If you’re unaware, Confucius ( #孔子, who was really Master Kong) was an avid philosopher and politician that stressed above all else, ethical behavior. Taking this into context, here’s what Confucius might have to say were he alive today.
The Master said: “The tribes of the East and North (Koreans and Mongolians), though having kings, are not equal to our people, even when lacking kings,”
If there is only one thing China seems to be following of Confucius teachings, this seems to be it–albeit misguidedly. All of his teachings are about enlightenment and learning the “way;” however, China’s continued aggressive actions against all of its neighbors (recently Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan), seems to indicate they have forgotten, or choose to ignore, “the way.” This teaching was meant to emphasize that China was culturally superior and thus, should help lead the way as a role model…
The Master said: “If you govern with the power of your virtue, you will be like the North Star. It just stays in its place while all the other stars position themselves around it.”
Obviously instead of wanting to be the North Star, China wants to be like Haley’s Comet… travelling far and wide and only periodically returning to where they started. China has not acted virtuously with respect to foreign countries, or to its own people. Recently China arrested PU Zhiqiang (浦志强) and several other members after a small meeting to discuss the Rape of Tiananmen (25 years ago this June). Beijing preemptively arrested PU and others to ensure there would be no “instances” during the 25 year anniversary of the massacre.
The Master said: “I don’t worry about not having a good position; I worry about the means I use to gain position. I don’t worry about being unknown; I seek to be known in the right way.”
With China’s unprovoked attack on the Vietnamese coast guard vessels, Beijing has demonstrated that they have “the position” of power and wish to only be known in a “bad way”. Unilaterally exercising one’s power in a contested area shows that someone is only concerned with “Might makes Right” (Thrasymachus’ point of view per Plato) and not international norms.
The Master said: “See a person’s means (of getting things). Observe his motives. Examine that in which he rests. How can a person conceal his character? How can a person conceal his character?”
As I’ve been discussing over the past few months, China obviously wants it known that they only care about China. Their motives, even though it goes against their Peace Treaty with Japan, are to be the hegemony within Asia… and their progressively aggressive stance seems to indicate they either won’t (or can’t) stop until they achieve their “manifest destiny”.
The Master said: “If you govern the people legalistically and control them by punishment, they will avoid crime, but have no personal sense of shame. If you govern them by means of virtue and control them with propriety, they will gain their own sense of shame, and thus correct themselves.”
Beijing must have forgotten these words of wisdom as well. China has the highest Death Penalty rate in the world and still people commit crime—although you must take into consideration that one such crime is to talk about the Rape of Tiananmen. The US also has a high crime rate, but our laws are (generally) voted in place by the people and are subjected to other checks and balances. As China seems to operate by “rule by law” instead of “rule of law,” it is not ‘shame’ that governs Chinese Citizens’ actions, their actions are governed by the fear of not wanting to be run over by a tank.
The Master said: “If you can govern the country by putting propriety first, what else will you need to do? If you can’t govern your country by putting propriety first, how could you even call it propriety?”
(Note: ‘Propriety’ is just one translation, which means “justness” or “conformity to standards”)
Justness, is by no means “Might making Right” which seems to be the Chinese Communist Party’s current motto… a far cry from their original motto of “Serve the People” (为人民服务). Unless of course, China takes this interpretation to mean the needs the people (against the state) are to serve jail sentences…