The original text of the speech has not been published. This summary was published by Xinhua on 15 October.
Xi Jinping Chairs Forum on Literature and Art Work and Stresses
Persisting in the Creative Orientation of Putting the People Central
Creating Ever More Excellent Works Living Up to the Times
Liu Yunshan in Attendance
CCP General Secretary, State President and CMCC Chairman Xi Jinping chaired the Forum on Literature and Art Work organized in Beijing on the morning of the 15th, and gave an important speech. He stressed that literature and art are the bugle call for the advance of the times, are most able to represent the spirit of an era, and are most able to guide the mood of an era. To realize the “Two Centuries” struggle objective and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the role of literature and art is irreplaceable, and there is great promise from literature and art workers. The broad literature and art workers must understand the position and role of literature and art from this height, understand the historical mission and responsibility they bear, persist in the creative orientation of putting the people central, strive to create ever more excellent works living up to the times, carry forward the Chinese spirit, concentrate Chinese strengths, and encourage the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to march toward the future full of vigour and vitality.
Standing Committee member and Central Committee General Office Secretary Liu Yunshan attended the Forum.
At the forum, China Writer’s Association Chairwoman Tie Ning, China Peking Opera Association Chairman and Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre and Art Director Shang Changrong, Kongzheng Song and Dance Ensemble First-Level Playwright Yan Su, China Association of Fine Arts Vice-Chairman and China Academy of Fine Arts Director Chang Xuhong, China Association of Dance Chairwoman and National Theatre Dance Art Chief Inspector Zhao Rusu, China Writer’s Association Vice Chairman and Shanghai Municipal Writer’s Association Vice Chairman Ye Xin, China Film Association Chairman and China Drama Academy First-Level Performer Li Xuejian gave successive addresses.
After earnestly listening to everyone’s speeches, Xi Jinping made an important speech. First, he indicated that the literature and art undertaking is an important undertaking of the Party and the people, the literature and art battlefront is an important battlefront for the Party and the people. For a long period, the broad literature and art workers have devoted themselves to literature and art creation, performance, research and dissemination, and in their respective areas, have been diligent and hardworking, served the people, obtained clear achievements, and made important contributions. Through everyone’s joint efforts, a hundred flowers are growing in our literature and art garden and there are countless great fruits, presenting a vivid picture of flourishing and development. Xi Jinping extended his sincere respects to literature and art workers nationwide.
Xi Jinping pointed out that promoting the flourishing and development of literature and art, in the end, requires the creation and production of excellent works that can live up to this great nation and these great times. Literature and art workers should firmly keep in mind that creation is their central task, work is the root of their being, they must engage in their creation with calm hearts and a spirit of improvement, and present the best spiritual nourishment to the people. The creation and production of excellent works must be made into a central link of our literature and art work, and we must strive to produce even more excellent works that disseminate the value views of present-day China, reflect the spirit of Chinese culture, mirror the aesthetic pursuits of Chinese people, which organically integrate ideology, artistry and enjoyability.
Xi Jinping stressed that, since reform and opening up, our country’s literature and art creation has welcomed a new springtime, and produced large amounts of universally appreciated excellent works. At the same time, it cannot be denied that, in the area of literature and art creation, the phenomena that there is quantity but no quality, and there are “high plateaus” but no “high peaks” exist, the problem of plagiarism, imitation and stereotypes exist, and the problems of mechanistic production and fast-food-style consumption exist. Literature and art cannot lose its direction as it is absorbed into the market economy, it cannot accept deviations on the question for whom they are, otherwise, literature and art will not have life force. Vulgarity is not popularity, passion does not represent hope, and naive sensual amusement is not equal to spiritual cheer. The reason excellent works are “excellent”, lies in their ideological profundity, artistic exquisiteness and product superiority. [Translator’s note, these three adjectives all contain the character 精, “excellent”]. Literature and art workers must hold high ideals, live and create in step with the times, and innovate through the individuality of their art. We must persist in the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, carry forward academic and artistic democracy, construct a vigorous, healthy, tranquil and harmonious atmosphere, advocate discussion between different viewpoints and schools of thought, advocate that styles, themes, forms and methods fully develop, and promote mutual praise and reflection in group discussion on ideas, content, styles and schools.
Xi Jinping pointed out that, to make literature and art creation flourish and promote literature and art innovation, we must have a large batch of distinguished literators and artists skilled in virtue and art. Our country’s writers and artists should become prophets, trailblazers, and pioneers of the spirit of the times, write and record the magnificent practice of the people and the demands for progress of the times through ever more literature and art works that have strong fibre, virtue and a warm temperature, display the beauty of faith and the beauty of the sublime. Literature and art workers must consciously persist in literature and art ideals, incessantly raise their scholarship, self-control and self-cultivation, strengthen their ideological accumulation, knowledge stores, cultural accomplishments and artistic training, earnestly and solemnly consider the social effect of their works, stress quality, place weight on artistic virtue, save righteousness for history, present beauty and virtue to the people of the world, strive to win people’s love and welcome with noble professional integrity, a fine social image, and beauty both in writing and quality.
Xi Jinping stressed that Socialist literature and art, essentially speaking, is the people’s literature and art. Literature and art must reflect well the people’s wishes; it must persist in the fundamental orientation of serving the people and serving Socialism. This is a basic requirement of the Party for the literature and art front, and is the crux that decides the future destiny of our country’s literature and art undertaking. We must make satisfying the people’s spiritual and cultural needs into a starting point and checking point for literature and art and literature and art workers, make the people into the centre of literature and art expressions, make the people into connoisseurs and critics of literature and art aesthetics, and make serving the people into the vocation of literature and art workers.
