Confucianism ‘enters political thought’
Global Times | 2013-11-28 1:03:01
By Zhang Yiqian
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President Xi Jinping's tour to the Chinese Confucius Research Institute in Qufu, Shandong Province proves that Confucianism has begun to enter into  Chinese political thought, analyst says.

On a visit to Shandong Province, President Xi Jinping toured to the hometown of Confucius (551-479 BC) on Tuesday and held a symposium with experts, during which he said that the study of the philosophy needs to be combined with modern-day application.

During the tour, Xi said that Confucian thought can play a positive role in China's modern development. He picked up two Confucianism books and said he would "read them carefully."

Yang Chaoming, author of the two books, Interpretation of The Analects, and The Collected Sayings and Dialogues of Confucius, said that Confucian thought is of great meaning to the social governance and to the establishing a clean government and Party.

The attention that the current government pays to Confucianism is unmatched and the first time authorities have permitted the philosophy since the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), Oh Ei Sun, a political analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In a commentary published in the Chinese version of the Financial Times, Yao Zhongqiu, an independent Confucianism scholar, noted that Confucian words and ideology are slowly melting into the language of officials, such as the "harmonious society."

"Confucian words will become the basic language of Chinese thought and one can only talk about Chinese issues and administer the country in a good way by starting from Confucianism," he wrote, adding that the future political structure cannot be copied from Western countries.

Chinese soft power lies in Confucianism and socialism, said Gan Yang, dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities at Sun Yat-Sen University, in an interview with the 21st Century journal.

"To develop  Chinese soft power, is to dig into the deeper meaning of Confucianism and socialism, that's a great task of our time," he said.

People have some misunderstanding of Confucianism, thinking it's a thought representing feudalism and monarch worship, Oh said. However, he thinks Confucianism has an aspect that develops along with the times.

"For example, the master of Confucianism, Zhu Xi in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), said 'Do your best and that's called loyalty,'" he said.

"Many think that 'loyalty' means blind loyalty to the monarch, but actually the concept can mean something close to 'professional ethics' in today's society," he added.

If China wants to intensify its push of Confucianism, there must first be some research to find the updated and modern parts of the philosophy, Oh said and added that the real-world application of Confucianism should include the most essential and updated parts of its philosophy. 

Oh also said that this step must be taken to share Chinese culture and keep up with  global development.

The government must find the matching ideologies of Confucianism for the current conditions and use that in deepening reform, he added.

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