An Overview of the Project


Key concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture constitute the essence of what is considered the best of traditional Chinese culture. Accurately defining China’s core concepts and better sharing Chinese thought and cultural concepts with the world are important mean to safeguarding China’s cultural sovereignty, fortifying the Chinese people’s confidence in their culture, and promoting China’s cultural exchanges with other countries.

Chinese leaders attach great importance to carrying forward China’s outstanding traditional culture. The State Council has approved the launch of the Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture-Translation and Communication Project for the purpose of better sharing such concepts with international audiences. An inter-ministerial joint conference has been put in place to coordinate the work. It is comprised of the Ministry of Education, the State Language Affairs Commission, the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, the China International Publishing Group, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the State Council Information Office, the Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, with the first two of these the conveners.

The purposes of the Project are to select the concepts in Chinese thought and culture that reflect the characteristics of the country’s traditional culture and the Chinese people’s way of thinking, and that embody the core values of China; objectively and accurately define the concepts in concise, easy-to-understand language; and encourage government offices, social organizations, and the media in China to use these concepts in international communications to tell China’s story well and effectively communicate what China has to say to keep the world better informed of China’s national conditions, history, and culture. The Project has invited well-known experts to form a board of advisors, an expert committee, and an academic committee. They are responsible for drawing up the principles and standards for selecting and translating the relevant concepts, selecting and translating them, as well as coordinating their publication and application. The Project has a secretariat at Beijing Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press affiliated to Beijing Foreign Studies University.

The Project has so far selected and translated into English 81 key concepts in Chinese thought and culture, based on careful research and repeated discussions by more than 70 well-known experts in literature, art, history, philosophy, and translation. These concepts are hereby released and recommended for public use.