International media have recently reported statements made by the current President of China, Xi Jinping, in which he encourages young people to study traditional classics and memorize the sayings of Confucius. What is happening in China? Thirty years of free market policies have radically changed the country’s economic structure, achieving widespread well-being but also more severe inequality and other social problems. China faces an ideological vacuum and a feeling of existential angst that could fundamentally weaken its political stability and social cohesion. An internationally renowned scholar of China, the author offers his insights about this crucial stage of Chinese history, in which the Communist Party had expressed a renewed interest for the country’s cultural heritage and rediscovered the ethical principles of Confucianism, which provided a solid foundation for the Empire’s “good government” and “harmonious society” for over two thousand years.
Maurizio Scarpari taught Classical Chinese Language at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice for over 35 years.