Saturday, May 28, 2016

453. Cross-Cultural Understanding between China and the United States

For many Americans, China, the second largest economy in the world, is a little bit scary. China is not only America’s fastest growing trade partner, but also a nuclear power. With a huge population and a very different history and culture, it is, to state the obvious, the definition of “foreign.”
Carola McGiffert, President of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, stated, " Cross-cultural understanding between our two nations is critical if we are to work together to solve our greatest shared challenges. The more we know about China, the more we will appreciate its perspective, its politics and its people."

She called upon, "We must expose more American youth to Chinese language and study abroad opportunities. Our two nations and our world depend on it."  To add to the list, I think that all Americans schools should teach about the history of the efforts of the founders to borrow from Chinese civilization in their endeavor to create a new culture in the United States. In this point I agree with Mr. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the President of History Education Council of Hawaii States. He requested al schools in Hawaii State to teach Dr. Dave Wang's research in their history classrooms.
I would like to quote the following statement from Mr. Mead, “We'd like to call to your attention the pioneering research and writings of History Education Hawaii director, Dr. Dave Wang. His research has opened fresh eyes to something long neglected in the founding of the United States of America: the influence of Chinese civilization on the American Founders. " He also states, "Dr. Wang’s research and scholarship have added a new and exciting illuminations into the founding of the United States of America, the influence of China’s civilization and traditions on the founders. This is something that should be taught in our American and Chinese history courses.”

452. Chinese Cultures and Traditions That Have Been Adapted in The US

It is widely acknowledged that it is practically impossible to pinpoint every single instance of Chinese culture and tradition in the United States. For Joseph Rodriguez, one of the reasons is that “many individuals are practicing their traditions both in public and in their homes with their own family members and friends, and personally, I love it.”
However,  for Dr. Dave Wang, the most important reason is that the founders of this nation assimilated elements of Chinese culture in the culture of the United States. I would like to quote Dr. KirillO. Thompson below,
 "For his part, Jefferson saw the importance of Confucius' virtues for keeping his ideals alive, augmenting happiness, and improving the country over time. In his inaugural speech in 1801, Jefferson declared:
Let us, [……] pursue our republican principles; our [……] representative government. [……] enlightened by a benign religion, [……] inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man, adoring a providence, which by its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here, and his greater happiness hereafter; with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? (Italics added)."
Dr. Thompson has further made it clear that all the virtues Jefferson "enumerated in his inauguration speech were precisely the moral principles that Confucius had instructed."

Thursday, May 26, 2016

451. Chinese American Hero Site and Dr. Dave Wang's Research

Chinese American Heroes (a 501 (c)3 non-profit, educational organization.) . Mr. Philip Chin in his article, “The China Trade and the Mystery of the FirstChinese in the United States", cited posts from this blog. I am glad that Dr. Dave Wang's research has been cited by such a prestigious site.

In order to help you know what the site is about, I quote the Chinese American Heroes’ mission statement:

To recognize the significant contributions Chinese Americans have made to America and the world at large

To provide accurate, positive, and constructive stories and reports about Chinese American contributions to America

To provide positive role models for our youth and education about Chinese Americanhistory and contributions to America .

Sunday, May 22, 2016

450 Most Readers are from Europe in the Week May 16-22, 2016

My readers may be curious about who read this blog. To meet this curiosity I check the readers report and found that it is very interesting. Readers are from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North America, Therefore it is fairly to say that this blog's readers are from all over the world.

Readers might be surprised to find the fact that Russia is number one in the readers list by country.

Among the ten countries, there are five countries are from Europe, accounted for 50%. Two countries are from Americas, and two from Asia. Interestingly enough, there are more readers from Taiwan than the mainland of China. One will find that there are almost three times in Taiwan than that in the mainland in terms of readers in this week. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

449. Two Poets' Opinions on East Thoughts and the West

There are two different opinions on the relations between the East thoughts and the West. One was represented by German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832),  According to him, "He who knows himself and other, Will also recognize that East and West cannot be separated."  More than fifty years after Goethe left the world behind, an English poet, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) in his poem expressed, "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and Never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and sky stand presently, at God's great Judgement Seat."

