contained in western rationalism in the past. For example, racism, colonialism and expansionism, which used to be very fashionable in the western world, have brought many disasters to mankind. But these doctrines are also based on what they call rational scientific analysis, which is the great limitation of Western rationalism. So today many conscientious scholars in the West are also reflecting on the limitations of the rationalism of the Enlightenment in Europe.

So seeking truth from facts means that all rational activities need to be tested by social practice, and the test criterion is whether these activities are beneficial to the overall interests of the Chinese people and the people of the world. It is precisely because Chinas rise under the guidance of seeking truth from facts is a peaceful rise. It does not bring war to the world like the rise of Europe, but brings a lot of opportunities for peace and development. So this idea also makes China one of the countries with the least ideological bias in the world. It enables China to boldly learn from all the experience of other countries in the process of modernization construction, thus greatly promoting Chinas progress in all aspects.

Looking back now, there are so many countries in the world that have been fooled by western political discourse, but China in general does not, relying on seeking truth from facts. Because seeking truth from facts has always reminded us that the whole world must keep a clear mind.

For example, the West has been promoting so-called democratization all over the world for so many years. How can democratization be problematic on the surface? But if you look at the facts, you have to wonder why Yugoslavia collapsed as soon as it promoted Western democratization. Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate in this way? Why is Gorbachev so popular in the West, but despised by the majority of the people in his country? Why did Taiwans modernization take off and switch to the Western model, resulting in economic decline, more serious corruption and more social division? Why did the Arab Spring soon become the Arab Winter? Why cant the whole Third World find an example of democratizing the West into a modern country? Why the United States itself, which advocates marketization and neo-liberalism everywhere, has instead become the cradle of the 2008 financial crisis and the disaster-stricken area, which has also led to the decline of its own soft power and hard power. Why does the United States criticize China for not being a market economy on the one hand and interfere in economic activities on the other? Where are the good free trade, fair competition and the spirit of rule of law? So this is the first idea I want to talk about. Seek truth from facts.

The second idea I want to talk about is peoples livelihood is the greatest or people-oriented doctrine. Ancient Chinese motto also says that the people are the foundation of the country, and the people are the foundation of the country. An important reason why China has been ahead of the West for a long time in history is the concept of destiny of the Chinese ancients in power, which is also people-oriented in nature. It attaches great importance to the solution of peoples livelihood problems, regards it as the key to peoples aspiration, and regards it as a major event determining the fate of the country. This is the truth of everything is long and the peoples livelihood is great. People-oriented doctrine is also a part of Chinas red tradition.

General Secretary Xi Jinping said such a thing not long ago. He must never forget his first intention until he has been there all the time. The original intention and mission of the Communists of China is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and revival of the Chinese nation. All Party comrades must always breathe with the people, share their destiny and connect their hearts and minds, and always regard the peoples yearning for a better life as their goal of struggle.

In the past, the Communist Party of China led the people to strike local tyrants and divide fields in order to make the people live a good life. Today we are talking about a well-off society in an all-round way. We are talking about observing the suffering of the people. We are talking about two hundred-year goals and so on. They are also for this purpose. This is why China can rise in a short period of decades in an all-round way. An important experience is that the most important task for the government is to vigorously improve peoples livelihood.

Under the guidance of this concept of governance, we have created the greatest miracle of poverty eradication in human history and the largest middle class in the world, which has really shocked the outside world.

In addition, peoples livelihood is great, and the concept of people-oriented doctrine also has tremendous inclusiveness and modernity. It refers not only to the countrys efforts to improve peoples livelihood, but also to a countrys political and institutional arrangements. It also aims to comprehensively improve the quality of peoples lives at a higher and broader level, to provide better services to the people by the government, and to make people live safer, freer, happier and more respectful. A strict life.

In comparison with Western ideas, it has unique significance. Because most of the worlds countries are still developing countries, there are still billions of people, suffering from war, poverty, hunger and lack of basic necessities. One of the main reasons for the frequent failure of the Western model in non-Western countries is that it has led to endless political disputes, resulting in the idling of the political machinery and making the possibility of improving peoples lives remote. So the Arab Spring turned into the Arab Winter, for the same reason.

Now even the western countries themselves have a similar situation, the western political model and economic model, todays biggest dilemma is to improve peoples livelihood is weak, peoples livelihood can not be improved. The financial crisis, the debt crisis and the economic crisis have all led to the long-term stagnation of the living standards of the Western people, even a significant decline, and the shrinking of the middle class.

In the past few years in western political circles, there has been a popular saying that was put forward by President Clinton of the United States. Its called Its a conomy in English. Its really stupid. The problem lies in the economy. This was President Clintons advice to many Western politicians who were running for office that you had to do a good job in the economy to get elected, but many people didnt listen to it. In other words, the vast majority of people in Western countries are also concerned about the livelihood issues of economy, employment and welfare. So I think the concept of Chinese people-oriented doctrine is not only in line with the local climate of China, but also in line with that of the world. To be frank, if there is a Western democratic model and a Chinese peoples livelihood model, or a Chinese people-oriented democratic model, these models compete, my conclusion is that the Chinese model has won.

