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Contemporary Chinese Political Thought

Debates and Perspectives

edited by Fred Dallmayr and Zhao Tingyang

Publication Year: 2012

Westerners seem united in the belief that China has emerged as a major economic power and that this success will most likely continue indefinitely. But they are less certain about the future of China's political system. China's steps toward free market capitalism have led many outsiders to expect increased democratization and a more Western political system. The Chinese, however, have developed their own version of capitalism. Westerners view Chinese politics through the lens of their own ideologies, preventing them from understanding Chinese goals and policies.

In Contemporary Chinese Political Thought: Debates and Perspectives, Fred Dallmayr and Zhao Tingyang bring together leading Chinese intellectuals to debate the main political ideas shaping the rapidly changing nation. Investigating such topics as the popular "China Model", the resurgence of Chinese Confucianism and its applications to the modern world, and liberal socialism, the contributors move beyond usual analytical frameworks toward what Dallmayr and Zhao call "a dismantling of ideological straitjackets." Comprising a broad range of opinions and perspectives, Contemporary Chinese Political Thought is the most up-to-date examination in English of modern Chinese political attitudes and discourse.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: Asia in the New Millennium

Front cover

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p. c-c

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-14

During the past two decades or so, China has been emerging into the limelight of global economics, global science, and global politics. Having been consumed for nearly a century by the strains of internal and external troubles, the Asian giant is at long last assuming its rightful place in the global community of peoples. Yet, behind staggering growth rates and levels of productivity, something else at least equally impressive is happening:...

Part 1

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pp. 15-16

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1. Ideological Conflicts in Modern China

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pp. 17-25

China has undergone greater changes in the past hundred years than in the whole preceding historical period, and the greatest changes have been concentrated in the past thirty-odd years. Prior to 1800 China was a populous country that enjoyed political stability and economic self-sufficiency and was admired by many European scholars. China was also a country that proudly regarded her civilization as the highest in world history...

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2. The Debates in Contemporary Chinese Political Thought

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pp. 26-45

Since the 1990s there has been a spate of interest in understanding why political philosophy is so fashionable in Mainland China. Since the viewpoints of the most influential political philosophers are very different and contradictory, more and more Chinese intellectuals have engaged in heated debate about whose theory is the most relevant to the current reality of China and its future. Because some realize that political philosophy...

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3. All-Under-Heaven and Methodological Relationism

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pp. 46-66

About twenty-five hundred years ago, a Chinese duke, lord of a substate in the all-under-heaven system, asked Confucius about “the most important thing” in the world. Confucius answered: “It must be politics.” 1 The Chinese word for politics means “justified order,” indicating the civilized order that determines the common fortune of all peoples. It defines a political concept not opposite but alternative to politics as...

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4. Debating the "Chinese Theory of International Relations"

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pp. 67-88

China’s international relations (IR) discipline is largely a creation of the past thirty years. Despite its short history, there have been some exciting developments—major achievements recognized by scholars as signifying progress, as well as sustained controversies and debates—over the past three decades. This chapter aims to review the recent history of Chinese IR and to assess one of its most important developments: the project of...

Part 2

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pp. 89-90

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5. Contemporary New Confucianism

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pp. 91-109

During the Song (960–1279) and the Ming (1368–1644) dynasties, China developed one of the most advanced civilizations in the world. In the seventeenth century, Jesuits who visited China, such as Matteo Ricci, who died in Beijing in 1610, maintained good relationships as well as fruitful scholarly exchanges with Chinese intellectuals. They tried to find common ground between Chinese and Christian traditions. During the Qing...

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6. Modernity and Confucian Political Philosophy in a Globalized World

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pp. 110-130

The pressure of modernity and globalization on Chinese society in the last century has been unprecedented in all dimensions. The preservation and contemporary legitimacy of Confucianism depend on whether it can provide effective responses to the problems that have been generated by modernization and globalization. These responses should not be confined to pure academic study but should also aim at realizing its ideals in practice....

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7. Four Models of the Relationship between Confucianism and Democracy

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pp. 131-151

Confucianism is not a conceptual monolith but rather has a variety of traditions, versions, and forms including imperial, reform, elite, merchant-house, and popular Confucianism. Just as Confucianism is multidimensional, democracy is also multifaceted, including liberal, developmental, social, deliberative, and republican conceptions. The relationships between democracy and Confucianism therefore must be...

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8. Confucianism and Democracy

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pp. 152-170

The dominant view today still holds that Confucianism and democracy are like water and fire, totally incompatible and antagonistic to each other. According to this view, Confucianism is authoritarian, repressive, and typically associated with totalitarian policies, uniformity of ideology, social hierarchy, and discrimination against women. Democracy is the very opposite: It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It tolerates...

Part 3

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pp. 171-172

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9. The Dialectic of the Chinese Revolution Revisited

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pp. 173-184

Thirty years after China set off on the path of reform that has changed it beyond recognition in so many ways, what I have called the dialectic of the Chinese revolution has yet to run its full course.1 The contradictions that make up this dialectic—between the idealism of a lingering socialism, however threadbare and calculated, and the sheer materialism of a brave new quasi-capitalist world—retain all their potency, and in this sense...

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10. China's Future

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pp. 185-208

How, in the final analysis, is one to comprehend today’s China? This is a puzzling intellectual and moral question. On the one hand, when one looks at the coal mine incidents, the corruption, the increases in laid-off workers, and other such phenomena, one could say that social contradictions have become vary salient. If, on the other hand, one makes comparisons with other countries in the world, China’s reforms have gained quite...

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11. Taking the China Model Seriously

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pp. 209-241

In the late twentieth century, few people in the West believed that China could experience an economic miracle. In the early twenty-first century, even fewer in the West believe that China can sustain its economic growth. Western logic is simple: no growth can take place without carrying out Western-style market reform, and no country can sustain its growth without developing a Western-style democracy. In fact, a growing...

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12. Why Is State Effectiveness Essential for Democracy?

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pp. 242-267

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the “third wave” of democratization began, many were very optimistic about the future of the unfolding “worldwide democratic revolution.” Now, a decade later, the optimism has somehow faded away. Among nearly one hundred countries that appeared to be moving away from authoritarian rule in the early 1990s, over a dozen have suffered “democratic breakdown” or “democratic reversals,”...

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13. The Legitimacy of Proletarian Political Practice

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pp. 268-284

Recently, political philosophy has been proclaimed “first philosophy,” which is an opportunity and a challenge for Marxist philosophy. I believe the study of Marxist philosophy is not a closed one but is open to the following. First, it is open to other political philosophies, exploring a critical and sustainable relation to classical political philosophy and modern political philosophy and improving the conversation between Marxist...


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pp. 285-288


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pp. 289-296

Series Page

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pp. 297-298

E-ISBN-13: 9780813136431
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813136424

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Asia in the New Millennium