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Confucianism: Obstacle to Reforms and Modernization in Late Qing China - Term Paper Example

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The paper dwells upon Confucianism that has been considered as a religious belief similar to Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism. The truth is that Confucianism does not have any deity and it does not have any teaching regarding life after death, which are two aspects that are common subjects of religious beliefs. …
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Confucianism: Obstacle to Reforms and Modernization in Late Qing China
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Confucianism: Obstacle to Reforms and Modernization in Late Qing China

Download file to see previous pages... ng the late Qing era, it is necessary that the impact of the three pillars of hierarchy, harmony and filial piety on attempts to introduce these on China are evaluated. These pillars are the very foundations of the Confucian philosophy that have profoundly influenced economic, political, and cultural structures of Chinese society during the period of the late Qing dynasty. Chapter I Hierarchy as an Obstacle to Political Reforms The adherence to existing hierarchical structures or arrangement is a key characteristic of Confucianism. Confucius promotes principles that justify the unequal relations between human beings which are prevalent in the era of feudalism. In Confucianism, order or stability in a country or society can only be maintained if the subjects or the citizens never challenge authority and instead remain submissive to the ruler. Those in the lower rungs should never be discontented at their place in society and should just accept their plight as an inevitable part of reality. Confucius explained that there are five cardinal human relationships and these are parent-child relationship, sibling relationships, husband-wife relationship, basic economic relationship (employer-employee/superior-subordinate), and friendship (Li 2012: 37). Of the five, the first four are clearly relationships where one is superior and the other is inferior. It is only in friendship that the parties involved may consider themselves co-equals. It is in the Confucian description of the basic human relationships that its perspective on hierarchy is exposed. Hierarchy is clearly the opposite of equality and this could be seen in the distinction between the parties in the relationships defined by Confucius. In ancient China, parents, particularly fathers, held absolute authority....
The paper states that the Confucianism was the major factor that prevented relevant reforms and modernization in China during the late Qing era. The ruling classes were able to take advantage of it as they acted to retain their dominance in both the economy and politics. It was also the powerful influence of Confucianism that discouraged the Chinese people from seeking changes in society that would truly benefit them politically and economically and bring about sweeping reforms. Modernization would not have only made the Chinese economy prosper towards capitalism as all the other advanced countries during the era did. Theoretically, it would have also the triggered changes in the hierarchy, which would no longer follow the formula suggested by Confucius because of its requirement that political, economic, and cultural foundations of the feudal and patriarchal system be destroyed. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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