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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 16 reviews
on June 29, 2014
Dear Prof. Bell following is my humble comment on the Renaissance of Confucian Constitution as inspired by the China dream kindly review. Your help and support is greatly appreciated.

CONTEMPORARY CONFUCIAN CONSTITUTIONAL RENAISSANCE REVISED ACCORDING TO CHINA DREAM AND HARMONY RENAISSANCE OR
ORDER OF THE HUMANE AUTHORITY WAY ENDOWED WITH SPIRIT OF CHINA DREAM AND HARMONY RENAISANCE
INTRODUCTION
In a paper titled "The Chinese dream can enrich world civilization" the well-known academic Yue Dai Yuan from Peking University posted the following questions to the Chinese nation: "First, what kind of ideological and conceptual schemes do we need to effectively tackle the world's problems? Without fundamental conceptual capabilities, no great ideals can be created nor can a strong culture and society be built. Second, what kind of social system can make a virtuous man willing to live in a society? Our future social designs must surpass both those of the ancients and those of the West. Only in this way will we benefit the people and make a contribution to world civilization. Third, what way of life can make people feel that their lives are meaningful? This requires society to cultivate spiritual values. No society can sustain a sense of purpose merely by achieving ever-higher living standards. It is only by developing a spiritual dimension that life can be enriched".
She answered her questions by looking into ancient Chinese civilization. There are reasons why the Chinese civilization continued 5000 years uninterrupted despite foreign invasions unlike all other ancient civilizations of the world that has ended. There are reasons why the Chines civilization influenced the whole world without hegemony or outright occupation. No other ancient or modern civilization has influenced the Far East as much as China did. According to Yue Dai Yuan, "The history of world civilization has demonstrated that Chinese civilization is a cultural system with powerful resonance. Since ancient times, Chinese culture has put the pursuit of a spiritual and moral life at the center of its concerns. Its harmony principles stand for reconciliation between man and nature, for healing the rift between logic and spirituality, between the pursuit of material wealth and the good life, between natural science and humanism"
" If these intrinsically Chinese cultural genes can be brought up to date and fused with our modern, culturally diverse world, a new Chinese dream that represents a new historical epoch will emerge and benefit all of humanity".
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) laid out a strategy for building a culturally strong nation on the basis of ideals that, while having their roots in Chinese civilization, are different from both of those of the West and ancient China, and project a new China with new spirit of global significance. This CPC call opens the way for adopting Confucian inspired constitution for long term political reform and rejuvenation of world culture.

CALL FOR CONFUCIAN AND HARMONY RENAISSANCE
Along the above line of call by the 18 National Congress of the Communist Party of China(CPC) and his own outstanding research, the Confucian and Marxist scholar Jiang Qing, the most original, provocative Confucian political thinker, has single handedly led the contemporary debate on Confucian and Harmony Renaissance that led to the discovery of ancient Confucian teaching of the Humane Authority governance system or the Royal Way of governance. This ancient paradigm of superior governance explained why Chinese ancient civilization outlasted all other ancient world civilization and satisfied Prof. Yue Dai Yuan above three questions most expertly. The Humane Authority Governance System upholds that the legitimacy of governance follows the tradition of the Gongyang school of Confucius politics according to the contemporary Confucian and Harmony Renaissance debate. And this new contemporary Confucian teaching encompasses religion, philosophical and political thought, all three parts are integral of Confucius Renaissance.
The key feature of the Way of the Humane Authority lays down the theoretical basis for Confucian Constitutionalism and a Tricameral Parliament according to Jiang Qing's book "A Confucian Constitutional Order, how China's ancient culture can shape its political future". In this book and other contemporary Confucian and Harmony Renaissance debate one can find more details on Humane Authority governance tradition and discovery. According to current worldwide debate, the multifaceted Tricameral nature of Humane Authority governance system offers the promise of future solution for a world with diverse culture surpassing the Western liberal Democracy and Middle Eastern Theocracy. Because the Humane Authority Tricameral Parliament requires three legitimacy for good governance and defined as will of heaven, spirituality; will of earth, tradition and harmony and will of the people. In the Western liberal democracy, the legitimacy of the U.S. government is entirely grounded in the will of the people lacking the legitimacy of will of the tradition, harmony and will of heaven or spiritual qualities. Whereas the Middle East governance is strongly grounded in religion but lacking in the will of the people.
The promise of the Humane Authority Governance for the future diverse world forecasts the importance of Confucian and Harmony Renaissance will far surpass the discovery of democracy during European Renaissance. It is more universal and puts China in a higher moral high ground than liberal democracy as we shall see. The rediscovery of the Humane Authority political thinking in time will totally repudiate Margaret Thatcher's triumphant statement that "China is unlikely to become a superpower because it lacked an independent ideology with global clout" and the U.S. media often echo in chorus, that China will never catchup with the U.S. because it has no original idea of importance to offer to the rest of the word.

