V) China’s cultural renaissance must include harmony renaissance
Throughout China’s long history as an ancient culture, unlike the Middle East, it did not produce a religion of world importance, and unlike the West, it did not produce a comprehensive homegrown democracy system to resolve conflicts between the ruler and the ruled. China obviously, however, had notions of religion and democracy when Confucius admonished his followers to respect God but keep a distance, and Mencius advocated good government and put citizens above the rulers. Instead, through considerable debate and evolution, China settled on the Confucius philosophies of ZHONG YONG, HE XIE (moderation, harmony) and hierarchy social structures. Family and social order were promoted by emphasizing SAN GANG WU CHANG, REN, YI , LI , ZHI, XIN (the three important relations in the order of: ruler and the ruled, father and children, husband and wife and five basic societal moral values) and LUN LI DAO DE (family and moral values) 5
This system of profuse teaching was drilled into students from Day One and all through a scholar’s life. Youngsters’ first standard reading text was SAN ZI JING (a simple rhyme of Confucius teaching). This simple moral text is to be recited by students word for word (my children still cut their teeth on Chinese characters, and Chinese words with this text during the 1990’s in Taiwan). The moderation and harmony philosophy reinforced by morals and values as a social system was very different from the Western democracy concepts of citizen rights and duties enforced by law and order.Ancient China did practice laws, but only sparsely when compared to the comprehensive European laws and the complex and voluminous US case study system. The strength of US modern culture lies in the implementation of government and law practices (the so-called “rule of law”), and not merely in its democratic ideology.The ideal of democracy, as harmony between government, society, and citizens, is universally accepted by today’s world. It will take time for the developing countries to grow their own appropriate democratic systems in their own soil. Harmony, as seen from ancient Chinese philosophy, included the practices of acceptance, tolerance, mutual respect, equality, and patience, but not the use of heavy penal correction. Harmony thus is the essence of Chinese ancient culture. Thus, the Chinese Cultural Renaissance must include Harmony Renaissance.