A new book about Chinese power has come at the right time as China becomes a global giant. R. James Ferguson and Rosita Dellios’s latest book, The Politics and Philosophy of Chinese Power: The Timeless and the Timely, is an erudite exploration of the politics, philosophy, and history of Chinese power.
This book provides a focus on the social, strategic, and diplomatic trends that have shaped China for over three thousand years. Key periods in Chinese history are explored, particularly where attitudes to power evolved and their current expressions. These include China’s expanded use of ‘think tanks’ to chart the future, efforts at creating an eco-civilization to balance growth, and an extended set of security and information capabilities.
International Confucian Association’s Reginald Little describes the book as “essential reading if one seeks to understand the forces transforming the 21st Century. The reader is left with a profound sense of a Confucian-Daoist tradition of thought culture. It is one which influences Chinese priorities in the human and natural world in unfamiliar ways, addressing global challenges.”
R. James Ferguson is the Director of Bond University’s Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies and Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Society and Design. His teaching and research areas include East Asia, the Indo-Pacific Region, Eurasia, Latin America, as well as regionalism and globalization studies.
Rosita Dellios is the Associate Professor of International Relations at Bond University. Rosita lectures and writes on themes of Chinese defence policy and philosophy, concepts for world order and future trends in global politics.
The Politics and Philosophy of Chinese Power: The Timeless and the Timely is published by Lexington Books. To read more about this book and to make a purchase please follow the link.
The central government of China is slowly reintroducing Confucianism into China’s education system, particularly through supporting hundreds of private schools dedicated to Confucian teachings.
The teachings of Confucius demand respect for tradition and elders to ensure harmony in a rigidly hierarchical society. Parents are responding optimistically to the traditional education as the children of today’s society are considered too individualistic and selfish.
A new institution in Wuhan especially has been praised for offering young students a program that “counters the downsides of modern life”. The class of 30 students aged two to six chants “Our respect to you, Master Confucius. Thank you for the kindness of your teaching and your compassion”.
Not only do the students learn to recite the great Confucian classics, recreational activities such as Chinese chess for boys and tea ceremonies for girls are conducted.
From January 2016, The China Confucius Foundation had established around 300 institutions in China, compared with 223,700 ordinary kindergartens. A growth of 700 more institutes is anticipated.
Another Confucian organisation, Tongxueguan, opened its first weekend school in 2006 and now has more than 120 such establishments across the country.
According to the founder of Tongxueguan, Li Guangbin, “After economic prosperity, Chinese feel the need for a return to their roots. They also need spiritual elevation.”
Li continues, “The government needs the Confucian traditions to maintain stability, increase the happiness of people, so that they accept their lot without complaint.”
The complete article can be found here.
An ongoing painting exhibition, titled Origins of Great Beauty, showed how artists today infuse elements of Confucianism and Taoism into their ink works.
On December 13, the show, which was held at Beijing’s Museum of the Confucius Temple and the Imperial Academy (Guozijian) displayed some 100 figure paintings, landscapes and flower-and-bird works of the three contemporary Chinese painters Yuan Wu, Cao Wu and Xia Tiaxing.
Qin Dailun, the exhibition’s curator from the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology, said while Yuan has adopted a realistic approach to enrich the expressiveness of traditional figure painting, Cao’s flower-and-bird works show his concern for ecological changes, and Xia’s mountain-and-water paintings reflect the humanistic spirit of ancient painters.
Tu Weiming is a philosophy professor at Harvard University and Chair of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University. He is an ethicist and is one of the leading lights of New Confucianism. David Volodzko, the national editor of JoongAng Daily, the sister paper of The New York Times in South Korea, conducted an interview with Tu Weiming, asking him about the relevance of Confucius today.
When questioned about Confucianism being incompatible with progress [in China], TuWeiming responded:
“That is a tradition that started in 1919, with the New Cultural Movement, and what I call all these Enlightenment values of the West, even though there’s a lot of debate about the abusive use of some of these values. We have Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Confucian values, and the argument was that religious forms are not compatible. But I think that phase is already over, and people today have more sophisticated ideas about human development, that it’s not just a matter of having a higher GDP. So right now in China, very few insist that the Confucian tradition is incompatible with progress. As properly understood and properly practiced, Confucian values become even more congenial to human development. Some narrow and nationalistic ideas have also surfaced based on this. My view is that Confucianism must adapt itself to human values, and that the abusive use of power by neoliberal economies could be corrected by a much broader vision of human flourishing. Issues of proper governance, moral order, and the financial regulatory system are all a part of the story. The role of government, for example, the role of leadership, all these are relevant issues.”
To view the full interview click here.