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China: The Confucian Legacy
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Social System > Traditional Society and Culture > The Confucian Legacy

THE CONFUCIAN LEGACY


Traditional values have clearly shaped much of contemporary Chinese life. The belief in rule by an educated and functionally unspecialized elite, the value placed on learning and propagating an orthodox ideology that focuses on society and government, and the stress on hierarchy and the preeminent role of the state were all carried over from traditional society. Some of the more radical and extreme policies of the 1950s and 1960s, such as attacks on intellectuals and compulsory manual labor for bureaucrats, can only be understood as responses to deep-rooted traditional attitudes. The role of model workers and soldiers, as well as official concern for the content and form of popular literature and the arts, also reflects characteristically Chinese themes. In the mid-1980s a number of Chinese writers and political leaders identified the lingering hold of "feudal" attitudes, even within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as a major obstacle to modernization. They identified such phenomena as authoritarianism, unthinking obedience to leaders, deprecation of expert knowledge, lack of appreciation for law, and the failure to apply laws to leaders as "feudal" legacies that were not addressed in the early years of China's revolution.

Data as of July 1987




Last Updated: July 1987


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for China was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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