Compatibility Between Democracy And Confucianism

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The compatibility between democracy and Confucianism has long been a controversial topic since the first introduction of this idea from the west to China in the late nineteenth century. In my opinion, the definitions applied on democracy give great variation upon the results of the discussion of the controversy. According to Oxford Dictionary, exclusive means ‘excluding or not admitting other things’. As for democracy, I would like to define it as ‘a mode of decision making about collectively binding rules and policies over which the people exercise control’ (Beetham, 1992) and democracy and Confucianism are not mutually exclusive upon this definition because Confucianism would accept the instrumental value of democracy. In the following parts of the essay, I would like to first discuss some other common definitions which I think they are not appropriate in discussing this topic and provide with reasons. After that, I would explain my stance.

When discussing whether democracy and Confucianism are compatible with each other, people usually compare them using a moral principle or value context. They stress the importance of the values such as popular sovereignty and equality in democracy and point out that Confucianism does not include such democratic values. It is because in Mencius’ thought, the king is the only one to make decision on social affairs, even though the king’s decisions are made for the well-being of his people, the formation of the government is not
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