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Chinese History and CultureSeventeenth Century Through Twentieth Century$
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Ying-shih Yü

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231178600

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231178600.001.0001

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Confucianism and China’s Encounter with the West in Historical Perspective

Confucianism and China’s Encounter with the West in Historical Perspective

Chapter:
(p.351) 18. Confucianism and China’s Encounter with the West in Historical Perspective
Source:
Chinese History and Culture
Author(s):

Ying-shih Yü

, Josephine Chiu-Duke, Michael S. Duke
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231178600.003.0018

This study takes issue with Samuel P. Huntington’s identification of the Chinese Communists as “Confucians” and discussion of contemporary China in terms of Confucianism. It gives a brief account of how the Chinese Confucian elite—the best-known reform-minded Confucians—responded, mostly positively, to Western civilization when China encountered the West in recent centuries. The encounter is discussed under the three headings of religion, science, and democracy. “Sinic civilization” is demonstrated to have been remarkably open to foreign influence. The essay concludes that it is not Confucianism but Communism that inhibits China's development of democracy.

Keywords:   Confucianism, Religion, Science, Democracy, Dao, The Way, Jesuits

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