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« Amy Chua is a Legalist Mother | Main | Many Chinas »

January 13, 2011


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You and I have had this conversation before, but I see some parallels between the various 'revive Confucius' activities in today's PRC and Chiang Kai-shek's ill-received "New Life Movement" of the 1930s. Both are a form of traditionalism in the service of an authoritarian regime and both strip the more dynamic and difficult aspects of Confucianism in favor of banal platitudes which impress few beyond the CCP, Yu Dan, and various Western professors interested in cozying up the regime.

Yes, I need to think more about the 1930s...
And, by the way, a parallel conversation among philosophers on this issue of the statue is in need of a historian(see comment #4), jump in if you can...

Not only is the statue facing north, but it is well off the mighty central axis, a sort of "Oh yeah, him too, as long as he stays out of the real way."

Completely agree with Jeremiah/Granite Studio on this one -- we seem to be coming back around to the mish-mash of "China's Destiny"/New Life rhetoric.

I don't necessarily disagree with this statue as a "propoganda effort", but for the sake of perspective, do you analyze American government efforts to build statues (of Lincoln, Washington, King, etc)this much?

Yeah, yeah, I know China is a one-party state. But the US is a two-party state. Moreover, when you think of the effect that these statues have on you in the US -- i.e., very little -- do you think that Chinese people care much more?

What is interesting about the statue, unlike the US statues you mention, is that it signifies the continuing rehabilitation of Confucius by China's political authorities. It's novel in that way. And it also implicitly suggests the diminution of Marxist, and thus Maoist, ideology. It's hard to know what the analogy would be for the US....

I love reading all of your posts on Confucianism and China today. But to be fair, throughout China's history hasn't every revival of Confucianism, starting with the first revival in the Han dynasty, strayed from the original intent of Confucius, just taking what the state wanted to take from it? So I'm not surprised at all that the Chinese state is not really Confucian, because it never really has been.

You may be right: the Chinese state has always been more Legalist than Confucian...

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