Xi Jinping pointed out that, following the incessant rise in people’s living standards, the people’s demands on quality, status and style of cultural products, including literature and art works, have risen. Literature, theatre, film, television, music, dance, fine arts, photography, calligraphy, folksong, acrobatics as well as folk literature and art, mass literature and art and other areas must follow the developments of the times, grasp the demands of the people, and create and produce excellent works that the people love to see and hear with full fervour, vivid brush strokes, graceful melodies and moving forms, to let the people’s spiritual and cultural lives incessantly climb towards new heights.
Xi Jinping stressed that the people are the sources of flowing water for literature and art creation, whenever they are removed from the people, literature and art will change into rootless duckweeds, baseless groaning, and soulless bodies. Whether or not we can produce excellent works fundamentally depends on whether or not we are able to write for the people, express emotions for the people, and express the compassion of the people. We must modestly learn from the people and learn from life, derive nutrients from the people’s magnificent practices and rich and varied lives, incessantly accumulate life and artistic experiences, incessantly discover the beautiful and create the beautiful. We must consistently keep the people’s daily lives and the people’s happiness in our hearts, pour the people’s range of emotions into our own brushstrokes, eulogize the struggling human life, portray the most beautiful characters, and persist in people’s yearning for and belief in beautiful lives.
Xi Jinping pointed out that if literature and art workers want to achieve success, they must consciously breathe together with the people, share their fate, link their hearts with the people’s hearts, fell joy for the joy of the people, suffer for the suffering of the people, and be servants of the people. They must love the people sincerely, love them profoundly, love them lastingly, and must deeply understand the rationale that the people are the creators of history, go deep among the masses, go deep into life, earnestly and sincerely be the little students of the people. Art may give wings to imagination, but it must absolutely have its feet on terra firma. There are a hundred, a thousand ways of creating art, but the most fundamental, the most crucial, and the most reliable method is taking root among the people and taking root in life. We should use realist spirits and romantic feelings to contemplate real life, use light to disperse darkness, use the beautiful and the good to vanquish the ugly and the evil, let the people see that beauty, hope and dreams are ahead.
Xi Jinping stressed that a good work should put social effect first, and at the same time should be a work that integrates social effect and economic effect. Literature and art cannot become slaves of the market, and must not be stained with the stink of money. Excellent literature and art works, at best, can gain ideological and artistic successes, and can receive a welcome on the market.
Xi Jinping pointed out that every age has a spirit of the age. Literature and art are the engineering project of casting souls, literature and art workers are engineers of the souls. Good literature and art work should be like sunlight in a blue sky, like a cool spring breeze, they should be able to enlighten thoughts, caress spirits and mould people’s lives, they should be able to clear away the wind of despair. The broad literature and art workers must carry forward the banner of the Socialist core value system, reflect the Socialist core value system in their literature and art creation vividly, vigorously and in a lifelike manner, use true-to-life images to tell people what they should affirm and praise, and what they must oppose and deny, ensure that the salutary effect of education, like a spring breeze, noiselessly touches all. We must make patriotism into the main melody of literature and art creation, guide the people to establish and uphold correct views of history, views of the nation, views of the country and views of culture, and strengthen their fortitude and resolve to be Chinese.
Xi Jinping stressed that pursuing the true, the good and the beautiful is the eternal value of literature and art. The highest boundary of literature and art is moving people, letting the spirits of people experience baptisms, letting the people discover the beauty of nature, the beauty of life and the beauty of the spirit. We must, through literature and art works, spread the true, the good and the beautiful, spread upward and charitable value views, guide the people in strengthening their powers of moral judgment and their sense of moral honour, yearn for and pursue a life of stressing morals, respecting morals and abiding morals. As long as the Chinese nation pursues the moral plane of the true, the good and the beautiful generation by generation, our nation will be eternally healthy and upward, and will for always be full of hope.
Xi Jinping pointed out that China’s excellent traditional culture is the spiritual lifeline of the Chinese nation, is an important source nourishing the Socialist core value system, and is a firm basis for us to get a firm foothold within the global cultural surge. We must integrate the conditions of new times with inheriting and carrying forward China’s excellent traditional culture, and inheriting and carrying forward a Chinese aesthetic spirit. For our Socialist literature and art to flourish and develop, we must earnestly study and learn from the excellent literature and art created by people in all countries worldwide. Only if we persist in using the foreign to serve the Chinese, exploration and innovation, ensuring combinations of the Chinese and the Western, and mastery through comprehensive study, will our country’s literature and art be able to flourish and develop better.
Xi Jinping stressed that all levels’ Party Committees must bring literature and art work onto the important matters agenda, implement the Party’s literature and art principles and policies well, and grasp the correct orientation of literature and art development. We must choose good leadership ranks for strong literature and art work units, put cadres who have both ability and integrity, and who are able to be on the same page as literature and art workers into leading positions in literature and art work. We must respect the creative individuality and creative labour of literature and art workers, have full confidence in political matters, provide enthusiastic support in creative matters, and create a good environment for the benefit of literature and art creation. We must, through deepening reform, perfecting policies and completing structures, shape a vivid picture of incessant production of excellent work and talents. We must give high attention to and realistically strengthen literature and art criticism work, use the viewpoints of history, the people, art and aesthetics to judge and appreciate works, advocate telling the truth, stressing virtue, and create a good atmosphere to develop literature and art criticism.
Wang Huning, Liu Yandong, Lu Qibao, Xu Qiliang and Li Zhanshu attended the Forum.
Persons in charge from relevant Party and State departments, and the Liberation Army General Political Department, as well as representatives of literature and art workers from all sectors participated in the Forum.
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