Political Confucianism’s Coming of Age

Following the installation of his statue in Tiananmen Square last month, Global Voices charts the gradual rehabilitation of Confucius in China, and examines the domestic and foreign policy implications that may lie behind the rhetoric.

Political Confucianism provides the answer to various political problems in China. It can act as the state religion, modify and beautify Marxism, invoke the hierarchical politics of the Kingly Way to whitewash authoritarianism, and act as a defense to constitutional democracy, freedom and equality (‘Under Political Confucianism, China’s future development is the Kingly Way and not democracy, and the Kingly Way means the “politics of sages”’ – Jiang Qing), promote ethics and social responsibility to save China from a moral crisis, defend local culture against Westernization, alleviate the world’s fear of a rising Communist China, and act as a culture for global penetration and expansion.

Globally China is holding the flag of Confucianism. 320 Confucius Institutes are opened in over 90 countries, but never a Marxism-Leninism-Mao-Deng school! The act of ‘Confucius stationing in Tiananmen’ will further reassure the US – today China officially switches from Marxism-Leninism to Confucianism. At most, China is a ‘Confucius socialist society’. But on the other hand, it represents a rejection of ‘wholesale Westernization’. Marxism-Leninism is what can be abandoned, but not Confucius traditions such as ‘all land under heaven belongs to the emperor’, ‘learning advanced technology from barbarians to fight agasint them’, and ‘Chinese learning for the substantial, western learning for the useful’.