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Strengthening the Cultural and Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative: The Colombo Plan, Yan Xuetong and Chinese Ancient Thought

Abstract

Despite the widespread acceptance of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), the latter still faces some challenges. First, China’s rise is as rampant as opaque and thus this Chinese foreign policy agenda has been met with suspicion due to its lack of detailed content. Second, for some countries, the BRI is essentially a new example of colonialism through which China is paving its way to access energy sources and markets both necessary to keep fueling its spectacular economic growth. Third, changes in political leadership in some of the countries along the Belt have turned the tables against Chinese investment accusing the latter of buying out countries. In turn, this jeopardizes the economic sustainability of Chinese investment. In this chapter, I suggest two ways in which China can try to change and correct these critical perceptions on the BRI. I propose that the cultural exchange and people-to-people ties side of the project is given more prominence. However, and by means of a comparison with the now forgotten Colombo Plan as well as the Australian New Colombo Plan, I advocate that China should avoid a type of one-way cultural exchange in which it tells other countries about itself without showing deep and sustained cultural interest in the “Other”. I also suggest that if China wants to exercise a distinctive style of normative leadership it ought to develop the philosophy and values of its BRI. Because there are important resources in Chinese thinking to ground this claim, I resort to the work of Yan Xuetong who recovers the idea that a moral leader converts the hearts of others rather than winning them by different power resources. Altogether, these claims promise to create a more sustainable and appealing cultural and normative vision of the New Silk Road.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Available at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2016-03/30/c_135236689_2.htm.

  2. 2.

    Lin Hao, “Chinese Dance Drama to Boost Belt and Road Initiative in ASEAN,” Xinhua, 2016-03-30, available at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-03/30/c_135235907.htm.

  3. 3.

    Throughout the chapter, I will use BRI and OBOR interchangeably to refer to the current agenda first named Silk Road Economic Belt.

  4. 4.

    These last two countries have not attended officially the summit. For a summary of the different reactions to China’s BRI, see Ben Blanchard and Wong Sue-Lin, “China’s New Silk Road Promises Trade And Riches, With President Xi At Helm”, Reuters Business News, May 15 2017, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-protectionism-idUSKCN18B0B5 and Anna Bruce-Lockhart, “China’s $900 Billion New Silk Road. What You Need To Know”, World Economic Forum, 26 June 2017, available at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/china-new-silk-road-explainer/.

  5. 5.

    See Ching (1978), p. 169 reporting Kant’s famous sayings “Philosophy is not to be found in the whole Orient … a concept of virtue and morality never entered the heads of the Chinese.”

  6. 6.

    On Confucius, for instance, Hegel (2013), p. 240 wrote “He is for the most part a moral educator. He was a moralist as such, not actually a philosopher; for in his case we do not find theory that occupies itself in thought as such.”

  7. 7.

    The question “Is Chinese philosophy real philosophy (in the Western sense)?” is too big to approach here starting with the fact that the Chinese word “philosophy” only appeared in the nineteenth century and was introduced by a Japanese. The leading view answering in the positive argues that “Chinese thinkers were interested primarily in practical rather than theoretical questions.” See Slingerland (2003), p. 3.

  8. 8.

    For instance, at the Xi’an Jiaotong University—School of Law’s Silk Road Institute of International and Comparative Law 10th International Symposium Xi’an 1 November 2016, the mentioned conference “Road to New Paradigms: Impact of China’s Silk Road Initiative in China, Central Asia and the EU” held in Helsinki and in a 2017 special issue of the Transnational Dispute Management journal.

  9. 9.

    See Zhao (2006, 2009). For analysis and critique, see Callahan (2008). Importantly, Callahan points out that the global order set up by tianxia promotes conversion of difference and not simple co-existence and harmony between different ideals.

  10. 10.

    For a guide to the literature on the distinction between ideal and non-ideal theory, see Valentini (2012).

  11. 11.

    For a similar argument (with sources) voiced against global political and legal projects, see Vilaça (2015).

  12. 12.

    I thank Walter Rech and Goncalo Vilaça for pushing me to spell out this tension lurking throughout the chapter.

  13. 13.

    The work of Yan Xuetong I discuss also resorts to a principled argument grounded on Chinese tradition and its distinction between de facto and legitimate authority, for China’s endorsement of a moral style of normative leadership.

  14. 14.

    This is the guiding vision of Frost (2009).

  15. 15.

    For a concise statement of pragmatism applied to international relations, see Kratochwil (2001).

  16. 16.