WESTERN LIBERAL DEMOCRACY WITHOUT CONCURRENT SUPPORT OF HUMANE AUTHORITY WILL NOT WORK IN CHINA
The deficiencies of Western liberal democracy without the concurrent support of Humane Authority are many, despite the famous tunnel vision statement by Churchill and the prediction by Professor Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University, in his book "The end of history and the last man "he concluded that Western liberal democracy is the answer all political solution for the world. Of late, news of U.S. government's shortcomings seems to flood the West's own media. Outstanding examples are: t In a New York Times article, titled "A Confucian Constitution for China" by Jiang Qing and Daniel Bell, the authors in response to Hillary Clinton's criticism of China, sum up the deficiency of Western liberal democracy as "Democracy is also flawed in practice. Political choices come down to the desires and interests of the electorate. This leads to two problems. First, the will of the majority may not be moral: it may favor racism, imperialism or fascism. Second, when there is a clash between the short-term interests of the populace and the long-term interests of mankind, as is the case with global warming, the people's short-term interests become the political priority. As a result, democratically elected governments in America and elsewhere are finding it nearly impossible to implement policies that curb energy usage in the interests of humanity and of future generations." Of late, news of U.S. government"shortcomings seems to flood the U.S.'s own media. Outstanding examples are: The U.S. 2008 financial crises that dragged down the world economy due to corrupt creation of toxic mortgage investments, to this day none of the U.S. culprit that caused the multi-trillion dollar loss has been sentenced; the U.S. government's gridlock that led to government shut down in 2013; the U.S. sky rocketing deficit spending; years of PEW survey leaves no doubt the alarming low confidence of U.S. public towards the direction the U.S. is heading. The loss of public confidence has a lot to do with the U.S. style election, the lack of performance, and the U.S. politician in order to win reelection tend to be short sighted and engage in negative campaign strategies .

The U.S. Supreme Court which has the ultimate say in law making is concerned only with matters of legality without moral guidance resulting in rulings such as "money is speech freedom" in U.S. political campaign thus allowing voting to be disproportionately dominated by the rich. Liberal democracy tends to favor community self-interest and narrow vision as oppose to measures that are more holistic and may benefit the world and the nation as a whole. The fact that the U.S. is only major developed nation did not sign the Kyoto Ecology Accord is a good example. The U.S. elections for president are more about popularity as opposed to meritocracy, the proven value system in the Far East. The uninformed public often is emotional and whimsical. The election of an alcoholic president who led us to the disastrous Iraq nation building war under false pretenses is unlikely to happen in a constituent representative democracy as practiced in Hong Kong and the Bahai faith.

For more discussions of the inadequacy of the U.S. liberal democracy and why it will not work in a country as large, complex and with 5000 years of history as China please read the revealing book "The Fourth Revolution" by chief editors of "The Economist" magazine John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. The conclusion of the book is that Western Liberal Democracy has a lot to learn from East Asia's political system of selection by meritocracy combined with constituent representative democracy. Their brave and pointed warning is that without East West exchange and mutual learning to improve Western liberal democracy the U.S. is heading to the forth coming political Fourth Revolution. According to the Fourth Revolution, as the longest Civilization State in history, Western liberal democracy will not work in China. For detail analysis of China as a Civilization State please refer to the book "When China Rules the World" by Martin Jacques, the seasoned China observer, and "China Wave" by Zhang Weiwei, who maintained that China needs its own Confucian constitution brand for long term reform and lasting contribution to world civilization and political rejuvenation.

CORRECT AND RELEVANT NAME FOR THE THREE PARLIAMENT HOUSES OF HUMANE AUTHORITY WAY IN CHINA

The names of the three Parliament Houses in China adopted by the contemporary debate must be revised to fit their functionality in China. Confucius himself advised "before one acts one must have correct names." I propose the following reasons for changing the three Humane Authority Way parliament house names.

