(Question from East and West) What kind of wisdom will Chinese civilization provide to the world?

  China News Service, Beijing, September 21st, title: What kind of wisdom will Chinese civilization provide to the world?

  ——Interview with Yao Zhongqiu, Professor of School of International Relations, Renmin University of China

  Author Cui Bailu Xu Xueying

  The world today is in a period of major development, major changes and major adjustments.

Under the world trend of peace and development, new risks and new challenges are emerging one after another. The changes of a century and the epidemic of the century are intertwined and turbulent, and the future and destiny of mankind are facing tests.

What's wrong with the world and what we do has become a major question that mankind must answer.

  "The unexpected reversal and rapid spread of the new crown epidemic has accelerated the evolution of the Chinese moments in world history." Yao Zhongqiu, a professor at the School of International Relations at Renmin University of China, said in an exclusive interview with China News Service.

He believes that Chinese Confucianism and traditional values ​​will provide wisdom for solving global problems and promoting human progress.

The summary of the interview record is as follows:

Contemporary Development of Chinese Traditional Values

Reporter from China News Service: As a representative of "New Confucianism", what development do you think Chinese traditional values ​​have in the contemporary era?

Yao Zhongqiu

: In more than 100 years, China has undergone profound and comprehensive changes. Many traditional values ​​have not disappeared, but have been rejuvenated.

This is manifested in many aspects, the more important of which is the promotion of the value of "equality".

  Among human civilizations, the Chinese civilization was the earliest and more fully based on equality as its basic value.

From the perspective of religious roots, the Chinese respect the sky and everyone is equal in the sky; from the political roots, the Qin Dynasty wiped out all intermediary powers, and everyone became a "general household", and the emperor directly ruled every citizen. They are politically equal, and they all have small plots of land for farming.

Political equality and economic equality have become China's most important political traditions.

  In modern times, the goal of the Chinese Communist Party's revolution is to achieve maximum equality: to overthrow imperialism internationally, to achieve equal status between China and other countries; to eliminate all exploiting classes at home, and to achieve equality between people.

This is an upgraded version of Chinese traditional equal value.

  Until today, most countries in the world, including Britain and the United States, lack this kind of political concept. They may have hereditary aristocrats or property aristocrats.

They prefer the value of freedom.

A little observation will reveal that vested interest groups love freedom, and as a result, a very small number of people are richer than the country, and they turn wealth into power and solidify social class.

There is only one solution, which is to return to equal value and prevent the stereotype of economic and political hierarchy.

Data map: A student in an elementary school passed the Confucius sculpture on the campus and bowed.

Photo by Wang Dongming

Reporter from China News Service: With the continuous enrichment and development of the connotation of Marxism in China, how can traditional Confucianism be combined with Marxism?

Yao Zhongqiu

: At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, the European and American powers dragged China into the dominant capitalist world system.

For China, capitalism and imperialism are brand-new. Traditional Confucians cannot think of the high level and penetrating power of modern capitalism and imperialism. Therefore, Confucianism cannot provide a solution.

  Among the various thoughts in the West, only Marxism provides an effective way to deal with capitalism and imperialism.

Marx lived in the heart of world capitalism and had insight into the secrets of its operation; Lenin lived in the weak link of imperialism and clearly saw its Achilles’ heel.

Marxism provides a method for diagnosing the internal pathology of capitalism and imperialism, as well as a prescription to eradicate the disease.

  The most important combination of Confucianism and Marxism lies in solving the two global problems of capitalism and imperialism.

With the essence of Western modern thought, the Chinese have enriched and developed their own ideological system, constructed Chinese Marxism, found the way to realize national liberation and national independence, and realized industrialization.

  Many people think that they are living in liberal globalization. In fact, the fundamental problem of this world is still the disease of capitalism and the evil of imperialism.

This presents a new topic for the ideological and academic circles: how does an industrialized society control capitalism?

How to resist and finally eliminate imperialism in the world?

This is the most important ideological issue of the Chinese moment in the history of the world.

To successfully answer this questionnaire, one must base itself on Chinese practice, comprehensively use Chinese ideological resources and Marxist theoretical resources, and achieve ideological creativity and development through reintegration.