    Within instrumentalism we should distinguish between moral egoism and consequentialism since the former is not, from an ethical theory standpoint a moral, i.e. other-regarding, position. In the text, I use instrumentalism because whenever we discuss foreign policy authors tend to assume that instrumentalism stands for self-interest and is opposed simply to altruism. With such simplification consequentialism is thrown overboard with the obvious discursive effects of caricaturing moral analysis.

  17. 17.

    For a comprehensive assessment, see Johnson (2016).

  18. 18.

    I refer to the discourse as it appears in Xi (2014), pp. 315–319.

  19. 19.

    Available at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1249618.shtml. This was a joint statement by the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, with State Council authorization.

  20. 20.

    “The Initiative is open for cooperation. It covers, but is not limited to, the area of the ancient Silk Road. It is open to all countries, and international and regional organizations for engagement, so that the results of the concerted efforts will benefit wider areas. The Initiative is harmonious and inclusive.” Ibidem, emphasis added.

  21. 21.

    Xi Jinping, speech at UNESCO, March 2014, available at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjdt_665385/zyjh_665391/t1142560.shtml.

  22. 22.

    See Yu (2004).

  23. 23.

    That globalization is a Western-origin economic phenomenon cannot be seen as a natural narrative. For instance, the historian Lynn Hunt (2014) documents different narratives of non-Western cultural globalization such as those associated to ostrich plume trade (among other commodities) or to ethnic groups such as Armenian merchants that brought coffee shops to Europe, first London and then Paris. It goes without saying that whereas this still appears to be a narrative of economic globalization, such circulation of commodities was in fact intrinsically cultural having been responsible for deep changes in taste and lifestyle.

  24. 24.

    Yu (2004). Even though Yu does not mention it, this shift parallels the sudden domestic turn to accept the role of markets (and law) as necessary for development whereas they were seen earlier as instruments of bourgeois oppression of the proletariat. On this shift, see Yu (1989).

  25. 25.

    The label “with Chinese characteristics” was deployed originally by Deng Xiaoping to describe Chinese socialism but is now used to speak of Chinese conceptions of democracy and rule of law among others. For useful background, see Zhang (2010) and Boer (2014).

  26. 26.

    See Ren (2016) and Liu (2016).

  27. 27.

    See Wang (2016) and Pan (2014).

  28. 28.

    Wang (2016), p. 458.

  29. 29.

    Dream here, as in China’s Dream, should best be seen as a clear normative goal that mobilizes social and psychological utopian energies and wraps social life as a constitution, a normative horizon. It evokes more the Australian Aboriginal communities’ dream than the modern Freudian derivation into psychological interpretation of dreams as revealing unfulfilled desires.

  30. 30.

    For a full description of this point, see Lostal and Vilaça (2015), pp. 2–4.

  31. 31.

    There are of course advantages behind technological change and speed. Enough to recall that during the sixteenth century, Matteo Ricci—a man that embodied in many ways a bridge between East and West—was used to wait 7 years for replies to his letters sent from China to Rome. Spence (1985), p. 66 tells of Ricci’s growing despair with the discovery he was often writing to people that had died without him knowing. Much earlier, if one believes the diaries of Marco Polo, we are told that Marco’s uncle and father, Niccolo and Maffeo, took 15 years in their first roundtrip between Venice and Kublai Khan’s kingdom. See Polo (2003), p. 10.

  32. 32.

    Marinetti (2008), p. 58.

  33. 33.

    Bai (2012), p. 1.

  34. 34.

    For the original discourse, see Hu (2005). For an analysis, see Masuda (2009).

  35. 35.

    Liu (2014).

  36. 36.

    Endo (1997), p. 113.

  37. 37.

    For an analysis of China’s institution making activity and the nature of its contribution to global governance, see Vilaça (2017).

  38. 38.

    China’s famously reported indifference to foreigners is evoked by Jonathan Spence (1985), p. 122 through an historical episode. Asked to comment on a painting of Matteo Ricci’s audience (in absentia) with the Emperor Wanli, the latter said, “They are huihui”, referring to both Ricci, a Jesuit, and the Muslim courtiers in oblivion, as Spence remarks, to “[t]he huge and cosmic battle that lay at the heart of European history…” (huihui was an expression used to name foreigners in Ming and Qing dynasties albeit it originally identified China’s Muslims only).

  39. 39.

    For general accounts of China’s foreign policy and its evolution towards increasing participation and responsibilities, see Kent (2006, 2013) and Lanteigne (2009).