1) The name House of Heaven is not appropriate for China because it is not necessary to install state religion in Humane Authority Way to work, although in China, ancestor worship is traditional and widespread. It is an element of Confucius religion to remember and respect our common origin and continuity of Chinese civilization. What we need is the whole system of Confucian moral teaching as a noble guide for China. This moral teaching can be substituted by other nations cultural values deemed as more appropriate for each different country. This makes the Humane Authority Way more universal compared to the U.S. worldwide forceful enforcement of its bill of rights and systems of values, which may or may not be universal in other cultures having to deal with other higher rights priority such as the rights of livelihood, medical health and education. I propose that in China the House of Heaven be revised to House of spirituality as suggested by my wife Julia Devendorf, the consummate teacher. The spiritual quality of Confucian teaching is what highly recommended by Professor Yue Dai Yuan, another renowned and dedicated teacher, in the previously cited essay "The Chinese dream can enrich world civilization." I draw upon her inspiration of China dream to rename the House of Heaven as House of Spirituality (HOS). Although in some Islamic or Christian culture they may want to use the names "House of Ala" or "House of God" to be appropriate for their culture and tradition.

2) The name of "House of Earth" should be revised to "House of Tradition and Culture" (HTC) because the Humane Authority Way deals with good governance for a nation. The organic growth of any nation cannot be broken from its tradition and culture as witnessed by the immense chaos and tragedy created by U.S. nation building in Iraq that disrupts Iraqi on going tradition and political stability. In all nations, political change must be continuous otherwise we are inviting chaos and revolution that can be very costly. Most of all, a nation denies its tradition and culture has lost its soul. As a priority I strongly advised China must not look away from its 5000 years of continuous culture but must engage actively in Confucian and harmony renaissance because they are the essence of Chinese ancient culture. I strongly support the CPC dedication to rejuvenate China with Chinese characteristics. Because the continuation of a nation depends on tradition and culture.

3) The "House of Tradition and Culture" (HTC) must be able to exercise its guidance on Humane Authority Way with authority. So it shall be the only house given the veto power in the deliberation of national policy. The three houses are bound to work harmoniously by consensus but all laws including declaration of war, must pass withat least two houses to be adopted. The granting of veto power to the house is that as the executive arm of the government it can avoid gridlock and to stop social disturbance without calling upon the military. In the U.S. the president is granted the veto power. Unfortunately, giving one person the veto power will never win the hearts and minds of any nation. That is why Obama recently faces vigorous objections from the opposition party, the public and even the Supreme Court on legal grounds without needed moral judgment. On the other hand veto power to the "house of tradition and culture", HTC , collectively is very necessary at times of emergency to curb unnecessary and misguided violence. As an aside, the U.S. president is also given the power to wage war, to appoint Supreme Court judges and cabinet ministers. That makes the President effectively a dictator at times. It is most logical to grant those similar powers to the "House of Tradition and Culture", HTC, to maintain national stability with no need to call on the military. That fulfills the teaching of the Humane Authority Way.
4) The House of People's Will should be more specific, because of the afore mentioned short comings of U.S. liberal democracy and U.S. liberal democracy has infected China's uninformed public to look away from its tradition and culture and other developing nations are disturbed by international media controlled by the U.S. and West. Not the least let us not forget the warning of the forth coming Western political Fourth Revolution conclusion in the book "The Fourth Revolution". An appropriate name that exercises the people's will but allows more universality without falling into the trap of Western liberal democracy is constituent democracy. This form of democracy works to accommodate both election and selection by meritocracy. Constituent democracy has been proven in the success of Singapore, Hong Kong and the Bahai Faith. The House of the people's will shall be revised to "House of Constituent Democracy" HCD. China already has the equivalent of the HCD in the form of People's Consultative Congress that advices the present government. All China needs is to formalize it to become the HCD.

THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA HAS PROVEN RECORDS TO CONTINUE CHINA'S SUCCESS, CULTURE AND TRADITION.

The CPC has ample track records to prove that it is the most logical entity to head the "House of Tradition and Culture"( HTC)with 51% vote in China. As much as the aforementioned three houses of parliament are bound by the principle of Humane Authority Way to work harmoniously, the power of veto to the "House of Tradition and Culture" is necessary to ensure smooth government function, so it is the most important house among the three pillars of the Humane Authority Way. HTC needs to be the strongest house so it can act as the executive branch of the three houses. The most credible and able of all political parties in China is the CPC, which can head the HTC for the following reasons:

1) CPC is the most natural, logical and able choice to continue the Chinese tradition to take charge of the HTC and to continue running all government functions to assure the most smooth transition to a Humane authority Way nation and society. CPC's current role is already the consensus leader of all the political parties and the 56 minorities of China. Its leadership style is one by constituent democracy in keeping with Humane Authority Way as a shining example of how the House of Constituent Democracy (HCD) can work in China.

