Daily Archives: December 5, 2017

Van Norden on the Confucian Roots of Xi Jinping’s Thought

A couple weeks ago, Bryan Van Norden published “The Confucian roots of Xi Jinping’s policies” in The Straits Times (Singapore); a Chinese translation was also subsequently published. The essay begins:

Commentators have been quick to observe that the recent Chinese Communist Party Congress guaranteed President Xi Jinping’s firm grip on power for years to come. However, few have noted the Confucian roots of Mr Xi’s world view.

Mr Xi himself has been very candid about his admiration for traditional Chinese thought and his view that Chinese socialism is consistent with it. As I point out in my recent book, Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto, Mr Xi’s appropriations of traditional Chinese thought are sometimes opportunistic. But the same can be said of the way many US politicians appeal to the Bible. In addition, there are at least four points on which Mr Xi is genuinely Confucian in spirit.