Data map: On September 28, 2020, the Gengzi Year Memorial Ceremony for Confucius was held in Qufu, Shandong’s hometown of Confucius, to commemorate the 2571 anniversary of the birth of Confucius, a thinker, educator, and founder of the Confucian school.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Yong

New crown epidemic highlights "Chinese value"

China News Service: After the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia, compared with the severe epidemic situation in some countries, China has achieved remarkable results in epidemic prevention and control.

What are the differences in values ​​reflected in the different approaches adopted by China and the West in fighting the epidemic?

When dealing with global crises, what new possibilities can China's values ​​offer the world?

Yao Zhongqiu

: In the face of the same new crown pneumonia epidemic, the countermeasures adopted by different countries are very different. This is determined by various factors such as different political systems, economic and technological levels, political values, and social sentiments.

  In terms of epidemic prevention and control, many countries' practices are not effective.

Underdeveloped countries can be explained by economic reasons, but developed countries do not lack money or technology. I am afraid they can only be explained by values.

For example, the British initially openly advocated "herd immunity", which embodies the underlying logic of liberal values, that is, the "state of nature" as Hobbes calls, and everyone fends for themselves.

  Since ancient times, the highest value in the hearts of Chinese people is benevolence, and the highest value of politics is to implement benevolent governance.

"Benevolence" means "the benevolent loves others", and human life is at stake.

"Benevolent governance" in Dayu was "righteousness, utilization, health, and harmony", and in Emperor Wenwen of Han, it was to nurture and govern the people. Since ancient times, the governments of all dynasties in China have regarded it as their primary responsibility and value human life and harmony. Continuously improve people's lives and make them lively.

China’s current resolute measures to combat the epidemic are also based on the same values. This is China’s consistent political approach.

  This kind of value determines. The Chinese believe that the government should have a sense of moral responsibility and be proactive. The fundamental political issue is not the protection of private property rights as Locke said. System design, establish a government that serves all people.

  The results of the global fight against the epidemic have shown that the concept of "benevolence" is the most humanitarian spirit and is universally applicable to mankind.

Of course, benevolence is the most abstract level, and it can be decomposed concretely.

For example, the principle of getting along between people, between nations, and between nations should be what Confucius said: "If you want to stand up and build up others, if you want to reach others," "Do not do to others what you don't want."

Simply put, it is to love and respect each other.

Data map: Exhibition in the Confucius Institute.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Han Haidan

China News Agency reporter: You once proposed that "liberal ideological hegemony has come to an end". How do you understand this?

  Yao Zhongqiu: First of all, liberalism is by no means the value and ideas that have existed in the West since ancient times, but a modern phenomenon.

Liberalist ideology was formed in the first half of the 19th century. At that time, Britain initially completed industrialization and possessed huge comparative economic advantages. So it advocated free trade and free competition among enterprises, and economic liberalism was formed; at the same time, through industrialization, especially imperialism Policy, Britain grabs more benefits from the outside and has the conditions to satisfy more people's interest demands, namely "rights," and political liberalism has thus formed.

It can be seen that there is an internal connection between liberalism and imperialism.

  From the mid-nineteenth century to 1990, the liberal ideology was always only one of the roles in the world's diverse ideological arena, and it also faced fierce competition: at first it was Marxism and the socialist movement it directed; then there was Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought; The vast colonies, semi-colonies, ancient religions and indigenous ideas of various civilizations still dominate the masses of people.

Many people think that the history of modern thought is the history of liberal thought. This is extremely biased and a myth fabricated by Western academic circles.

The ideological history of Western countries only represents a few countries, while the ideology of the vast majority of socialist countries and third world countries is the majority in this world, which needs to be discovered and taken seriously.

  Liberal ideology truly established its hegemony after the end of the Cold War.

Americans considered themselves to be victors of the Cold War, and described the end of the Cold War as a victory for liberalism, which shaped the myth of the omnipotence of liberalism and promoted it in the world.

But myths will all go back, starting from deceiving others, and finally deceiving themselves.

