Party Promotes Confucian Guide for Obedient Children

While Party and businesses extol the merits of the Dizigui, a 17th century book of Confucian guidance for children, Tea Leaf Nation’s Rachel Lu reports resistance from the public:

Given the text’s emphasis on obedience, it’s not hard to understand why the ruling Communist Party has come to embrace Dizigui in spite of its tumultuous relationship with . (During the , a violent and turbulent period from 1966 to 1976 aimed at stamping out vestiges of Chinese “feudal” culture, Mao Zedong fiercely denounced the Confucian belief system.) But by 2009, , then expected to be China’s next president, specifically named the text as recommended reading for party cadres. A professor at the Central Communist Party School, which trains Chinese officials, wrote a book called Everybody Should Study Dizigui, and party organizations in far-flung corners of the country have convened study sessions on the text.

[…] Many Chinese, however, aren’t pleased by the newfound popularity of this ancient wisdom. To them, the increasing popularity of Dizigui feels like a throwback to a darker age when education encouraged conformity and suppressed free thought; not exactly the best way to prepare for a 21st-century knowledge economy. [… A]fter the Jan. 1 ’s reading in Beijing, screenwriter Zheng Xiaochong commented on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, that the text “is a part of a zombie culture with no ability to innovate.” Another Weibo user argued that it was effective — but only “for training slaves.” [Source]

In this week’s New Yorker, Evan Osnos also looks at the resurgent use of Confucianism for stability and profit.

January 7, 2014 12:01 PM
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