In the eyes of some Westerners, China "has been a source of inspiration, fount of an ancient wisdom, a culturally rich civilization which is fat superior to , and can be used to reflect on the inadequacies of", the West. In the meantime, for some other Westerners, China is an "alien region of looming threat and impenetrable mystery, long locked in its stagnant past until rudely awakened by the modernising impact of the West." For Voltaire, the East is the civilization "to which the West owes everything. According to J. J. Clarke, C. S. Peirre spoke contemptuously of the monstrous mysticism of the East.
Below I want to show you an lecture given by Dr. Dave Wang, when he taught graduate course at St. Johns University.  In his lecture, Dr. Dave Wang examined Confucian influence on the United States.

(J.J. Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought, Routledge, London, 1997)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

448. The Beginning of American Interest in Chinese Thought

In his widely circulated book (first published by Columbia University Press in New York, 1932, and it was republished in 1960, 1969 and 1972.), The Orient in American transcendentalism; a study of Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott, Arthur Christy, told his readers that his book "is a study of the beginning of American interest in Oriental thought." He pointed out that American traffic with China started when the Empress of China "entered the China trade, but for decades the traffic was almost alone in economic values. It was not until about Emerson time that the Oriental was more than a heathen and his religious literature more than foolishness. " 

Readers, who are familiar with Dr. Dave Wang's research on American founding fathers' fondness of Confucian moral thoughts, know that Christy's conclusion was not correct. American interest in Chinese thought started long before Emerson was born. During the the founding era of the United States, the founders sought to use some Confucius moral principles to help start new virtue for the new nation.  

With this link one can read a brief bio of Dr. Arthur Christy.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

447. China in the Eyes of the Founders

In Search for a New Humanity: A Dialogue Between Josef Derbolav and Daisaku Ikeda (ed. and tr. by Richard L. Gage (New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1992), the authors tell his readers that there are two courses for the European intellectual regarding Chinese civilization, the first one is that " He may reject his own tradition and attempt to assimilate with the alien culture. " And the second one is "he may reject the alien culture and close himself up in the traditions of the West." According to the book, it is the one of the major tasks facing the contemporary Western intellectual to find "a middle road among these complexities is ."

Clearly when they fabricated the book the authors didn't read Dr. Dave Wang's papers on the founders efforts to borrow from Chinese civilization in order to build a new civilization in North America. Some argue that American civilization is the extensions of European civilization. In a sense, yes. However, for Professor Frederic Jackson Turner, American civilization was a new civilization remade by the western movement.  Turner argued that "the moving western frontier shaped American democracy and the American character from the colonial era until 1890."

The founders created the third road already during the founding era of the United States. It was to incorporate positive elements from Chinese civilization to create a new nation in North America. It is clear now the United States would be different without the founders efforts to learn from Chinese civilization. In the eyes of Benjamin Franklin, China was resources for various industrial technologies that badly needed in North American colonies. For Thomas Jefferson, Confucian classics provided him an ideal example of how to be a great leader to be remembered by the people. For Thomas Paine, Confucius was a great moral teacher in the same rank as Jesus.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

446. Philadelphia and China

Philadelphia, US founder, Benjamin Franklin's adopted hometown, is famously, a city of first. It established the first library, first zoo, first university, first fire department and so on. It is also the first city that published Confucius works. It was in 1737 that Franklin published some chapters of Confucius moral works in his widely circulated Pennsylvania Gazette in North American colonies.

About 100 years before the founding of the United States, Philadelphia merchants had strong ties with China. According to some resources, in its heydays, Philadelphia controlled about one-third of the United States trade with China. The profits from China trade provided substantial capital for industry and public institutions.

(The photo of Benjamin Franklin statue on the Campus of University of Pennsylvania was taken in 2014)