China’s rich history has left it with a very abundant cultural dynamic. I find it interesting that in the process of modernization and economic liberalization, China has always found a way to commercialize essentially every single one of its cultural relics. In this aspect, China seems to be doing capitalism better than the west, essentially commercializing history. While this “cultural materialism” assures the preservation of these cultural artifacts, it simultaneously degrades their inherent significance.
Today, I feel that Chinese people are left with a new form of Confucianism, one that is used to promote nationalism and as a symbol of “Chineseness” rather than the philosophical beliefs traditionally associated with Confucius. The text mentions that people often treat Confucius as a god with the power to influence educational success and pray to him to pass exams. Rather than following the teachings of Confucius, many Chinese people are instead following Confucius himself, much like a deity. This loss of moral guidance has led many Chinese people to seek refuge in religion, whether it is Tibetan Buddhism, Protestantism, or Humanist Buddhism. However, a large proportion of Chinese people are also trying to fill this spiritual void with material possessions under the guise of religious belief.
This happens to be a common occurrence in China, as traditional ideas have begun to be revitalized, modern depictions and adaptations of centuries-old relics have become very popular due to a growing middle class. While the Chinese economy is seeing progress, are these traditional Chinese ideas losing their true meanings?