Reconciling Socialism and Confucianism?: Reviving Tradition in China

Communism has lost its capacity to inspire the Chinese. But what will replace it? And what should replace it? Clearly, there is a need for a new moral foundation for political rule in China, and the government has moved closer to an official embrace of Confucianism. The Olympics highlighted Confucian themes, quoting the Analects of Confucius at the opening ceremony, and downplayed any references to China’s experiment with communism. Cadres at the newly built Communist Party School in Shanghai proudly tell visitors that the main building is modeled on a Confucian scholar’s desk. Abroad, the government has been promoting Confucianism via branches of the Confucius Institute, a Chinese language and culture center similar to France’s Alliance Française and Germany’s Goethe Institute.