Chinese Value Evolution and Influence of Democracy

Topics: Communism, People's Republic of China, Republic of China Pages: 13 (2941 words) Published: January 29, 2013


Chinese Value Evolution and Influence of Democracy Su Hang George Washington University

Author Note Su Hang, Department of Computer Science, George Washington University This research paper was under requirement of EAP class of 6109. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Su Hang, Department of English, 2121 I Street, NW Washington, DC 20052. Contact:



Abstract This paper gives a general introduction to Chinese value evaluation under the effect of western value of democracy since the Opium War. It is well known that Chinese value is

rooted from Confucianism which values order and hierarchy, and against individual freedom. However, this article provides another possibility that along with the development of economics and electronic technology, Chinese people slowly open arms to democracy. Instead of discussing the progress of democracy in China, this paper shows how Chinese value changes before and after the formation of Chinese Communist Party. This paper

divides China’s modern history into three periods: times before 1900s, times in 1900s and after 1900s. Each period has been examined its original people’s value and changes that Also, a comparison and contrast between portions of Confucianism

democracy had made.

and democracy was given for the sake of a better understanding of Chinese value evolution. At last, a possible view of direction of future Chinese value changes is discussed. Keyword: Chinese value, democracy, Chinese Communist Party, Twitter, Confucianism, Marxism



Chinese Value Evolution and Influence of Democracy Introduction Since the advent of history, people from China and west have been living separately for a long time. And we have to accept the truth that they have developed different conceptual

frameworks that support their views to the world and lead to their ways of living. According to the article in “The Spirit of Democracy”, since the American and French revolution, American people have engaged with the belief in the universal value and the promise of democracy… Whereas, Asian societies stress loyalty to the family and group over individual freedom and needs, defer to authority and value order over conflict (Larry Diamond, 2008). However, through contacting with each other, western value of democracy Needless to say,

has deeply influenced otherwise Confucianism-rooted Chinese values. Chinese values have changed significantly.

In fact, western value of democracy has

significant impact on the evolution of Chinese value. Since the Opium War, Chinese people were fascinated by the concept of democracy and freedom. Since then, thousands of Chinese democrats have devoted their whole lives to After the formation of Chinese Communist Party, Chinese However, democracy continued

questing freedom of nation.

values were mostly confined to the framework of Marxism. to influence Chinese people.

Assisted with the development of Internet, democracy has

persuaded many Chinese people for free working style and equality of human rights. Democracy effect on Chinese value before 1900’s A regular definition for democracy refers to fair and free of election. As the Austrian

economist Joseph Schumpeter outlined it in the 1940’s: [democracy is] “A system ‘for



arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote’.” (qtd. Larry Diamond, p.21). But for most

American, it can also include elements of individual freedom which indicates equality of human rights, freedom to speech, and right of spontaneous associations. People in developing countries, especially like China before 1900’s, were fascinated by...

References: Chang, Y. T., Chu, Y. H., & Tsai, F. (2005). Chinese Societies. Confucianism and Democratic Values in Three
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Benney, J. (2011). Twitter and Legal Activism in China. Culture, 44(1), 8-13.
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throughout the world. Feng, C.Y. (2008).
Journal of Contemporary China, 17(57), 675-676. Wu, G.G. (2009). Power. A Shadow over Western Democracies: China 's Political Use of Economic China Perspectives, 78, 83-84. American pragmatism and Chinese modernization: Media,
Volz, Y.Z., & Lee, C.C
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