Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture (Jul 2023)

Confucian Multiculturalism: A Kantian Reinterpretation of the Classic of Rites

  • Andrew Ka Pok Tam

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 1
pp. 26 – 46


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Chinese Communist monocultural policies, notably the re-education camps for the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, have recently been condemned for violating human rights. In response to critics, the Chinese Communist Party frequently replied that one should not impose Western concepts of democracy, liberty, and human rights on the Chinese people. Nevertheless, instead of introducing Western philosophies criticizing the current Chinese Communist monoculturalism; with the help of a modern reinterpretation of the Classic of Rites, this paper aims to construct a Confucian Multiculturalism and argues that: (1) the Classic of Rites explicitly warned against cultural assimilations of “barbarians” into the “civilized” Empire, (2) the Classic of Rites acknowledges cultural diversities, and (3) although the Classic of Rites does not explain clearly why the imperial court should tolerate cultural diversities, a Kantian reinterpretation of the Chinese concept of 敬 Jing implies the respects for minority rights. In doing so, this paper formulates Confucian Multiculturalism as a new model of the Chinese philosophy of culture which asserts cultural diversity.