- Year of publication: 2020
- Source: Show
- Pages: 9-12
- DOI Address: -
The items available for ars contextualis can be characterized in terms of the focal point from and to which the lines of divergence and convergence attributable to them move and find resolution, and the field from which and to which those same lines proceed and have influence. To take Confucius himself as a concrete example, we would have to allow that he is corporate in the sense that the lines of divergence and convergence that constitute his focus and meaning move throughout the entire field of the Chinese cultural tradition. Confucius is both focus and China as a focused field.
Western individualism versus Confucian apotheosis of community and group identity
The study presents one of the fundamental differences between Western and Confucian civilisations: individualistic western interpretation of self versus Confucian group-self (we-self) and group identity. The study starts with Hong Kong scholars’ opinions: which western concepts are entirely alien to Chinese tradition. According to them, an individual is not treated there as the highest value nor has attributed ‘innate dignity’, as in the West. Equality is rejected, because all social relations are based there on a hierarchical order. The concepts and ideals of individual autonomy, of self-direction, freedoms and rights had also been unknown there, like many other western concepts, since they have Christian and Greek-Roman roots. The author subscribes to F.W. Mote’s conclusion that there is a ‘cosmological gulf’ between Chinese and western civilisations. The author considers right Qian Mu’s opinion that the creation of social, human nature of each individual is a fundamental concept of Chinese civilisation, hence the state is treated as a kind of one gigantic school, in which all citizens are considered ‘pupils’, and all ‘chiefs’, from father to emperor, as respected ‘tutors’. The principle of maintaining harmony and unity excludes various partial visions and different personal political options since consensus is required and individual criticism, in particular towards all ‘authorities’ is condemned. The study presents various explanations and concepts of ‘Confucian self’ (Chinese, Japanese and Korean), among them ‘group self’, ‘contextual self’, ‘enlarged’ and primitive ‘small self’, ‘multiple self’, self as a ‘centre of relationships’, ‘dependent personality’, ‘sacredness of group life’, the idea of group unity ‘being one in soul and body’, etc. The author presents in detail Roger T. Ames’ concept of Confucian self as ‘focus-in-the-field’ indicating that it explains well the different social position of individuals, which could vary from ‘small’ and insignificant to ‘gigantic’. The study outlines as well the religious Chinese context of such concepts. Owing to such an emphasis on group and not personal self, it is difficult to understand properly and adapt the fundamental western political concepts such as human rights and liberal democracy since they serve autonomous individuals lacking in East Asia. The study outlines the education process and the essential concepts of how children have to be educated in the Confucian tradition. These realities change, of course, but slowly and merely partially, since the traditional concepts still serve well social needs and efficient modernization. In the end, the author indicates a broader cultural context in which such concepts of self could operate. For instance, Confucian tradition glorifies harmony, accord and maintaining consensus, whereas it condemns struggle, quarrels and open criticism of others, in particular of authorities. Western individual protests and criticism challenge this approach. When the Christian concepts of brotherhood, love of one’s neighbour and equality were lacking, and all other communities in the same country are treated as ‘alien’ and ‘potentially harmful’, it was difficult to form national identity and solidarity. Moreover, under such circumstances, wide interests and engagement in politics of the state could not appear. Hence ‘culturalism’, based on group cultural identity, instead of nationalism evolved. The western individualistic spirit of adventure, traveling, seeking something new was also lacking, on the contrary, the Confucian ideal was to live together with one’s family in a native village/community. This cultural and social context is an obstacle to this day to the adaptation of western institutions and values related to individual.
Towards normalization? Relations between the Roman Catholic Church and China People’s Republic after 1949
The article is concerned with the relations between the Catholic Church and the government of the People’s Republic of China. It starts with a short summary of the history of Christianity in China. Then it focuses on the analysis of changes of policies toward China on the part of the Holy See and their reception from Chinese authorities. It points out that the Vatican government consequently is making efforts in order to normalize the situation of Catholics in China and that it is ready to for a deep compromise with the Chinese government if necessary. In that context, the agreement between the Holy See and the Chinese government, which was prolonged on the 22nd of October 2020, is more understandable.
Reforms of early childhood education in the PRC in 1978–2018
The article discusses the problems of early childhood education in China. The first part describes the history of kindergartens in China, as well as the current situation. The second part deals with the problems of early childhood education. These problems mainly concern the entire system and staff.
