10 January 2014

China's Neo-Confucianism

China's Neo-Confucianism, by Rachel Lu (Foreign Policy, 7 January 2014)

Excerpt:
On Jan. 1, scores of children assembled to read aloud, in near perfect synchronicity, a 17th-century Confucian text called Dizigui, which translates to "standards for being a good student and child." The performance, according to local newspaper Beijing Times, was laden with symbolism: It took place at the historic Imperial Academy in central Beijing, which has been a center of Confucian learning for hundreds of years, and the children wore hanfu, a style of traditional clothing said to be similar to those donned more than 2,500 years ago in the days of Confucius. It's part of a changing reception for Confucian classics, which Chinese schools and education authorities had largely abandoned since the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 in favor of more modern curricula like math, science, and colloquial Chinese. But these days, Dizigui's short and simple brand of Confucianism -- a way of thinking that has always included a heavy dose of respect for family and social hierarchy -- has even the ruling Communist Party on its side.
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