Does Confucius matter outside Asia?

JR can’t promise that this will be the last time he’s coming back to the Confucius Peace Prize (孔子和平奖) – but he’ll try not to dwell on it merely for the fun it has been.

Collateral Damage: the Noble and his Prize

Collateral Damage: the Noble and his Prize

A prize should highlight outstanding achievements. That should be the objective. Before naming a prize after someone, a jury or the founders of a prize need to think of what a name stands for.

We’ll show the rest of the world how the Chinese understand peace, Tan Liuchang, chairman of the “Confucius Peace Prize Committee”, reportedly told the Global Times.

Should a Confucius Prize encourage “ethnic”, rather than universal values?

The Granite Studio, in a post of nine random thoughts, links to sort of an obituary on the bankruptcy of the neo-traditionalism that the CCP has to turn to time and time again as it struggles to find a narrative to legitimate its authorian rule. If you simply want to scold a bunch of brain-washed fools, there’s little to add to that, other than a note of doubt that the party leadership had really much to do with the prize – except that the “civil society” which produced it is – undeniably –  the CCP’s very own brainchild – a politically overengineered society.

But JR isn’t only here to have fun. He is here to make a small contribution to future Confucius Peace Prize deliberations, too – to help to deepen mutual understanding, and friendship between nations.

Laozi might have recommended purity free from all desire and all intentional action. Couldn’t a Confucius Peace Prize – from true civil society, that is – make sense after all?  In 2009, Wang Zhicheng (王志成), a Chinese scholar, wrote a review of how Chinese Confucians – and there are many ways of how you might define yourself Confucian – think of Confucian ways in China today, and in today’s global society. Confucianism and its revival, Wang wrote, require post-modern, critical reflection. Can Confucianism contribute to the further development of global values – and if so, how?

A translation of Prof. Wang’s review starts here. It’s far from perfect, and if you can read Chinese, the original post will serve you much better.

I can’t tell if the ideas are promising. But they do address Confucianism itself.



A Peace Prize for Katya and Maria, Asian Correspondent, Dec 10, 2011


5 Responses to “Does Confucius matter outside Asia?”

  1. That “China” produced the prize may be too generalizing.
    This is what JR made of it:
    “Probably one of the wildest cards China has produced this year is the Confucius Peace Prize, an alternative Chinese (Nobel) peace prize. The government itself has kept a genteel formal distance to the Confucius Peace Prize committee’s workings, but the civil society which, apparently in cooperation with the ministry of culture, produced the Prize is still its immediate public diplomacy product.”

    Confucianism doesn’t count for much outside China, it seems to me. But given that every politicized piece of bullshit finds its way into the “Global Times” and other CCP mouthpieces, I can’t find too much blame with the foreign press. Wang Zhicheng’s essay is apparently too complicated for China Daily & Cie. And the “Confucius Institutes” are a nuisance, if you ask me.



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