So I didn’t come up with this clever title myself. Rather Harmony & War is the title of a terrific new book by Yuan-Kang Wang, an assistant professor at Western Michigan University.is one of a rare breed of books on China that is both substantively rich and eminently readable. As an added bonus for the author, it is very timely.
The essence of the book is an exploration of the role of Confucian precepts of pacifism in Chinese history. A bit esoteric? In theory maybe. However, Wang’s book may well prove to be the reality check needed by both Chinese leaders and the rest of the world.
China is the in the midst of creating an historical narrative to buttress its claims of its peaceful rise. The heart of this narrative is China’s deep Confucian roots, which, in theory, have underpinned China’s tradition as a non-aggressive power, disinterested in war of territorial acquisition. Through a fascinating and detailed accounting of Chinese history during the Song and Ming dynasties, Wang demonstrates the fallacy of such a linear narrative. Certainly there were debates about whether Chinese leaders should go to war. However, as Wang amply evidences throughout his book, “Defense or accommodation was usually the result of insufficient military capabilities. Contrary to the proponents of Confucian pacifism, Imperial China was not reluctant to use force, and it did not see force as a last resort.”
As China’s leaders continue to draw on their Confucian past to try to allay the fears of the rest of the world, there will no doubt be a spate of books to counter or amplify Wang’s argument. (In fact, Tsinghua University professor Yan Xuetong is due out with just such a book later this spring.) Wang’s work should reinforce to Beijing—as well to the rest of the world—that Chinese exceptionalism as a pacifist power will have to result from the country’s actions today, not some fanciful recounting of history.
Here is the original post:
Will Myanmar’s coup help China influence ASEAN?
The Myanmar crisis is becoming increasingly tragic, with the military’s use of lethal force now killing over 60 protestors.
Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment
Being “first in and first out” of COVID-19, China is the only country among the G20 that is thought by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to have increased GDP in 2020.
In January 2020 as the world began to learn of COVID-19, many market observers predicted a challenging year for Asia. While there continue to be headwinds from the health and economic crisis, Asia, and China in particular, has demonstrated comparatively advantageous resilience.
Mainland China is in no position to take Taiwan by force
Unlike his predecessors, Chinese President Xi Jinping has demonstrated greater intensity in the desire for reunification.
The situation across the Taiwan Strait has seemed to be on the brink of crisis since 2018. Beijing has sent numerous sorties of military aircraft to conduct exercises near Taiwan and frequently crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
Subscribe via Email
Thai fruit exports to FTA markets up 107 percent
China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and Chile are top importers of Thai fruits, especially fresh durian,...
Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand
Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage...
3 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Baht Right Now
Probably one of the most important factors for the rise of the Baht is the continued weakness of the US...
Will Thailand’s plan for quarantine-free tourism set a global trend?
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the quarantine-exemption measures implemented in Phuket will be extended to five other key...
Thailand Approves Latest Economic Relief Package for Businesses
Some 250 billion baht (US$8 billion) was allocated for soft loans while the remaining 100 billion baht (US$3.2 billion) will...
Southeast Asia remains a hot spot for plastic pollution
The use of plastics is deeply embedded in our daily lives, in everything from grocery bags and cutlery to water...