My review of Confucian Sentimental Representation: A New Approach to Confucian Democracy by Kyung Rok Kwon (Routledge, 2022) has been published in The Review of Metaphysics 76:1; see here. The first paragraph of the review follows below.
Two facts have driven much of the recent theorizing about Confucian democracy. First, even in robust democracies like South Korea and Taiwan, East Asian citizens hold distinctive views about the relation between leaders and led. Two-thirds of South Korean respondents and a third of those from Taiwan agreed with the statement “If we have political leaders who are morally upright, we can let them decide everything.” Second, it is uncontroversial to say that traditional Confucianism advocated for rule by the virtuous. Most observers believe these two facts are linked but disagree about their normative upshot. Some regret the lingering authoritarianism polluting East Asian democracies, while others—primarily based in less democratic countries—call for an embrace of “meritocracy” instead of democracy. A third group, to which Kwon Kyung Rok and I both belong, believe that properly understood “rule by virtue” can be better realized in a democracy. This means that modern Confucians should be democrats, and it suggests a distinctive way of conceptualizing democracy that both may be more apt for East Asia and may even offer lessons applicable worldwide. For Kwon, the key to all this is rethinking how we understand political representation.