Chinese Domestic Politics: A Millenary Swing Between Legalism and Confucianism

Understanding Chinese politics is a matter of the utmost importance in terms of geopolitical, economic, and strategic stakes, especially given that the weight of the Middle Kingdom on the world stage is getting heavier day by day at the expense of Western countries. What’s better then than looking back into China’s history that reveals useful clues that can be decoded to understand the present and to help anticipating the future? China’s history is captivating. When we study the second largest economy in the world, we discover an elusive China with many faces (traditional, imperial, struggling with modernism tensions, industrial, at the school of the World, modern, paradoxical…). At the end of the Qing Empire, two important events occur: Confucius apotheosis and the inauguration of the Chinese Republic in Nanking by Sun Yat-sen. It was followed by a period of instability and wars until Mao Zedong came out the winner in 1949 by adopting a Legalist strategy, and thus inaugurating the People’s Republic of China. However, Legalism without Confucianism led China to a critically sad state while the World was progressing and thriving (the example of its neighbors Japan and South Korea is enlightening). Later, Deng Xiaoping gradually reintroduced Confucianism (strongly fought by Mao), allowing China to open up to the world and to become richer year after year (China’s millionaires and billionaires numbers are regularly making the headlines for nearly two decades now). As a result, the foreign observers, expecting a continued increase in freedom and further opening up of … Continue reading Chinese Domestic Politics: A Millenary Swing Between Legalism and Confucianism