With Chinese New Year on the horizon the world is preparing to celebrate alongside Chinese counterparts.
The Lunar New Year falls on January 28 and marks the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese calendar. It is a two week celebration where families unite and share in a feast of food, fireworks and gift exchanges. The holiday is considered the largest migration of people in the world, with Chinese authorities saying more than 350 million people would be travelling by train, and 60 million by flights to see their loved ones.
Expect to witness an array of red clothing, dragon dancing and fresh haircuts in the lead up; all traditions that go back hundreds of years. Each day has its own celebration. While on day two it is traditional to visit friends and relatives, on day three people usually stay at home as it is considered auspicious to socialise. The final day, day 15, sees the Lantern Festival, where red Chinese lanterns are released into the sky.
Countries all around the world are joining in on the celebration. In Australia, the Sydney Opera House will bathe in red to welcome in the year of the rooster.
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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.”
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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.