2) In 1949 under the leadership of Mao Zedong as the founder and Chairman the CPC together with other minority political parties founded a unified Chinese People Republic that started the important tradition of the new China. Mao's revolutionary theories not only liberated the whole China under imperialist powers occupation but also for the first time in Chinese history liberated the masses and women as equal citizens. His famous saying on women rights that "Women carry half of the sky" started and was put into action from the early Yan An revolutionary days. His love for the minorities won the hearts and minds of the Tibetan, Xinjiang and Mongolia minorities. That is why Peoples Republic of China was able to unite Tibet, Xinjiang and Mongolia under Mao but not under the previous Nationalist government. All these monumental achievements make an undeniable modern Chinese epic tradition that will be long lasting and must be preserved for all Chinese history. In recognition of CPC's epic liberation legacy tradition under Chairman Mao's leadership CPC should be given 51% voting rights to head the HTC. Chairman Mao because of the liberation legacy he left for China will always be remembered as the father of modern China despite his mistakes of over enthusiastic for the future of China in his old ages. Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader that launched todays reform and open up era of modern China summed up correctly that he gave Mao 80% for correct leadership and 40% for impatience at old age, resulting in a 60% overall score. The Western media's constant malicious attack on Chairman Mao is very inconsiderate and insensitive to the majority of Chinese people.

3) Chairman Mao during his rule of China also correctly predicted the catching up with U.K. in economy during 1980s ,when China was so poor and behind it was inconceivable by the West that China can catch up with U.K. China's economy eventually did catch up with U.K. in 2000 under Deng Xiaoping. Mao's prediction is just a little early; however it sets the goals for China to continue to surpass the imperialist powers as a laudable tradition.

4) The progress made by China during the last 30 or so years starting with the reform and open up movement launched by Deng Xiaoping is nothing short of miracle. Its modernization broke all kinds of world records. It accomplished the modernization achievements in 30 years while it took the West centuries to accomplish. Coming from its poor agriculture background China today accounts for 90% of the world's poverty reduction by moving 600 million people out of abject poverty. It has higher life expectation and lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. It has more college graduates than the U.S. and soon will have more engineers and scientists working than the U.S. In 2012 its economy caught up with Japan to become the second largest economy in the world. Today it is the largest export country in goods surpassing the U.S., which came from mere millions in export in 1949 to today's trillions. It is expected by World Bank and many experts that China's economy will catch up with the U.S. in real terms by 2020 if not earlier. For more discussion of China's ascendance please refer to the book "China's Mega Trends" by John Nassbitts, "China in 2020" by Hu Angang, " The China Wave" by Zhang Weiwei and "When China Rules the World" by Martin Jacques.

WHAT LIES AHEAD AFTER CHINA IMPLEMENTED THE HUMANE AUTHORITY WAY?

Since the Humane Authority Way originated in ancient China it is natural for China to transition into it. As mentioned in previous section the CPC has also been in practice as political party for the last 60 years for the role as the consensus leader in the most important HTC of Humane Authority Way. According to the eminent scholar Yue Dai Yuen in Introduction, I quote again, "The history of world civilization has demonstrated that Chinese civilization is a cultural system with powerful resonance. Since ancient times, Chinese culture has put the pursuit of a spiritual and moral life at the center of its concerns. Its harmony principles stand for reconciliation between man and nature, for healing the rift between logic and spirituality, between the pursuit of material wealth and the good life, between natural science and humanism." Thus with renaissance of Confucianism and harmony brought about by China Dream and the Humane Authority Way, China will further her modernization in the direction as called for by the 18 National Congress of CPC under the leadership of Xi Jinping.

