Number of Downlaods: 49
Published Date: Sep 30, 2020
Harmony, prosperity and virtue have always been the pinnacle principles to devise foreign policies along the evolution of Chinese civilization. Prosperity is considered as the outcome of the implementation of principles of virtue and harmony. Hence, prosperity has a distinguished and crowning position in diplomatic discourse in Chinese civilization. The roots of this concept can be traced back to ancient times. The leading thoughts originates from the work of Confucius, Mencius, Taoism, Mohism,
Buddhism, Yellow Emperor and Sun Zu.
Confucius assigns highest importance to righteousness and humanity for ruling the country and building international relations. He defines the guiding principles for the governance and diplomacy of state based on harmony and prosperity. He says that state should not look for expansion or use of force rather it should build win-win relations with other states. He also emphasizes right means of gaining prosperity and share it with others. He writes: “In a State, pecuniary gain is not to be considered to be
prosperity, but its prosperity will be found in righteousness”1. The message is very clear. The welfare and wellbeing of people in every aspect is the basic criteria for measuring the prosperity. He always advocates to govern by virtue, love and respect and not by force. According to him, prosperity must be preserved and must not be consumed at once. “When prosperity comes, do not use all of it2”. Confucius thoughts were also resonated in the work of Mencius, as both concentrated on love, harmony and
opposed the idea of war to extend influence3.
Prosperity has another relevance to Chinese diplomacy in the light of Tao’s teaching and philosophy. Taoism emphasis on the notion of moderation and harmony between humans and nature in defining the prosperity4 . It concentrates more on virtue than wealth and accumulation of wealth. He denounced violence or use of power to govern, as it is the ultimate defiance of nature5 . He chooses deity to realize the feeling of prosperity. The harmony between humans and nature remained central piece of his believe and strengths. The notion of “doing nothing” is very strong in his writings but it does not mean to be idle. It has spiritual meanings, which emphasis to get rid of greed and focus on humanity and look for inner satisfaction.
Yellow Emperor presents the practical example of implementation of Confucius and Tao’s thoughts and philosophy. He governed the country by virtue, love and wellbeing of people. He introduced the profession of taming the wild animals and their use in agriculture. He also looked for food diversification and taught people to grow lentils along other foods. Emperor’s wife invented silk weaving and led the
China to be the pioneer in this field. All these interventions helped people to be prospered but with fundamental believes in virtues and wellbeing as nation. It also shows that Yellow Emperor promoted the deeds by himself and prefer to work instead of sitting idle. In the later stages of his life, he devoted towards the deity and let his ministers run the state6.
The modern China started the journey by adhering to these principles and application of best practices according to the need of hour. As, China presents itself as the product of 5000 years’ evolution and legitimate heirs of Confucius, Tao, Sun Zu and Yellow Emperor, thus it was necessary to have a snapshot of these ideologies and principles.
Learning from the century of humiliation is another guiding principle. Chinese assign great importance to these learnings because they feel they were treated badly, therefore they should avoid any such attempt in future.