By Kent Ewing
A return to ancient wisdom, leaders hope, will create a more moral society with a heightened sense of the importance of relationships - especially the hierarchical relationships of Confucianism that command obedience.
The restoration of an "Imperial Confucianism"--the exploitation of Confucianism to help the state maintain power and social control, without reference to the common good--continues.
Although media expert Yu Dan has been attacked by scholars for oversimplifying and thus degrading the words of the sage, the 42-year-old professor, dubbed an "academic supergirl", has become something like a pop star with lay people. Yu's style is to pick out simple, understandable truths from the Analects and relate them to the day-to-day experiences of ordinary people. A 200-page compilation of her CCTV lectures has sold more than 4 million copies, which tops any of J K Rowling's Harry Potter books, and she is now selling her act, and her book, in Taiwan.
Confucius reduced to fortune cookie sayings, by a Chinese academic?
CRI article on Yu Dan; China Post; Women of China
The Useless Tree: Yu Dan's Errors; More on Yu Dan
Such statements put the new emphasis on philosophy and religion in clearer perspective. With Marxism now a dead ideology in China, leaders are searching for ways to fill the void and unify the country. In the past, they have tapped into nationalism, but that can be a dangerous force, as witnessed by the sometimes violent anti-Japanese protests that swept over the country two years ago.
The hole left by the revolutions of the 20th century--I hope that it will be filled by Christianity. Principles without habituation and customs to ground them will not take, and while there is unrest in the countryside, social disintegration will continue in the cities.