As a visionary new leader Xi already called for a China dream to rejuvenate the Chinese nation by rediscovery what is best in the past to combine with what is best in the future to bring a better life for all China with improved environment, better social and health services and an responsive governance according to the Humane Authority Way, a truly socialist nation with Chines characteristics. By today's news China already is the country with the biggest production of renewable energy products including solar energy products. Based on the conclusion of all cited references we can expect that China will be most exemplary in its undertakings entrusted by the Chinese people's wisdom. The CPC is the largest political party with 75 million active members, it has 60 years of proven nation building record as mentioned in the last section, it has the most resources among all political parties in the world, it is accustomed to manage large projects as witnessed by the perfect hosting of the 2008 Beijing Olympic with the theme "One world, One dream" and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo with the theme "Better City, Better Life". Both event themes accurately forecast China `s dream and future action.
All predictions expect China to become exemplary in political reform and modernization far exceeding its past achievements. China will become a good model to the multipolar world in all human endeavors beneficial to the world. No matter how strong China becomes it will never become a hegemony power. It will always practice harmony and mutual development as promised by President Xi Jinping in numerous world speeches. It is not in the Chinese gene to practice hegemony. China's culture profoundly influenced the world especially the East in the past but it was always through resonance instead of hegemony in contrast to the U.S. Ever since the end of second World War , as the world's only superpower the U.S. always seek to extend its influence through wars such as the Vietnam war and the Iraq war.

In the future the world will become more multipolar, more democratic and more peaceful because the U.S. will have to share its power position with China and other nations. As liberal democracy comes under more world denial beginning at the home front challenged by the political fourth revolution predicted by the book "The Fourth Revolution." The U.S. will involuntarily concede some of the moral high ground to China and thus become less aggressive and arrogant for the better. The U.S. postured shining light on the hill will become less blinding to the world , that allows a more diverse world culture with hundred flowers blooming in a verdant and beautiful world cultural garden.

Francis C W Fung, Ph.D.
Director General
World Harmony Organization
San Fancisco, CA
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on December 24, 2012
It has many wonderful insights regarding the philosophy and governance of the Chinese people. Another really nifty thing about the book is that it is controversial.
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on May 10, 2012
The author explains the various incarnations of Confucianism to the neophyte audience very well. The predominate version now on the mainland is the first to lack an emperor at the top of the social "food chain". Whether successive members of the leadership class will really take to heart the meritocracy and the author's communitarianism has yet to be seen, particularly with respect to international relations.

Very good book, though, and a hopeful one.
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on March 4, 2011
Daniel A. Bell, of English or American background, is the author of this wonderful book on China. He puts into clear and easy to understand words the mind-set of china. Because he is a political physicology professor, he also puts into excellent detail the perspectives of the china mind-set. He has a strong understanding of the topic.
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on April 17, 2011
I've enjoyed Bell's occasional essay before, and expected to enjoy this book. Especially given his training in philosophy, I expected to learn about how Confucianism arose, how it was interpreted in the past, how Confucian ideas are evolving now - and what the effect of the Confucian revival in China is having. Instead, Bell spends little time in detailed discussion of Confucian ideas past, present and future. What we get instead is a series of his musings on how Confucianism should be put into practice.

I do have great sympathy for Bell's political stance - I share his general Canadian feel-good-lefty-leanings. But I really wanted to hear what other people (CHINESE people) think, philosophically and politically. If the content and approach of two appendices (on two well-known Confucian scholars/popularizers of Confucianism) had been extended to fill the whole book, I'd have been completely happy. They were the only thing that kept me from rating this book 2 stars.

In the end, I decided this book wasn't really written for a Western audience. It's not a descriptive book, it's prescriptive. And, I'm certainly tired of reading editorials by Westerners for Westerners about how the Chinese should behave and believe. I don't think Bell is trying to do that. I think he's written this book for Chinese people. Bell notes that in his political philosophy classes he's given up teaching about Confucian history, because his students get bored, since they know the material. He tries to engage them in comparing Confucian ideals with Western. This seems to be a good description of this book.

Likewise, he notes that the easiest way he has found to reach a wide Chinese audience with his writing (essays, opinion pieces), and without worrying about political censorship, is to get them published in the West. He notes his readership in the West for a particular article might be low, but millions will quickly get access to it in China through blogs and pirated copies. Probably, the philosophical musings on the fusion of Western liberal ideals with traditional Chinese values will be more interesting to someone trying to resolve these issues for themselves (a Chinese audience) than someone trying to learn about Chinese culture.

I might be reading too much into it, but a number of stylistic clues hinted that his tone was meant to be placating to a Chinese readership as well. Which is fine, but not what I wanted.
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on September 23, 2010
After struggling through 20 pages, I called Amazon to get my money back. Nothing wrong with the content but the typing was horrible. Whoever contracted to put this on the web for the publisher should be fired. How can I enjoy a kindle eBook when, for example, the two legs of capital H are always separated by three spaces, words are hyphenated in mid-line with lots of empty space, when Capital L appears as capital I. Bush League.

If you must have this book, buy the hard copy
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