Confucian principles help drug rehabilitation in China’s Shandong province

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cbw1.pngTemple of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong, China – Retrieved from

In Confucius’ very own native province, Shandong, in eastern China, centres for the treatment of drug addicts are taking inspiration from Confucian teachings to re-educate patients.

The Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported that on the 15th of March a new Confucius Institute was opened in Jinan city.  The inauguration ceremony was held at the Jidong Compulsory Detoxification Center where over 300 patients participated by reciting passages from ‘The Analects’ and other Confucian texts.

In the vision of the China Confucius Foundation and the Jidong rehabilitation centre, the values of filial piety, respect and family ties entrenched in Confucian teachings can help “reshape their spiritual world” said Wang Daqian, Secretary-General of China Confucius Foundation.[1]

Sui Shanjian, head of the rehabilitation center, said that it’s easy for the drug addicts to “get rid of drugs physically” but “hard for them to quit psychologically. It’s common to see many addicts get back to taking drugs again after leaving rehab”.

Responsibility and self-judgement, taught by Confucius, effectively “build up an impulse mechanism” that helps the addicts avoid drugs proactively, added Sui.[2]

“As a Chinese saying goes, ‘it is easy to catch the thieves in the mountains, but it is hard to catch the thieves in the heart.’ I hope that the addicts in the rehab centers can learn traditional culture attentively, so that they cultivate proper values and be a good person to their families and our society in the future,” said Wang.

Respect for one’s own self is a teaching present in many Confucian texts. As the famous Confucian scholar, Mencius, said: “To preserve one’s mind and to nourish one’s spirit is the way to serve nature (heaven).” – Mencius, 7A.1

To see more about Confucius and his teachings for a healthy lifestyle read our previous article: Confucius, Mencius and Zisi can still teach us about a healthy lifestyle



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