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Confucianism in the Xi Jinping era

IMG_1360For much of the past 100 years, Confucius has been vilified by reformers and revolutionaries in China who believed the ancient sage was an outdated relic holding the nation back from a new, glorious future. However, today China’s greatest philosopher is experiencing a revival, said author and journalist Michael Schuman at an FCC lunch on January 25.

President Xi Jinping routinely promotes Confucius’s ideas in an attempt to resurrect traditional culture as a bulwark against unwanted, foreign influences, Schuman said. Encouraged, ordinary Chinese were revisiting Confucius’ teachings and travelling to the sage’s hometown of Qufu. The comeback of Confucius is potentially one of the most significant trends in Chinese politics and culture. But was it for real? Could Confucius once again shape Chinese politics and society, as he had during the country’s imperial age? And what would that mean for China’s future?

Schuman, author of the new book “Confucius and the World He Created”, was a Beijing-based journalist who wrote about Asia and the global economy.  He has spent 19 years living and working in Confucian societies in East Asia. He is also the author of the book “The Miracle: The Epic Story of Asia’s Quest for Wealth”.

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