Return to site

Day 1 10:30 Panel 1

China in relation and dialogue with the World

Frankopan Hall

Wang Xin, Li Xiafei, Ed Pulford

Wang Xin

Hunan University


Since ancient times, “destiny” has been an important topic that has attracted many
people's doubts, discussions. Around the “mystery”; about fate, philosophers from all over the world have discussed extensively. In the West, the famous theologian and philosopher Augustin criticized the prevailing astrological fate of the time and the definition of "destiny"; by the Stoic school and Cicero and made a new interpretation of "destiny"; In China, Mozi advocated "Feiming"; and attacked the "destiny theory"; of Confucianism in the pre-Qin and Warring States era, and transformed the traditional concept of "destiny"; has had a major impact on the history of Chinese thought. Although across time and space, the two philosophers have many "consequences"; in their views on "destiny"; but no scholars have done relevant in-depth research at present. By combing the respective views of Augustine and Mozi on "destiny", this paper analyzes the similarities and differences between the two views on "destiny" in the comparison, and clarifies the meaning of the heterogeneity of thought (subjective spirit and ultimate belief) behind the two philosophers and their academic thoughts. The author find that Augustine refutes the popular "destiny view" mainly based on the absolute belief in God and the absolute defense of God's authority. Mozi refuted the fate of the Confucianism from the perspective of "Xingli Chuhai" They all admit that there is a supreme dominance in the universe. He has absolute authority, rewards and punishes according to the good and evil of human behavior. Augustine clearly defined fate as the "speaking" of God. Mozi advocated "Feiming" and "Qiangli" by emphasizing the authority of the heavens. They all believe that there is no contradiction between the authority of the supreme ruler and the choice of the will of the person.

Li Xiafei

Year 4 PhD student in Chinese Studies, University of Cambridge

'From 'attracting money and business' to 'recruiting talents and wisdom': new sojourners and 'Qiaowu'
affairs in the new era'

The image of Chinatowns all around the world with chains of red lanterns and large selection of restaurants serving ‘Chinese cuisine’ maybe the most prominent representatives of ‘China’ and ‘being Chinese’ overseas. However, most of the overseas Chinese nowadays no longer stay and gather around the Chinatowns. Rather, Chinese people are now scattered all around the world and people begin to say that ‘有人的地方就有中国人 (where there are people, there are Chinese)’. After nearly 40 years of reform and opening up, an increasing number of Chinese people are getting more chances to go outside of China to visit and even settle down owing to fast international communication and transportation. Unlike the old generations who moved abroad as groups mainly to earn a living when faced with difficulties, for these new generation of Chinese sojourners, going abroad may merely be one choice amongst a large number of life choices the contemporary Chinese society could offer. Thus, with much more choices in hand and the practice of turning back being much accessible than before, the urgency and necessity of assimilating into their host places have been called into question by many new sojourners. Some people even begin to declare the trend of re-sinicising amongst Chinese sojourners. As the new generation of Chinese sojourners are much more independent to decide where to stay, which job to take, and how to interact with their host places as well as their hometowns back in China, new features have shown in the social sphere of overseas Chinese in China, and new ways and policies to cope with such changes have been introduced by both the central government and the local governments of ancestor villages where Chinese sojourners originate from.

Ed Pulford

Hokkaido University (Japan), JSPS Postdoctoral Researcher


Friendship and difference across rising China's northeastern borders


Everyday encounters across China’s borders with Russia and North Korea bring people with very different ideas about relationships and friendships face-to-face. Borderland dwellers, moreover, have a unique vantage point on how the country's 'rise' has entailed an ever-expanding range of contacts between the Chinese state and people and the outside world. As an important idea throughout China's official international relationships, and more generally among (post)socialist states, ‘friendship’ (Ch. youyi) is discussed locally as the most likely potential bond among individual citizens of the three countries. Yet the fact that ‘friendship’ is not equivalent for everyone raises important practical and theoretical questions. In the borderland nexus of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, official and informal relationships come into dialogue. In this paper I explore this by focusing ethnographically on contact between local Han Chinese actors and Russian and Korean counterparts who meet under the aegis of official Sino-Russo-Korean Friendship. Everyday friend-making attempts between these groups commonly break down over divergent attitudes towards utilitarianism, the need to cultivate ‘feelings’, hierarchy and other concerns. Local discussions of these subjects echo old anthropological debates over ‘instrumentality' or ‘affect’ within relationships. However, by showing the limitations to this analysis I argue that the frequent failure of cross-border friend-making here in fact results from differential approaches to ‘difference’ itself: Chinese borderland dwellers are, for example, often relatively comfortable with friendships which are explicitly labelled as being with 'foreign' people. Their Russian counterparts, by contrast, seek bonds which minimise any sense of their friends’ Otherness as much as possible. Understanding this should in turn help us better understand the place of difference and friendship within China's international engagements, and encourage us to focus on everyday relationships as a key component of forging a shared global future.

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly