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For comprehensive development of Vietnamese culture and people according to 12th Party Congress

(LLCT) - As far as the development of culture and people is concerned, the Party’s 12th  Congress called on “authorities at all levels and industries to have a full, profound awareness of the special importance of culture and people; achieve comprehensive development of Vietnamese culture and people characterized by truth, good and beauty and imbued with the spirit of nationality, humanity, democracy and science; build culture into a solid foundation of society; and achieve comprehensive development of Vietnamese people”.

The Party’s 12th Congress confirmed its determination and that of the entire population and armed forces to take advantage of opportunities, overcome difficulties and challenges, increase its leadership capacity and fighting spirit and the managerial effectiveness and efficiency of the State, advance comprehensively and consistently the renovation cause, develop the country fast and sustainably, achieve the goals of “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable, civilized country”, and steadily progress to socialism.

As far as the development of culture and people is concerned, the Congress called on “authorities at all levels and industries to have a full, profound awareness of the special importance of culture and people; achieve comprehensive development of Vietnamese culture and people characterized by truth, good and beauty and imbued with the spirit of nationality, humanity, democracy and science; build culture into a solid foundation of society; and achieve comprehensive development of Vietnamese people”(1).

To accomplish the objective of culture and people development set by the Party’s 12th Congress, it is necessary to carry out the following important tasks and solutions:

Firstly, the Party’s ideological foundation must be consistently maintained.

The ideology of the ruling class does not only belong exclusively to it but is also the most important constituent of social superstructure and a “dominating” element of the spiritual life of a society. K.Marx and F.Engels pointed out, “The ideas of the dominant class are, in any age, the dominant ideas; in other words, whichever class is the dominant material force in society is also the dominant spiritual”(2).Thus, in class society, culture takes on a class character. The dominant culture in society is the culture of the dominant class.   

Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought are the ideological foundations of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and have shown their deciding position and role in the entire evolution and development of the revolution since the Party was founded. Realities of the Vietnamese revolution over the last 85 years, especially the enormous achievements of the 30 years of renovation testifies to the fact that Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought have been applied and expanded creatively by our Party and that they prove to be the Party’s ideological foundation and lodestar for its actions and the primary factor ensuring that spiritual life of the society is on the right track and that national independence is closely linked to socialism.

The comprehensive renovation, construction and development of the country in general and the building and development of Vietnamese culture which is advanced and rich in national identity in particular require loyalty to, improvement of, and expansion of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought; and dissemination and communication of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought so they play a major role in the spiritual life of society. The Resolution by the 5th Plenum of the 8th Party Central Committee pointed out, “Ideology... is... a key area of culture”(3); “The culture we are building is one which is advanced and rich in national identity. ‘Advanced’ means patriotic and progressive, and its core content is the ideals of national independence and socialism based on Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought and aiming for people and their well-being and their comprehensive, free, varied development within harmonious relations between individuals and communities, and between society and nature”(4). Such clear and consistent definition has further consolidated the trust and pride of each government official, party member and ordinary person in Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought - the ideological foundations of the Party and the most important area of the national culture.

The Party’s 12th Congress called for “Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought to be consistently maintained, creatively applied and appropriately adapted to Vietnamese realities; goals of national independence and socialism to be preserved and the renovation line to be followed”(5). However, what is important and urgent is deeply embedding (and expressing) Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought (including the socialist orientation, ideals of national independence linked to socialism, and the goals of “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable, civilized country”) in all lines, policies and activities related to politics, economics, culture and society and turn them into internal resources for national development.

Secondly, traditional cultural and revolutionary values and national cultural identity must be inherited and promoted, and the country is to be proactive in its international cultural integration and in receiving the cultural quintessence of humankind.

In the context of globalization and international integration, “We have the chance to gain easy access to the cultural achievements of humankind and, at the same time, introduce our fine and unique cultural values to other countries”(6). However, globalization and international integration have presented the country with challenges and “threats of instability”. This is a common trend in global cultures, which may lead to “homogenization” of cultural values and “assimilation” of national cultures. Globalization may result in the danger of homogenizing systems of values, leading to the eradication of national senses and exhausting the creativity of cultures - which is considered to be of extreme importance to lasting existence of peoples and humankind. “Globalization may be detrimental to the creativity and cultural diversity of the world and create a poor homogeneity in cultural terms”(7). Therefore, the UNESCO in 2005 approved the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressionsto retain cultural peculiarities of nations in the context of globalization.

Developing national culture amidst the ongoing globalization and scientific and technological revolution, we are faced with a pressing demand for protecting our cultural identity, especially our traditional cultural and revolutionary values. When increasing international exchanges, we must be cautious and selective so as to receive elements which are humane, progressive and suitable for our historical conditions, cultural traditions and spiritual foundations of the socialist regime.

Protecting and promoting national identity are about protecting and promoting “the lasting values and quintessence of Vietnamese ethnic communities which have built up over millennia of fighting for the establishment and protection of the country. These values include wholehearted patriotism and the sense of self-reliance, solidarity and community, which bonds individuals, families, villages and the homeland together; humanity, tolerance, and respect for righteousness, feeling and morality; industriousness and creativeness at work; sophisticated behaviors and simple lifestyles..., and unique expressions of national characters”(8).

Protecting and promoting national identity refers to “Protecting and promoting cultural heritage - priceless assets which foster communal and national solidarity and constitute the core of national identity and the basis for creating new values and conducting cultural exchanges... respecting the preservation, inheritance and promotion of traditional cultural values (scholarly and folk) and revolutionary culture including tangible and intangible ones, and researching fine national moral standards left by ancestors and educating people on them”(9). The protection of national identity must occur at the same time as the combat against backwardness and obsoleteness in old customs, practices and habits. There must be mechanisms and policies aimed at reconciling the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage with socio-economic development. Typical historical and cultural heritage sites must be conserved and restored for the purposes of education of traditions and economic development. The preservation and promotion of cultural heritage must be linked to the development of economics, tourism and services. Some types of traditional arts faced with the danger of extinction must be restored and preserved. The UNESCO-recognized cultural heritage sites must be promoted to contribute to the dissemination of images of the country and its people. The Vietnamese language must be developed while its purity must be maintained; the abuse of foreign languages must be overcome. The cultural heritage of ethnic minority groups, particularly their spoken and written languages, costumes and traditional festivals, and the positive cultural values of religions and beliefs must be preserved and upheld.     

The protection and promotion of national identity must go together with the increase of international exchanges. “[The country] is to be proactive in international cultural integration; proactively promote cultural cooperation with other countries; diversify forms of external cultural relations; deepen and substantiate its international cultural relations; receive selectively the quintessence of world cultures to enrich its national culture; take initiative to seize opportunities for development and overcome challenges to keep and perfect national cultural identity; limit and overcome the negative influences and side effects of cultural globalization”(10).

The talent and commitment of overseas Vietnamese intellectuals and artists must be utilized for the country’s cultural development and used as tools for promoting the country, its culture and its people. Importance must be attached to the dissemination of Vietnamese culture overseas and teaching of Vietnamese for Vietnamese living abroad and foreigners living in Vietnam.

Thirdly, cultural values imbued with the spirit of nationality, humanity, democracy, science and revolution must be further created, disseminated and popularized. These values must penetrate deeply all areas of the society, each family and each individual and become progressive, civilized mindsets and practices.

The cultural creation potential of intellectuals and the public must be fully exploited for cultural development. The common spirit of viewpoints, policies and measures is providing conditions for cultural specialists so they can fulfill their social roles and noble functions in the creation, dissemination and popularization of national cultural, democratic, humane, scientific and revolutionary values. The Party encourages cultural activists to be creative and provides conditions for them to do so. It ensures that freedom of creation and personal freedom and democracy occur at the same time as the emphasis of cultural activists’ civil and social responsibilities for the homeland, people and socialism.

Cultural socialization should be promoted. All social resources must be mobilized for the development of culture. There must be suitable plans, policies and mechanisms facilitating stable, correct development of the country’s culture in the new period. Intellectual property rights must be fully exercised. Work must be done urgently to introduce soon compensations for cultural practitioners so they feel secure about their creative and contributive efforts.

Emphasis is to be given to “building a healthy cultural environment favourable for the development of the socialist-oriented market economy and international integration and creating a healthy cultural climate and life in the political system and each locality, village, hamlet, neighborhood, organization, agency, business, industrial zone and family to contribute to the education and training of personality, morality and lifestyles”(11). The literary-artistic, education-training and scientific - technological causes must be advanced. The development of the mass media must coincide with its good management. Legal and cultural institutions must be strengthened and perfected to ensure the building and development of culture and people in the period of intensified industrialization, modernization and international integration.

Cultural industries must be developed while cultural service and product markets must be established and perfected. There must be mechanisms for encouraging investment in physical facilities, technical equipment and advanced technologies to improve the quality of cultural products and services. Favorable conditions must be created for the operation of cultural, literary, artistic, sport and tourism agencies and social resources must be attracted for their development. Institutions must be renovated and perfected so as to provide a favorable legal atmosphere for the establishment and development of healthy cultural services and product markets. Cultural industries must be developed to make use of the potentialities and unique values of Vietnamese culture. The export of cultural products must be encouraged to contribute to the promotion of Vietnamese culture abroad. The sense of abiding by laws on copyrights and related rights must improve across the society. The effectiveness of copyrights managing and enforcing bodies from central to local levels must be consolidated and increased.

Importance is to be attached to the building of culture within the Party, state bodies and mass organizations. Such endeavor must be considered to be an important factor behind the building and development of culture and building of a clean, strong political system. “[We] must give emphasis to the building of culture from within the Party and state apparatus, and one of the important themes of this building is learning from and acting on Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and style. Culture, morality and healthy lifestyles must be expressed, first and foremost, in all Party organizations, state bodies and mass organizations and its members, and among government officials, civil servants, employees and party member. Exemplification by each government officials and party members is an important requirement for the Party’s leadership work”(12). Efforts must be concentrated on fulfilling the objectives of “building a transparent and strong Party in political, ideological, organizational and moral terms and continuing to foster the learning from and acting on Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and style and considering this to be a regular task of party organizations, authorities at all levels, socio-political organizations, localities and organizations”(13).

The vanguard and exemplary role of government officials and party members should be emphasized and the sense of responsibility among organizations, agencies, units, localities and the public heightened to accomplish the tasks of developing the economy, culture and society, consolidating national defense and security and firmly protecting political and cultural security. Regular attention must be paid to the building of culture in politics and economics. Corporate and business culture must be established with companies and business people having a sense of respecting and obeying the law, protecting their credibility and competing healthily for sustainable development of their businesses and the country.

Fourthly, there must be an effective fight against backward, toxic or wrong cultural viewpoints, ideas and products as well as ideological and cultural sabotage by hostile forces. Effective measures should be made to overcome serious, incessant limitations and weaknesses in cultural, ideological, moral and lifestyle domains within the Party and society.

For comprehensive, sustainable development of culture and people, we consider “building” to be the main task to create and facilitate new cultural and human values, achieve truth, goodness and beauty and infuse ourselves with the sense of nationality, humanity, democracy and science. At the same time, “building” must be synchronous with “fighting” against deviatory, wrong, backward or reactionary cultural ideas, doings and products.

The Party has pointed out “the ideological, political, moral and lifestyle degeneration among its own ranks and in society tends to worsen.... As far as the cultural environment is concerned, there are still unhealthy or exotic practices or those which are contrary to the nation’s fine customs; social vices and crimes tend to increase”(14).

Given the above-mentioned situation, it is necessary to further criticize and prevent bad, evil and depraved doings; fight viewpoints and acts which are wrong, backward, negative and reactionary; “combat ideological, political, moral and lifestyle degeneration and signs of “self-evolution” and “self-conversion” among the Party’s contigent; and resolutely control bureaucratic red tape, corruption, wastefulness, individualism, opportunism, materialism, factionalism, “group interests,” and the situation where words are not accompanied by actions(15).

It is imperative to increase measures aimed at managing and educating governmental officials and party members; emphasize the training of revolutionary morality; intensify criticism and self-criticism; regularly collect people’s feedback on the eligibility and standards of morality of governmental officials and party members; strictly discipline government officials and party members who violate the Party’s regulations and the State’s laws; resolutely remove from the Party’s contingent those who have corrupted in political, ideological, moral and lifestyle terms; and continue to implement the Resolution by the 4th Plenum of the 11th Party Central Committee on Some pressing issues related to the ongoing Party building in order to consolidate the trust of governmental officials, party members and the public in the Party. These measures must be coordinated, focused and realistic. Also, it is essential to combine “fighting and building,” “building and fighting” and “words and actions” together, and focus on solving burning issues.

