A Confucian Pilgimage for Communist Party Cadres

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The great philosopher Confucius spoke over 2500 years ago about the importance of a just government. In the Analects Confucius refers to the Mandate of Heaven (Tianming), a philosophical idea that emerged during the early Zhou dynasty to describe the origin of the fairness and divine ability with which the emperor was to govern. According to this, Heaven bestowed its mandate to a just and fair ruler, the Son of Heaven (Tianzi). The mandate was to remain with a virtuousemperorbut would be withdrawn by Heaven and given to another if the prevailing emperor proved unworthy.

In this light, the Confucian teachings suggest that a troubled society requires a transformation and return to the virtues, a transformation that has to be led first by the rulers and top ranks of society in accordance with the Mandate of Heaven. [1]

This lesson is not lost on contemporary China. Earlier this month, according to Xinhua News Agency, officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) visited a monument dedicated to one of the most famous Confucian scholars, Mencius, in Zoucheng City in eastern China. This was part of a program of field trips to sites related to Confucius and Mencius started in 2014 by the Communist Party School of Jining.

“Confucian teachings spanning personal growth and management to economics and team leadership are invaluable tools for officials. Jining is using its history to establish itself as a center for the education of cadres,” said Ma Pingchang, secretary of the CCP-Jining committee. [2]

The CCP’s embrace of Confucianism after vilifying the philosophy as backward during the 1960s is not new. Chinese President Xi Jinping has referred to Confucian passages from the Analects in numerous speeches and addresses, as did the previous Chinese President Hu Jintao who advocate a harmonious society within China and a harmonious world internationally.

Confucius statue.jpg
Confucius statue at Beijing temple. Picture retrieved here. 

 G. Klosko (2011), The Oxford handbook of the History of Political Philosophy, Oxford University Press.

[2] http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-01/05/c_134980261.htm

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