“WHY? Goes to China: Confucius and Today’s China” with Daniel Bell


RECORDED: MAY 14, 2012.

In May, 2012, WHY? was invited to China to take a look around, interview who we could find, and take a fresh look at a country that seems to be blamed for all of America’s problems. The result: a half-dozen shows with guests ranging from Chinese college students to four African musicians trying to make it big in Shanghai. What is it like to be an expatriate living in China and do they have more freedom than Chinese nationals? What can we learn from the principal of an elite Chinese private high school? What is the state of environmentalism in the polluted country and how much hold does Confucius’s philosophy have over the country and its politicians? All these questions and more will be answered when WHY? goes to China!

Confucian philosophy plays an important role in the Chinese family, but what role does it play in politics? Chinese is a traditional society, but modern China is built on a break from the past. China holds dearly to its own past, but is experiencing more change than ever before. Join us for a discussion about how tradition works in a changing China and the importance of cities in moral life. This interview was recorded at The American Culture Center at The University of Shanghai for Science and Technology before a live audience.

Daniel A. Bell (贝淡宁)has been teaching political theory in China for sixteen years. He is currently professor at Tsinghua University (Beijing) and Jiaotong University (Shanghai). He has published six books on East Asian politics and philosophy with Princeton University Press. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and other media outlets. His webpage is www.danielabell.com.

WHY?’s trip to China was supported in part by The American Culture Center – Shanghai at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, through a partnership between USST and the University of North Dakota, supported by the US Department of State.

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