Leon Z. 2023 | BASIS Independent McLean
- Project Title: New Confucianism in China and Its Influence on China's Political Economy
- Basis Independent Advisor: Erin Vander Wall
- Internship Location: BASIS Independent McLean
The discussion of Confucianism in China has become increasingly important lately, as scholars and media have gradually identified an intensifying element of Confucianism in both government doctrine and social norms. The general consensus acknowledges the existence of a revival of Confucianism in modern China, specifically after the cultural revolution 1960s, which had despised Confucianism. However, the specific reason for this revival and the process of such revival had been rarely interpreted by the academic community. This research seeks to explore China's Confucianism revival through a political economy lens, applying classical political economy theory to analyze the then-China's social dynamic. Further, the research speculates the Confucian revival was a result of intentional promulgation instead of a bottom-to-top cultural revival. Using primary sources from both the central government of China and the then-academic community, the research identifies the emergence of a new ideology in China that is based on cherry-picked principles of Confucianism, which was used to promote political stability in China. Finally, the research seeks to explain China’s post-1980s economic growth during the “open and reform” era through the perspectives of the Confucian revival, ultimately arguing that the Confucian revival served as an important part of China’s social development and was effective in helping the country succeed in its economic liberalization.