Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture

"Government for the People: Troubling Legacies of the Confucian Statecraft Tradition" was the title of The 2021-2022 Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture given by Tim Brook of the University of British Columbia.
Americans are familiar with Lincoln’s “of the people, by the people, for the people,” just as the Chinese are familiar with Sun Yatsen’s “three principles of the people.” They are parallel discourses of government, but rise from different traditions and anticipate different outcomes. On the Chinese tradition of government for the people, no one writes more clearly than Qiu Jun (1421-1495), chancellor of the National Academy and compiler of the authoritative handbook of state administration. Caught between the models of Great State ambition and Confucian self-cultivation, Qiu put Confucian philosophy to work so that the state acted for the people—but not of them or by them. If he deserves our notice, it is because even today his vision shapes Chinese perceptions of good government in ways that surprise and trouble.

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Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture

Cornell East Asia Program

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