Today, Western democratic discourse seems to have some moral discourse advantages, but for the vast majority of people in the world, people-oriented thinking is the real embodiment of democracy, far more firm and powerful than empty democratic preaching. I believe that time and history must stand on the side of people-oriented doctrine, and the world will eventually move in this direction. Western democracy also has to be reformed in this direction, otherwise it will decline faster.

So I think as early as 2014, the Economist magazine published an article lamenting that you see the living standards of the Chinese people doubled every ten years, and that it will take 30 years for the United States to achieve this when it rises fastest. By the way, peoples livelihood is great or people-oriented. I still think in English, its better to translate it into peoples slivelihood first for reference only. It doesnt matter if the audience who knows English doesnt know English. They can talk to their foreign friends about these common and wise Chinese ideas. The Chinese people do not allow the political machine to idle. Everything the government does must be carried out to improve peoples lives. Otherwise, it is what we call idle talk, which is one of the biggest problems in todays western model.

Then the third idea is called holistic thinking, or holistic thinking and overall consideration. I use holisticthinking in English. Then the Chinese peoples overall thinking and overall consideration ability should be said to be the strongest in the world, because the Chinese way of thinking, including the whole philosophical thinking of Chinese medicine, is the overall thinking. The Chinese oppose headache treatment and foot pain treatment. They advocate overall consideration, dialectical recognition and treatment of both symptoms and symptoms. In the course of governing the country, the Chinese people have always said that people have no foresight, must have immediate worries, and that those who do not seek the overall situation are not enough to seek a region.

Chairman Mao was thinking of surpassing the United States in fifty or sixty years. Deng Xiaoping considered a three-step modernization strategy for 70 years. Xi Jinping considers the formulation and implementation of two hundred-year goals.

Last October, I gave a speech at Harvard University. I said that President Xi Jinping of China embraced 2050, President Trump of the United States embraced 1950. I can see that most of the audience nodded, indicating that many people of insight in the United States also realized that their political system had gone wrong.

Time magazine once published an article entitled Can democracy solve the current predicament of the West? There is a point in it that Western politicians value the narrow interests of winning elections more than the long-term interests of the country as a whole. So their concern is not to cut the deficit, not to improve the competitiveness of the economy, but to win the next election.

Gardels, editor-in-chief of the U.S. Post, also said that Western democracy was subjected to short-term tyranny called instant news and short-term tyranny called one person, one vote, which led to the spread of populism. He said the system lacked long-term thinking, long-term planning and political capacity for sustained rule. He said it was far from being able to respond to or respond to Chinas rise.

So Chinas system has been constantly reforming and adjusting itself for decades, and has formed a set of institutional arrangements with overall thinking, overall consideration and long-term consideration. This advantage is better reflected in the formulation and implementation of Chinas medium- and long-term planning, especially in the formulation and implementation of one five-year plan after another. Chinas overall rise is largely the result of successful implementation of such strategic plans one after another.

If you compare the Western model with the Chinese model, the biggest difference between the two is probably a short-sighted politics and a far-sighted difference. Most Western politicians only care about the short-term interests of some of their own voters, but ignore the overall interests of the whole nation and the whole world. Often, he only cares about his votes and his tenure, but ignores the longer-term interests, because he is a political party election system, different political parties may not be able to implement the same policy if they change one political party. So generally speaking, the West considers what to do in the next hundred days, called the 100-day plan, and at most what to do in the next election. In fact, the Chinese model can even plan for the next generation, which is unimaginable in todays Western model.

From todays situation of global governance, there are more and more problems in the world. Better global governance really calls for overall thinking and overall consideration. Otherwise, none of the problems in the world can be solved. Chinese people pay attention to overall consideration, one degree, dynamic balance and the best time to solve problems. I think these wisdom has positive and far-reaching significance in solving many difficult problems facing the West and in solving many difficult problems facing global governance.

From the philosophical tradition, the same is true. Western philosophy emphasizes the individual, while Chinese philosophy emphasizes the whole. The two can complement each other completely. Just like seeing trees, we should also see forests, so that we can deepen our understanding of the world. China has learned something from the Western emphasis on individual ideas, which can be said to benefit a lot. In fact, the West can also learn a lot from Chinas emphasis on the concept of the whole.

Then, starting from the concepts of seeking truth from facts, people-oriented and holistic thinking just now, when you look at the Western model again, I really feel that there is a sense of a panoramic view. Take the ongoing Sino-US trade friction or Sino-US trade war as an example, you can see how the U.S. authorities have done it. It clearly lacks a minimal realistic analysis of Sino-US trade relations and completely ignores the demands of the vast majority of Americans and enterprises against tariff increases. A large part of Chinas recent $300 billion in exports is needed by the American peoples livelihood, especially electronic products. So there is no holistic thinking about China-US relations and the future of the whole world order. So you can see that the United States is going farther and farther along the wrong path, causing more and more damage to its own interests, and you cant stop it if you want to.