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« Speaking of Chinese Philosophy | Main | Daoism and the Diffusion of Trauma »

August 01, 2013


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I will throw out an assertion that, perhaps, not everyone will accept (critiques welcome!): it is simply not possible to construct a set of transcendent principles that will "unify" or "represent" populations at the scale of the "Chinese people".

It's understandable after the Cultural Revolution and now after 35 years of rampant materialism there exists a crisis of faith. It shows in the revival of superstitions and various religious revivals, but it also shows in some nostalgia for Maoism despite its painful history. Your question can be answered depending your definition of "represent" and "unify". For me modernity is represented by "secular humanism". One doesn't have to resort to authoritarianism to suppress various religions if they do not affect social stability. I think China does tolerate various Christian sects if they unlike some catholic profess loyalty to Vatican. When Xi and his leadership use the term "China Dream" it does provide a reference for an achievable goal of economically richer, ecological more balanced, cleaner environment, and culturally more unifying future.

, first, the mass state-sponsored starvation of the Great Leap Famine, and, then, the lethal political insanities of the Cultural Revolution.

When Westerners accuse Chinese media when reporting positive news the word "Propaganda" is freely dispensed. They think they are standing on higher ground as free thinkers and objective. They patronizingly consider Chinese as brain washed if they differ from their preconceived views and thus easily dismissed. The above quote illustrate my point. State sponsored mass starvation? I thought that was reserved for the Third Reich and its final solution. For someone versed in Chinese philosophy yet seem to be blinded to modern China and Mao despite being there recently. Mao is secure in the pantheon of Chinese historical figures. If you take a poll of Chinese peasants and intellectuals, the two groups suffered most from Great Leap and Cultural Revolution you would find Mao higher in their estimation and overwhelming majority approval if not worship. The fact that Chinese government provide better economic conditions for the masses is good governance, not bribery. You seem to find common ground with the neocons that FDR started the road to welfare state and LBJ passed the Civil Rights Acts for their votes rather than a believe it's the right thing to do.

Implied in your question is whether modern China is viable or doomed to collapse as neocons hope. To answer you I rather ask another question, What is being Chinese? What is being Jewish that over thousands of years of oppression, from orthodox to liberal, yet still hold on the value of being Jewish. Chinese has been called the Jews of Asia. I hope I answered your question.

It is precisely because I study Chinese philosophy, especially Confucianism and Daoism, that it is obvious to me that Mao was fundamentally and cruelly inhumane. It is too bad that your nationalism blinds you from this clear historical fact.

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