Survey gauges global interest in Confucius

2024-07-08 08:44:47China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

"Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself" is the most well-known saying by Confucius among foreigners who took part in an online survey.

More than 47 percent of respondents said it was the most familiar quote from The Analects of Confucius, and that it conveys the moral principle that one should not impose on others what they themselves do not wish to endure.

The survey of 312 foreigners, conducted in June by and the Information Office of the Shandong Provincial People's Government, was dedicated to the upcoming 10th Nishan Forum on World Civilizations and aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of foreigners' knowledge and perceptions of Confucian culture.

The two-day forum is scheduled to kick off on Wednesday in the county-level city of Qufu, Shandong province, also known as the hometown of Confucius, with the theme of "Traditional Culture and Modern Civilization".

"I feel like Confucianism is popular everywhere because he made such an impact and it's not necessarily country oriented," said Michelle Hsu, a survey respondent from South Africa. "I feel like you could take his teachings anywhere and they would still be relevant."

Another respondent, Sayana Mosquera, who is from Ecuador, said that Confucianism is like a bridge connecting cultures to China, and is a good way for China to promote its culture globally.

The survey found that "when three people walk together, there must be a teacher among them" and "what a joy to have friends coming from afar" are quotes that are also well-known among foreigners, each of which was chosen by 40 percent of respondents.

Some foreigners wrote their favorite quotes from Confucius in the survey, such as "the superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions" and "the gentleman looks within himself; the small man seeks what is in others", highlighting their familiarity with and fondness for The Analects.

The survey respondents came from 26 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Canada, Germany, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Kenya, with the majority having visited China. About 60 percent were between 18 and 30 years old, while about 40 percent were over 30.

In the survey, about 86 percent of respondents correctly identified Shandong as the birthplace of Confucius, around 80 percent knew that The Analects is the most important Confucian classic, and 46 percent thought that "benevolence" is the core concept of the Confucian school.

The survey also found that most respondents believed that encouraging cultural exchanges, hosting art exhibitions and cultural festivals, and cultivating foreign language education were the most effective ways to promote exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations.

Since its inception in 2010, the Nishan forum has been held nine times. The event focuses on dialogues among different civilizations around the world. It has become an increasingly important platform for strengthening the preservation and development of Chinese traditional culture, advocating common human values and promoting international cultural exchanges and cooperation.

The 10th forum will be co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the International Confucian Association and the Shandong Provincial People's Government.

It will cover topics including civilizational exchanges and mutual learning amid global challenges, Chinese-style modernization and Western modernization, civilization inheritance and innovation in the process of modernization, and artificial intelligence and human civilization.

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