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President Xi Jinping Works to Revive Confucianism in China

by William Jones
September 25, 2014

September 25, 2014 (EIRNS)--The speech by President Xi Jinping at the Confucius anniversary this week did not mark not the first time he has made an effort to encourage a study of this great Chinese thinker. According to an article in Global Times by Zhang Yiqian, Xi, on several occasions, has emphasized the importance of the Confucian tradition for China's development. In November last year, Xi visited the Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong Province, and said he highly approved of two books, The Interpretation of The Analects and The Collected Sayings and Dialogues of Confucius. On May 4 this year, Xi visited Peking University and talked with Tang Yijie, the late philosophy scholar who has garnered high praise for his efforts to preserve Chinese culture. (Tang, 87, passed away on September 9.) Xi also gave a speech at Beijing Normal University on September 9, when he expressed concerns about decisions to remove classic Chinese poems and essays from textbooks. "De-sinicization is not something to celebrate. Classics should be embedded into students' minds, and become the 'genes' of Chinese culture," Xi was quoted as saying.        

Ren Zhong, a Confucian scholar, wrote in a commentary for that Xi has a reason to lean toward Confucianism, as it could be considered as a "third path" between rightists and leftists, and it is time for disparate groups to search for a consensus. Confucianism came into some discredit after the 1949 Revolution, Zhang writes, and it was banned during the Cultural Revolution. But the period of "reform and opening up" has seen something of a renaissance. "Confucians can be considered as mild reformists that do not want China to fall into a subversive revolution," Ren Zhong said. "Therefore, the indication that Xi and the Communist Party of China want to return to traditional Chinese culture is not simply out of his personal liking, but for the development of the country."