Confucius is a head figure in Chinese history. He was a Chinese politician, teacher and most of all a philosopher. He was born in 551 BC. and died after 72 years in 479 BC. He was born in Zou, near the province of Shandong. He was raised by his mother as his father died when Confucius was 3 years old. Confucius is famous today mostly for his philosophy. Confucius’ ideas were gathered in a single philosophy called Confucianism, which is increasingly popular in modern day China. Confucius believed that the crucial decision making mechanism was skilled judgment rather than following set rules. Confucius also makes it obvious in writings about him that he believes human life is valuable above all items. Confucianism also harbors a notion of reciprocity, which one must not do what he does not wish upon him/herself. Confucianism also has its own code of ethics, stating that one must always be sincere, truthful, generous, kind hearted and selfless. Confucius’ ideas were suppressed in the time of the Qin Dynasty, however Confucianism is immensely popular in Chinese culture, government and daily life today.
Confucianism was officially revived in China recently. President Hu Jintao developed the idea of a harmonious socialist society which is built upon Confucianism. The People ’s Republic of China has set several Confucian institutes over the last few years. A Confucius statue was build in Tiananmen Square, Confucius’ ideas are therefore integrated into society more and more.
In economics Confucianism supports a small state economy, small government interference and policies similar to the Invisible hand’ of Adam Smith. Increasing both the government and the Republic of China is bending its economical policies to the ideals of Confucianism. “People read Confucius to help them do business better,” says a Chinese micro- credit company owner Qin Yunong. Confucianism also demands trust and loyalty in business. People of China are very loyal to their employers; they are loyal to their jobs, unlike Western employees who change their jobs according to the pay they get. The importance of trust also reflects on whom the business is done with. This means that just like Confucianism the people are not interested by profits but rather with what work they do and how they act. People value trust in trade and economics and wish to due business with their family members, however, there is still a great deal of distrust to companies. This becomes evident especially in companies which distribute goods, customers wish to pay only when they receive a good and they know that there is no deficit in the product. Therefore people avert paying online.
The government is also supporting the Confucian way of growth in economies. The Chinese government has created and popularized slogans such as ‘harmonious development’, yet the government of the People’s Republic of China legitimizes its rule by saying that it fulfills the needs of Confucianism. By promoting Confucianism, and making its citizens believe that a Confucian way of governing is correct, the government of China gains incredibly amount of freedom of action, as long as they can somehow relate its actions to Confucianism. Furthermore the Chinese government is trying to make people believe that the Confucian way of government is the right way of government, and that any decision based on Confucianism can only be correct. This means that when the government of China makes a bad decision, and loses any sort of power, wealth etc. the people do not blame the decisions of the Chinese government but rather blame it by arguing that the government was not Confucian enough. This gives incredible power to the Chinese government, because their policies are no longer criticized, but rather how much they follow Confucianism is criticized, allowing the government to do practically anything.
Chinese scholars are also supporting the Confucius way of government. Fudan University’s Bai Tongdong and his peers argue that China’s corrupt one party system is failing, However, a Western democracy isn’t the right way to governing either. They argue for a bicameral system, in which an elite part of society will have a right to elect a second house in order to balance the government. This is very similar to the way Confucius thought proper government should be run. As stated before the government of China is also legitimizing its rule by telling its citizens that, it is abiding the rules of Confucianism.
In China Confucianism is not only a code of ethics which people must listen to, which urges people to learn how to make proper judgment, live by the rule of ‘don’t do to others, what you do not wish to be done to yourself’ and live truthfully, generously and sincerely. It has become an ideology which the people use to govern their economies and decide how their government should be and a method of justification for the government of China.