Feb 12, 2016
Confucianism, with its emphasis on virtue and social harmony,
served as the foundation of Chinese civilization for over two
thousand years. The teachings of the famous Chinese sage had an
impact on every aspect of Chinese life and social structure and
ultimately spread and flourished throughout East Asia.
Confucianism’s prominence in Chinese culture was shattered during
the twentieth century as reformers and revolutionaries labeled the
ancient sage an outdated relic preventing China from becoming a
strong, modern State.
China’s great philosopher is experiencing a revival in China today. President Xi Jinping routinely promotes some of Confucius’s ideas in an attempt to resurrect traditional culture as a bulwark against unwanted foreign influence. Ordinary Chinese are revisiting Confucius’s teachings and enrolling their children into Confucian schools.
In his new book, Confucius and the World He Created, Michael Schuman notes that the unprecedented resurgence of Confucianism may be one of the most significant trends in Chinese politics and culture. Will Confucius’s doctrine become a tool to solidify authoritarianism in China, as it was during the country’s imperial era? How do the 21st century versions of Confucianism compare to earlier understanding of his ideas? Is Confucian humanist thought just what a rapidly changing Chinese society needs? Michael Schuman addressed these questions and discussed his book with the National Committee on February 2, 2016, in New York City.
Michael Schuman is a Beijing-based journalist with over 20 years of experience writing about Asia and the global economy. He has served as a correspondent for theWall Street Journal and TIME magazine. He is also the author of The Miracle: The Epic Story of Asia’s Quest for Wealth (2009).
The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.