Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Yongnian, Zheng: China’s future knowledge system [Lianhe Zaobao Singapore]

Insightful – stop copying from Western systems: Professor Zheng Yongnian from Singapore’s East Asia Institute shares his thoughts on whether China is capable of developing its own contemporary knowledge system in the future.  ‘Chinese characteristics’ is a term commonly bandied about with political utility; especially so with foreign policy. It looks like now this idea is taking root and becoming ubiquitous in Chinese thinking. Perhaps this is the interesting subtext – Will it lead to more of a case of us and them by demarcating quite clearly where the bipolar boundaries lay; and for the rest of the world to take sides? Or will we find equilibrium as a result?

This piece is originally in Chinese (see below). I find there are two central arguments in his reflection. The first is rooted in how contemporary Asian societies share a similar predicament – they are either pretending to be Western or shaped by the relics of colonisation.  In short, they are guided by a metaphorical textbook from the West, and unwittiling bound by the scaffolding and world-view the textbook suggests. Second, China’s great missing link in its great leap forward is that despite the May 4th movement which felt like a liberation; it ultimately was a huge endorsement for the Western method. He moves on to highlight as China focuses on a utilitarian micro-research phase, it is bypassing the ‘grand discussion stage’ which served the West so well. He reckons China’s knowledge base has not gone through the great progress of minds such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim, Adam Smith. As such this prevents the Chinese from being able to look at the bigger picture, independent of both the merit and baggage of a system not indigenous to the Chinese.

Thanks dad for the heads up!

** Google translate does a pretty good job of translating the article below – grammar and syntax aside. 🙂

– – –

by Zheng Yongnian 郑永年
Source – Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报网, published September 26, 2011



亚洲其他国家在知识体系上也都被西方所“殖民”。近代之后成长起来的学者(尤其是精英学者)都是受西方教育的,他们没有意识来改造西方知识体系,更无意识来确立自己的知识体系。当然,在这些国家,也有一些学者有这个意识,但他们是绝少数。不过,除了日本,即使这些国家的学者拥有这样的意识,也没有能力来这样做。规模很重要,很小的社会很难建立起自己的知识体系。 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Environment, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Influence, International Relations, Lianhe Zaobao, Media, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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July 2020

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