In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

260 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 the Cultural Revolution-inspired leftist riots and urban terrorism of 1967 is a well-known reversal ofthis historical "patriotic" tradition. This is a lesson yet to be taken to heart by the PRC cadres in charge of Hong Kong affairs today. This book is both a welcome contribution to the study of Hong Kong as an integral part of modern Chinese history and a significant addition to the growing international scholarship on Hong Kong. While Professor Tsai stops in 1913, at the end ofthe tramway boycott, the continuation of this exciting story of Hong Kong society under the dual impact of British colonialism and Chinese nationalism can be found in Wai Kwan Chan, The Making ofHong Kong Society: Three Studies ofClass Formation in Early HongKong (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), whose coverage extends to the 1922 seamen's strike, and in Ming K. Chan, editor, Precarious Balance: HongKong between China and Britain, 1842-1992 (Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1994), the fourth title ofthe series "Hong Kong Becoming China: The Transition to 1997." Ming K. Chan University of Hong Kong, and Hoover Institution, Stanford University Tu Wei-ming. Way, Learning and Politics: Essays on the Confucian Intellectual. Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 1993. xix, 202 pp. Hardcover $49.50. Paperback $16.95. Not too many decades ago, Confucianism seemed easy to grasp. By its detractors it was presented in crude images: authoritarian rulers governing in the name ofa fictitious mandate ofHeaven, effete scholars immersed in feckless learning, individuals stifled by collective familial or larger social prerogatives. To its admirers, Confucianism posed as a many-splendored museum piece, its outdated historic glories frozen in the hostile present, an elegiac (and elegant) symbol ofthe demise ofan ancient, resplendent civilization. By contrast, in some quarters in recent years, Confucianism has been touted with a flourish as the ideational wellspring ofthe dazzling economic success ofthe erstwhile Confucian societies ofEast Asia. Against this backdrop ofa . crammed tableau ofperspectives, Professor Tu Wei-ming's scholarship has justifiably ofHawai'iPresstaken center stage in redefining the nature ofthe cultural complex ofConfucianism. He approaches it not merely as an antiquarian subject worthy ofhistorical inquiry, but also as a vital tradition capable ofgenerating answers to questions asked in a postindustrial global world. Reviews 261 In this work under review, an anthology ofnine essays previously published elsewhere between 1983 and 1987, Professor Tu, as an intellectual historian curious about the Confucian past and as a philosopher concerned with its contemporary relevance, continues his ongoing endeavor to expound the "Confucian vision " or "Confucian project." This time around, he does so with special reference to the figure ofthe Confucian intellectual. The effort to describe the vision or project of a cultural complex is to make it intelligible as a well-integrated system ofrelationships. This Tu does exceedingly well. In the first four essays, primarily through reading the Analects, Mencius, GreatLearning and Mean, he pinpoints the interrelated Problematiken ofConfucian humanism in the classical period. First and foremost, he notes that in the fundamental notions ofthe Way (dao) and heaven (han) is lodged the Confucian sense oftranscendence. Yet, neither the Way nor heaven is the sacred other. It is that which is authentically human; it inheres in our nature, our own self. Transcendence is therefore necessarily self-transcendence. Yet our pristine ontological repletion can only be realized in constant existential striving, a lifelong, painstaking process fraught with pain and suffering, as Tu reminds us. Ceaseless learning (xue) to do good by self-cultivation begins with the "elementary learning" (xiaoxue), which ritualizes the body and gives it the basic ethico-moral accoutrements, complemented by the "great learning" (daxue) that leads to the apprehension ofspiritual self-awareness of one's connection to the large community and indeed the universe. Acquiring such an understanding then prepares one to assume the ineluctable role of a teacher, one who, having the sensitivity to sympathize and empathize with others, teaches by personal exemplification ofmoral living, as Confucius did. As such living must involve the social and political, one must inexorably be of service to state and society by moralizing politics and governance (zheng). As Tu shows, the...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 260-265
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.