Official reception of Sun Yat-sen in the years 1981–2016
The paper examines the official reception of Dr Sun Yat-sen to whose programme the communist authorities turned in search of ideological foundations for the new policy of ‘reforms and opening’ promulgated after the end of the so-called cultural revolution. The analysis, based on speeches of leaders at gatherings commemorating anniversaries of Sun’s birth and outbreak of 1911 Revolution, finds that the ideas of Sun – addressed as great national hero, great patriot, great fore-runner of revolution – helped to mobilise people to carry out current national tasks with the great renaissance of the Chinese nation as the most important. The speeches exhort to follow Sun’s indomitable will of a great revolutionary in order to work hard towards this noble goal, which he envisaged as ‘rejuvenation of China’ as early as 1894. Sun Yat-sen’s ability and readiness to correct and refine his ideas which led him to accept of Marxism (with no further elaboration as to the extent of this acceptance) and to co-operate with the Chinese Communist Party was emphasised the most by the speakers. CPC is portrayed as the truest and steady heir of Sun Yat-sen’s programme, the heir who finalized his struggle for establishing China as a genuinely independent state granting social justice to its nation. Strongly emphasized is the topic of unification of China – meaning the unification with Taiwan – prominently quoted as one of Sun’s ultimate goals. Speakers refer to Sun Yat-sen’s appeal on ‘China’s obligation to make a contribution to the mankind’ once China’s proper position in the world has been restored. The leaders’ approach to Sun’s programme is selective and somehow simplified, limited to the political challenges of the day. Fortunately, an upsurge of research on Sun Yat-sen’s works by the academic circles in China since the 80s has brought more in-depth findings.
Chinese policy of reform and opening-up PRC leaders’ approach to Sun Yat-sen’ legacy Three Principles of the People national ideas of Sun Yat-sen Xinhai Revolution Rewolucja Xinhai idee narodowe Sun Yat-sena Trzy Zasady Ludu stosunek przywódców ChRL do spuścizny Sun Yat-sena chińska polityka reform i otwarcia
Democratic and Authoritarian Potential – Japanese Neighborhood Associations from the Perspective of Historical Institutionalism
Japan’s neighborhood associations (NHA) have been the subject of polemics for years. These disputes concern both their autonomy in relation to public administration and voluntary membership, and thus their civic nature, as well as the period and genesis of the formation. This article analyzes the debate on the subject, tracing the transformation and metamorphosis of neighborhood associations from the perspective of historical institutionalism. The article consists of four parts, the first one briefly discusses the concepts of historical institutionalism as well as the main assumptions and definitions adopted in this article, the second presents the profile of contemporary neighborhood associations in terms of structure, financing, and activities; the third sketches a historical development, and the fourth examines the factors for the rebirth of associations after the end of the war in Asia and the Pacific in 1945. The main argument of the article is twofold. First, the constitutive principles of neighborhood associations changed under the influence of the dominant political regime, and in the post-war transformation process the change has been occurring gradually and incrementally, primarily under the influence of generational change and other systemic and environmental factors; secondly, neighborhood associations developed after the war as a result of path dependence and the effect of self-reinforcement, i.e. the positive experiences of residents with the functioning of these organizations in previous periods as a tool to solve community problems and meet specific needs.
The Philippines in the competition between the USA and China
The Philippines started to be known in Europe when Ferdinand Magellan set foot on Samar island in March 1521. In the end of the 19th century in the Philippines emerged a powerful movement of local nationalists known as Katipunan. In 1896, an insurrection started against the Spanish colonial rule. Meanwhile, the Philippines were drawn into the conflict between Spain and the USA. Spanish troops were crushed by allied American and Filipino forces. The Treaty of Paris in 1898 ended the war, the Philippines became an American colony. In July 1946 the USA recognized the independence of the Philippines. The new state was completely dependent on former colonial power and the USA had military bases at Clark and Subic Bay. With the fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, the policy of the Philippines became more independent and in 1992 the American bases were closed down. Unfortunately for the Philippines, in another important country in the region started gathering strenght – a New China. The contacts started ages ago and many Filipinos were closely related to Chinese people, but at that time New China became very powerful economically, politically and militarily. The two countries came interests collided on the South China Sea. The Philippines started to search again for support from their former colonial patron and world superpower - the USA. Finally when the political and military cooperation with the USA again increased, in the Philippines arrived the constitutional time – limit for presidential election. Nobody foresaw the result and consequences of that election in May 2016.
The book ‘The winning side’, by Huy Duc, is revealing in two ways. First, it presents an account of how the historically crucial episode of the 1968 Tet offensive was, as an event seen as caused by decisions in Hanoi (clearly, these are proximate causes, as the historical context is far greater in scope), ‘decided upon’. Second, in that Huy Duc’s account tells us much about his views of how these decisions were taken, and their political milieu, it tells us how he presents his own views and thinking about that milieu.
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