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Cultural Identity o f the Chinese Dream


  At the end of 2012, the U.S.-based National IntelligenceCouncil (NIC) issued a report titled GlobalTrends 2030: Alternative Worlds, which predictedthat China’s economy will surpass the United Statesto become the world’s largest a few years before 2030. Economicgrowth represents a part of the Chinese Dream. However, the ChineseDream cannot depend entirely on economic development. Itshould also be culture-oriented. It is culture rather than economicsthat create new civilizations for the world. A few decades ago, Japanranked as the world’s second largest economy, and bought halfof Hawaii’s real estate and many properties in New York City’sTimes Square in the 1980s and 1990s. Japanese citizens once eyedbecoming “first” in the world, but fell into recession. So when itpromotes the Chinese Dream, China needs to consider how to usecultural strength to accompany China’s peaceful rise and how tobuild a chain of Chinese cultural values.

  Culture is the foundation of social, economic, scientific, educationaland ecological development. It is also a reflection of the successof humankind. Culture is both abstract and concrete. Culturalevolution and personal identity in many ways provide the basicsfor development. And these basics, over the course of development,can promote human achievements to the masses and createnew trends or tides of culture. The ultimate goal is to develop anew Chinese culture which is compatible with other cultures andbenefits the whole world. Even as China becomes a global leader, itwill not impose its philosophy on others as Western countries didin the 19th and 20th Centuries. The cultural identity of the ChineseDream will be near the heart of global civilization in 21st Century.

  As renowned 20th Century British historian Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889-1975) predicted in his later years, the 19th Centurybelongs to the U.K., the 20th belongs to the U.S., and the 21stbelongs to China. This prediction brought anxieties to many Westerners,which partially resulted in the China threat theory. So anexternal problem with the Chinese Dream is that many countries,tracing the behavior of Western nations after they became powers,believe that the Chinese rise is about hegemony. In order toeliminate misunderstandings, the Chinese Dream needs to set newcultural values and a distinct identity.

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