Xi Touts Communist Party as Defender of Confucius’s Virtues

FEBRUARY 13, 2014, 12:44 AM  10 Comments

Xi Touts Communist Party as Defender of Confucius’s Virtues

By CHRIS BUCKLEY

Xi Jinping wants you to memorize “The Analects” of Confucius. China’s Communist Party chief says that the homegrown thoughts of the ancient sage offer an antidote not just for his own country’s ills, but also for Western societies whose faith in capitalism has been battered by the economic slump.

Since taking leadership of the party 15 months ago, Mr. Xi has promoted a mélange of political convictions: old-school Marxism, a sentimental repackaging of Mao Zedong, patriotic appeals to a “China Dream” and a striking reverence for ancient tradition, seen as a bedrock of benign social order and loyalty to the state.

Mr. Xi’s views of Confucius, who was born more than 2,500 years ago, suggest how deeply that nostalgia reaches. In a speechpublished on the website of a pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper, Ta Kung Pao, on Wednesday, Mr. Xi described the Communist Party as a defender of ancient virtues, epitomized by Confucius and his collected teachings, “The Analects.” Mr. Xi said the government’s successful expansion of Confucius Institutes, for teaching Chinese on campuses abroad, showed that Westerners also hunger for deeper lessons from his country’s economic growth.

“Some countries that have ideological prejudices against us have also opened up to Confucius Institutes,” Mr. Xi said in the speech to scholars in November, when he visited Confucius’s hometown, Qufu, in eastern China, according to Ta Kung Pao. The paper, which noted that Mr. Xi had also visited Qufu in 1992, published what it said was a complete transcript of his remarks. He said:

The reason is that, politically, their theory that capitalism is the ultimate has been shaken, and socialist development has experienced a miracle. Western capitalism has suffered reversals, a financial crisis, a credit crisis, a crisis of confidence, and their self-conviction has wavered. Western countries have begun to reflect, and openly or secretively compare themselves against China’s politics, economy and path.

Mr. Xi said the party leadership was preparing a policy document “to promote traditional values, implant new social mores and a cohesive national spirit, and enhance cultural soft power.”

His comments on Confucius Institutes appeared contrary to the Chinese government’s usual description of them as exercises in building friendship free of any political agenda.

Many historians are sure to disagree with Mr. Xi’s description of the party as a benign protector of traditional culture and values. After all, Mr. Xi himself came of age during the Cultural Revolution, which Mao started in 1966 as a ferocious mass assault on pre-revolutionary influences, including a campaign specifically against Confucius. Indeed, in his speech Mr. Xi acknowledged that havoc, in words that sat oddly with his casting of Mao and the party as loyal inheritors of the past:

The destruction in the Cultural Revolution was particularly severe. Everything was condemned, the good things from our ancestors were also tossed out.

But Chinese tradition, Mr. Xi said, had also been assaulted by capitalist influences:

Since reform and opening up, the decadent things of the bourgeoisie and capitalism have entered, along with commodities.

Mr. Xi’s speech has not been published by the official news media on the Chinese mainland, although it has been reproduced on websites there. Last April, Ta Kung Pao got into trouble when it published – and then retracted – a report that Mr. Xi had taken a taxi, escaping his usual security bubble. The speech on Confucius has not been retracted, and it suggests that Mr. Xi will continue to promote traditionalism as a bulwark against foreign influences anathema to party control. He said:

I told the prime minister of Greece that your democracy is the democracy of Greece and ancient Rome, and that’s your tradition. We have our own traditions.

 

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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