As China becomes wealthier and more confident on the global stage, it also expects to be respected and accommodated as a major global force – and as a formidable civilisation. Through a survey and analysis of China’s regional posture, urban change, social activism and law, mores, the Internet, history and thought – in which the concept of ‘civilising’ plays a prominent role – China Story Yearbook 2013 offers insights into the country today and its dreams for the future.
The cover features four Chinese characters, read from the top right-hand corner, top to bottom. The character wen 文 (‘pattern’, ‘design’, ‘the written’) features a writing brush; the word ming 明 (‘bright’, ‘illuminated’) contains a Huawei mobile phone with an iconic image of the model People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier Lei Feng on its screen (the fiftieth ‘Learn from Lei Feng Day’ was celebrated on 5 March 2013). Together these words form wenming, ‘civilised’ or ‘civilisation’. The main vertical stroke of the next character, zhong 中 (‘central’, ‘middle’, ‘China’), features a high-speed train, while the word hua 华 (‘flourishing’, ‘embellished’, ‘China’) is in the calligraphic hand of the Tang-dynasty monk Huaisu (725–799CE). It is taken from a ‘grass-script’ version of the Thousand-character Classic (Qianziwen 千字文) written in the last year of the monk’s life.
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