How Does the Presence of a Confucian Culture Affect the Operation of Democracy?

How Does the Presence of a Confucian Culture Affect the Operation of Democracy?

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In 1979 the third word-wide wave of democratization was due to the overthrow of Portuagese dictatorship in Europe which spread to Asia during the 1980s. The third word-wide wave of democratization did not however affect the undemocratic East Asian countries as they challenged the notion of demoratization and avocated “Asian Values”. Asian values refers to the strong traditional cultural values such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism which co-exists in East Asian societies. The purpose of this essay is to explore Confucian culture and how it may affect the operation of democracy in East Asia.

Confucianism is tradition of political and social thought named after the scholar Kongzi (Confucius 551-479 B.C), it is still widely practiced/ seen in social, legal, theological, ethical and political thought. Kongzi was born into low aristocracy and held an administrative government post. He was a social and political critic throughout his life as a public administrator and teacher to future political advisors. His teachings were focused on how to live one's life in accordance with traditional virtues of ; hummaneness (ren), ritual propriety (li), righteousness (yi) and wisdom (zhi). According to Kongzi the key to social and political stability is the virtue of ren which means “the overarching virtue of being a perfected human being”. Everyone is capable of achieving ren although only a gentleman properly educated in ritual propriety (li), righteousness (yi), right action (xin), and revengance (jing) will be a superior man and able to rule in accordance. consistant with ren. Tu Wei-ming a scholar of Confucianism categorizes confucian thoughts into "political Confucianism," and "Confucian personal ethic". Political confuncianism consists...


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...of Singapore
8.First proposed by Seymour Martin Lipset (1959), “Some Social Pre-requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy,” American Political Science Review 53.1: 69-105
9.Ibid., p.226. Wang‟s study adopts the “human development perspective of democratization” proposed by Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel, Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: the Human
Development Sequence (New York: Cambridge University Press)
10.Ibid., pp.270-80.
11.Liang Musheng 梁木生 (2004), Theory of Democratization in Steps (Tidu minzhu lun 梯度民主论)
(Singapore: Hope Publishing House), pp. 48-56.
12.Tianjian Shi (2008), “China: Democratic Values Supporting an Authoritarian System,” in Yun-han Chu, Larry Diamond, Andrew Nathan, and Doh Chull Shin (eds.), How East Asians View Democracy (New
York: Columbia University Press), 209-237, pp. 235.
13.Ibid., p.82

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