Yu Dan, popularizer of Confucianism in China, has hit Britain. Her book on The Analects has been translated into English and has just come out in the UK. Good for her. I think, over all, she does a valuable service by introducing ancient Chinese thought to a wider audience. We can debate her interpretations and presentations, but it is good that she is making the conversation accessible to a greater number of people.
I agree with her on this point, too:
Bringing Confucianism (or Daoism) into contemporary contexts does not require that we mindlessly accept all of the practices and assumptions associated with Confucianism historically. What Confucianism can mean in the US in the 21st century is not what it might have meant in China in, say, the third century BCE. Indeed, what Confucianism meant in China in the third century BCE was different from what it meant in the second century or the twelfth century or the twentieth century there. The meaning of Confucianism has been added to and transformed, pushed in various directions, over the centuries. Thus, I think we can adept it to our own times in ways that are suited to current realities but preserve something uniquely "Confucian" about it. A modern Confucian can have fun.
It is interesting, too, to see Yu shy away from some of the historical practices associated with Confucianism, like the crushingly demanding rote memorization of the traditional educational system:
Today, though, Chinese children as young as five are expected to memorise the value of pi or learn long poems by heart. The danger, Yu Dan believes, is that their brains will become "like the hard drive of a computer", full of passive knowledge which does not contribute in any way to self-improvement. Confucius's maxim "If one learns from others, but does not think, one will be bewildered" seems remarkably relevant to students who simply download their essays from the internet.
Confucian learning requires a certain creativity, the ability to attend to the details of context to understand the possibilities of proper moral action in particular circumstances.
So, good luck to Yu Dan. Too bad that anonymous internet commenters say mean things about her.