China’s Road in the Light of Historical Continuity



It is indisputable that China has developed from a weak to a strong country. Did this change erupt suddenly, or did it have deep historical roots? If the former, its vigorous ascent would be unsustainable, and would be followed by an abrupt decline. If the latter, this implies that China’s long process of historical accretion enabled the country to seize the opportunity for a sustainable rise based on historical continuity. China’s rise was accompanied by the gradual formation of the socialist road with Chinese characteristics following reform and opening up. This process was based not only on the social reforms that preceded reform and opening up but also on the long history of Chinese civilization. Only through a full understanding of the historical foundation of Chinese civilization and its tortuous course can we fully understand the great significance of the Chinese people’s opening up a socialist road with Chinese characteristics and achieving China’s rise under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). China’s Road’s most striking feature is historical continuity rather than rupture, and the main force behind this continuity is its intrinsic dynamism and vitality. The long history of China’s agrarian civilization prepared the basic formal elements for the country’s modernization. Once new elements were injected, the old civilization could be rapidly revitalized and rejuvenated. Chinese “confidence in the road” was not a momentary intoxication but a “deep-rooted confidence with profound historical sources.” Of course, the underlying continuity of China’s Road contained elements of resuscitating the past that needed rational reform if they were to continue. The study of China’s Road must analyze China within the coordinates of “world progress” and from the dimension of the longue durée in order to rediscover China through comparison, identify positive genes and genetic defects in the Chinese historical heritage and find the common values, unique functions and historical limitations in the underlying history of China’s Road.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xu Yong
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of China Rural Studies, Central China Normal UniversityWuhanChina

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