2 minute read

Globalization in Asia

Globalization In Modern China

According to Liu Kang, China in the early twenty-first century has a multifaceted view of globalization that stands in between two significant historical events: the disintegration of Soviet-led communism and a rapidly expanding transnational capitalism. For China, the challenge of globalization is to withstand the wholesale commodification of Western-style capitalism while still entering the world system as a prominent player with its own unique socialist values. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries China has engaged in debates in "nationalism, postmodernism, and neo-humanism, and a 'discursive hybridity' that blends neo-conservatism and radicalism" (Liu, p. 165). The results are necessarily fragmented and unevenly displayed. Yet they seem to congeal into a new global Chinese intellectual strategy.

Part of China's response to the overwhelming compulsion toward Western modernity is to embrace its own past, much of which was suspended during a century of hot and cold wars. In this sense, China once again becomes a "cloud water" (yunshui) or a shape shifter that metamorphoses to fit the times. The "cloud water" is a Buddhist term of old that referred to young, novice monks who gathered around a master like wandering clouds; alternatively it is like a vagabond Daoist priest, changing his shape like water.

In October 1994 China celebrated both the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and the 2,545th anniversary of Confucius's birth. This celebration was remarkable for its unique assembly of both scholarly and political figures. Participants included Gu Mu, a former politburo member and vice premier who was acknowledged as the engineer of Deng Xiaoping's economic modernization program. Others included Li Ruihuan, chair of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress; Zhou Nan, an important Beijing representative in Hong Kong; Lee Kuan Yew, former founding prime minister of Singapore; and Jiang Zemin, president of China. Li's inaugural speech praised the ancient Confucian philosopher Mencius for his advice to rulers to listen to the people. Gu Mu's talk was especially important for outlining China's philosophy in a global age, both at home and abroad. The essence of this strategy was to transform China's culture by adapting to Western style on the outside while retaining Eastern essence on the inside. Gu Mu relates, "Culture serves both as the emblem of the level of civilization of a nation or a country and the guidance for its political and economic life" (quoted in de Bary and Tu, p. xii). In adhering to Confucian ideals of "harmony-making for prosperity" and "harmony above all," China would attempt to merge Eastern and Western views of nation, patriotism, science, and democracy.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Gastrula to Glow dischargeGlobalization in Asia - Asian Views Of Globalization, The Global Village, Definitions Of Globalization: West And East, Globalization In Classical China