  After the end of the Cold War, many countries that followed the liberal road did not achieve national development.

On the contrary, China, a country that does not accept liberalism at the national ideological level, has developed rapidly and steadily.

In the face of these "abnormalities", the liberal ideology cannot justify itself, and its cultural hegemony cannot be maintained.

Data map: A local student in Fuzhou held a traditional Confucian apprenticeship ceremony.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Lu Ming

How to tell a good Chinese story?

China News Agency reporter: Some Western countries have always had prejudices and misunderstandings about China, and even regarded China's cultural dissemination as political infiltration.

Facing this kind of challenge, how can we better convey the voice of China and tell the Chinese story well?

  Yao Zhongqiu: Some Western countries have a prejudice and resistance to Chinese stories. The reason is that the Chinese values ​​and culture contained in the stories will have an impact on the domestic and international power order of Western countries.

  To tell the Chinese story well, it is necessary to clarify the question of "to whom".

The current media has the characteristics of popularization and imaging. For example, the popular short videos have a strong tendency to become civilians and are loved by ordinary people because they present the lives of ordinary people.

Therefore, China's communication must follow the mass line, tell the stories of ordinary Chinese people, and through them, present the reality of China's development to the world.

  At the ideological and academic level, it is necessary to clarify the inherent political, economic, and cultural logic of China's development.

If you always limit yourself to others' rules, you will never be able to tell your own story.

If you take personal freedom as the main value in the West, you cannot tell the story of China's development well.

  In response to this situation, some domestic scholars currently advocate historical politics, advocate returning to history and facing the facts, and reconstruct political theory. That is, based on the reality of China and the vast third world, the Chinese ideological and academic circles need to fundamentally build a new one. Social science concepts and propositions.

China News Agency reporter: In recent years, with the continuous improvement of comprehensive national strength, China has begun to take a leading position in industrialization and technology.

Compared with hard power, does China still face some soft power dilemmas?

Yao Zhongqiu

: The ancients said, "Canglin knows etiquette in real life." This principle applies not only to individuals, but also to countries.

Only when a country becomes prosperous and strong and has hard power can it have the conditions to have soft power.

  In the first half of the 19th century, Britain took the lead in realizing industrialization, possessing military, technological, and industrial advantages, and constantly defeating other countries in wars, and the world looked at it with admiration.

China was defeated by Britain at the end of the Qing Dynasty, and could only "learn from foreigners' skills to control foreigners" and learn its language, technology, law and even political system. This is Britain's soft power relative to China.

  In the 19th century, the French and Germans did not look at American thought, scholarship, literature, and art.

However, after the two world wars, the United States became the most powerful industrial country and a victorious country, and other countries began to actively or passively accept American language, ideas, values, systems, art, and education.

  Therefore, China must first stand up, become rich, and become strong before it can form soft power.

For a modern country, especially a medium-sized country, industrialization is the top priority.

The greatest achievement of the Communist Party of China is to lead China to industrialization, and China's economic development and people's living standards have greatly improved, and it has the hard power of "successful warehouses" and "hard ships and guns."

It can be said that hard power matters cannot be slow, and soft power matters cannot be anxious.

  The new Chinese-style world order plan is "Harmony of All Nations" to achieve common prosperity.

Since the mid-nineteenth century, Britain and the United States have constructed and maintained the capitalist world system, opened the way with military forces, and used trade and finance to amass world wealth.

However, China did not do this in its strongest and prosperous period. Instead, it relied on its excellent production capacity and excellent culture to build and maintain the “order under heaven”. All countries "share the blessing of peace."

  Today, China's proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind is an upgraded version of this world order: centering on production, assisting countries in forming development capabilities and achieving common development.

I believe that such a new plan for the world order will have an increasing moral appeal.


About the interviewee:

  Yao Zhongqiu is a professor of the School of International Relations at Renmin University of China and the director of the Research Center of Historical Politics. He mainly studies economics, historical politics, and the theory of modern world political systems.

He has published more than ten translations of Western law and politics, and a variety of research works on Chinese economics and history.

The latest publications are "Chinese Moments in World History" and "Can Be Long: History of Chinese Political Civilization".