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« Sunzi on Obama's "no strategy" comment | Main | Thinking Strategically about the Hong Kong Demonstrations »

October 03, 2014


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Thanks for this post, Sam. I do despair a bit though about the appeal to Mencius in darker moments. Though in one sense his vision of Heavenly Mandate is inspiring, thinking about the context in which Mencius taught those things is less so: the Mencian program seems to involve appealing to the sentiments of those in power and hoping for their benevolence to kick in. Meanwhile, lives and livelihoods may be taken or destroyed. And if that doesn’t work, Mencius seems willing to admit that it was not meant to be. Somehow that doesn’t satisfy my sense of justice. It feels like Hong Kong is in a crucial tipping point and some kind of greater action than appeal to benevolence is required.

If you look a little bit further than Hong Kong, the issue of distinct local differentiation actually applies in lots of places in China. When it comes to foreign threat, however, one may see most of them unite as a nation. That is also no different from many other nations. What Confucius really taught and what was later put in his mouth for political convenience may be different. Corruption certainly may be viewed as the final stage of political system decay, thats why it is being attacked now with a vengeance.

Yes, Menicus, in and of itself, is insufficient for a modern theory of justice. But the argument works both ways: if a government faces massive protest that, too, was meant to be. And if it fails to respond adequately, it will be identified as "inhumane" 不仁.

HKer used to be under the British rule without any election, be it democratic or non, I am surprised at why HKers and long time observers can not feel the progress, and why they are so eager to jump to rather than gradually approach to what they never had.

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