Finally, efforts must be concentrated on building up and advancing Vietnamese people.

A task with decisive significance to comprehensive, sustainable development of Vietnamese culture and people is to build up Vietnamese people - major players in Vietnamese culture. “Facilitating comprehensive development of Vietnamese people must become a goal of development strategies”(16).

Culture is to be developed for the perfection of people’s personalities and people are to advance for the development of culture. The emphasis of cultural development must ensure comprehensive development of Vietnamese people and that of people advancement cultivating patriotism, national pride, morality, lifestyles and personalities.

Cultural, educational and scientific activities are to be directed towards giving people a sense of science, truth, goodness and beauty. The strengthening and training of morality is to be linked to the exercise of human rights and citizens’ fundamental rights and duties. Vietnamese people are to increase their intellectual capacity and enrich their knowledge so they can meet requirements of the socialist-oriented market economy, international integration, knowledge-based economy and learning society. There must be significant changes in people’s awareness of the law and their sense of abiding by it. Every Vietnamese is to have a profound understanding of the country’s history and culture and take pride in them and hold them in high regard.

The “one for all, all for one” way of life is to be created and fostered. People are to have a sense of self-respect and self-reliance, live and work according to the Constitution and law, and protect the environment. They are to highlight their responsibility for themselves, their families and the society. The correct, the good, the positive and the noble are to be confirmed and honored. Fine, humane values are to be multiplied.

It is necessary to intensify arts education; help people, especially the young, to improve their aesthetic appreciation; emphasize the role of literature and art in the enrichment of people’s souls and sentiments; ensure the right to enjoy and create culture of each citizen and the entire community; increase the physical strength and build of Vietnamese people; and link physical education to the education of knowledge, morality and life skills so people can meet requirements for national construction and protection.            

It is necessary to perfect standards of Vietnamese culture and people; create an environment and conditions for developing people’s personalities, moral standards, intellectual capacity, creativity, physical and mental conditions, social responsibility, civil duties and law-abidingness; and emphasize patriotism, national pride, personal conscience and responsibility for themselves, their families, their communities, the society and country. Efforts are to be concentrated on cultivating fundamental values among Vietnamese including patriotism, humanity, righteousness, honesty, solidarity, industriousness and creativity.

The bad, the evil, the depraved and the backward must be criticized and prevented. Wrong, negative views and acts, which are detrimental to the building of culture and which deprave people must be combated. There must be solutions for overcoming Vietnamese people’s limitations.

The comprehensive, sustainable development of Vietnamese culture and people oriented towards truth, goodness and beauty and imbued with the spirit of nationality, humanity, democracy, science and revolution is a popular cause led by the Party, managed by the State and created by the people in which the intelligentsia plays an important role. Party committees and organizations at all levels need to identify the building and development of Vietnamese culture and people as task of prime importance throughout national industrialization and modernization. Efforts must be concentrated on innovating state management of culture and increasing its effectiveness and efficiency in light of the market economy, international integration and information and communication technology boom. The Party’s views and guidelines on culture must be further institutionalized and concretized. The entire society is to increasingly participate in the care for, and development of, culture and people. Resources in the forms of investment, sponsorship and donation are to be mobilized for the development of culture and advancement of people. The intelligentsia and cultural activists are to take bigger roles in the development of Vietnamese culture and people. Culture is to be made a firm spiritual foundation of the society and an important internal strength ensuring sustainable development of the country and socialism n

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(1), (5), (10), (11), (13), (15), (16) CPV: Documents of the 12th National Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, pp.28-9, 199, 130-1, 127-8, 202, 202, 126-7.

(2) K.Marx&F.Engels: Complete Works, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1995, vol.33, p.246.

(3), (4), (6), (8), (9) CPV: Documents of the 5th Plenum of the 8th Party Central Committee, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi,1998, pp.42, 55-6, 45, 56, 63.

(7) The People Newspaper, 4April 1998.

(12), (14) CPV: Documents of the 9th Plenum of the 11th Party Central Committee, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2014, pp.59, 44-5.

Assoc. Prof., Dr Nguyen Duy Bac

Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa Province

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