  40. 40.

    Evaluating whether China is a responsible state, see Foot (2013).

  41. 41.

    The failed CNOOC’s bid for UNOCAL was probably the earliest case of Chinese FDI to trigger alarms in the so-called developed world. For details of the case, see Casselman (2007), p. 161ff. For details on CPC’s influence on Chinese companies, see McGregor (2012).

  42. 42.

    Wang (2005), p. 275 wrote “Thus, almost every generalization about China – that it is a communist-led socialist society as before, that at its core it is a society of traditionally centralized power, that it has virtually become capitalist, that it is a fully-fledged consumer society, or even that it is already postmodern – can be supported with examples, as can its opposite.” For an account of the main intellectual debates and participants, political alternatives and social and cultural events, see Hui (2005).

  43. 43.

    For a description of the concept, see Zhang (2010).

  44. 44.

    Zheng (2005), p. 76.

  45. 45.

    Recall that already in 2006, Hu Jintao’s speech triggered charges of neo-colonial behavior from China. As Johnson recalls, Hu Jintao himself also criticized the foreign action of domestic Chinese actors for raising suspicions of neo-colonial behavior which would be particularly damaging and insulting for China due to its alignment with non-developed countries. See Johnson (2016), p. 17.

  46. 46.

    Ren (2016), p. 440.

  47. 47.

    DeLong (2004), p. 32, emphasis added.

  48. 48.

    Johnson (2016), p. V, adds the opportunity for indebted companies to access new funds as well as to use the Silk Road to test their capacity to become global competitors.

  49. 49.

    Foot (2013), p. 25, footnote omitted.

  50. 50.

    Even within mainstream economics as shown by Rodrik (2011).

  51. 51.

    For this concept, see Lanteigne (2009), p. 12.

  52. 52.

    Reporting episodes on Zambia, Ethiopia and Nigeria, see Mohan and Tan-Mullins (2009), p. 600. Though, see Sautman and Yan (2009) arguing that African views on China are not nearly as negative as Western media has it (and blaming anecdotal evidence for such a view).

  53. 53.

    Perkins in Nijman (2016), p. 10. Leibniz saw the Emperor Kangxi as an example of a sage king that ruled following his proposed virtues and universal law.

  54. 54.

    The expression “system-reforming approach” is taken from Kent (2013), p. 140.

  55. 55.

    For example, a recent work establishes that in Kazakhstan there is a deep cleavage between elites and popular perceptions of China and the Silk Road Economic Belt. The authors also examine the different attitudes towards China-Kazakhstan relations present in Kazakhstani national vs private media. The results show that general population and private media (especially Kazakh language-based) are quite critical of China and rely heavily on stereotypes and forms of sinophobia. See Burkhanov and Chen (2016). See also Chu et al. (2014).

  56. 56.

    For Myanmar, see Adam Pasick, ‘China’s Cancelled Burma Railway Is Its Latest Derailment in Southeast Asia,’ Quartz (July 25 2014) available at http://qz.com/240436/chinas-cancelled-burma-railway-is-its-latest-derailment-in-southeast-asia/. For Kazakhstan see Keith Johnson, ‘China’s New Silk Road Into Europe Is About More Than Money,’ Foreign Policy, June 1 2016, available at http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/01/chinas-new-silk-road-into-europe-is-about-more-than-money/.

  57. 57.

    Highlighting Venezuela, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Russia and Ukraine, see James Kynge and Gabriel Wildau, ‘China: With Friends Like These: Beijing Has Lent Billions to Spread Its Influence, but as Defaults Loom Its Approach Is Shifting,’ Financial Times, 18 March 2015, available at https://www.ft.com/content/2bb4028a-cbf0-11e4-aeb5-00144feab7de#axzz3UjntSr6oInboxx.

  58. 58.

    See Shihar Aneez, ‘Sri Lanka Intensifies Scrutiny of Chinese Projects’ (2015) available at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-srilanka-projects-china-idUSKBN0MU16A20150403.

  59. 59.

    In a recent talk, ‘Is the One Belt One Road Initiative a New BIT to China’s BIT Law Regime?’ delivered at the Xi’an Jiaotong University—School of Law’s Silk Road Institute of International and Comparative Law 10th International Symposium Xi’an 1 November 2016, Professor Wei Shen made this point by using the political stability index (I suppose for lack of specification he is referring to the Worldwide Governance Indicators developed by the World Bank) to show that the vast majority of OBOR countries represent extremely risky investment for China.

  60. 60.

    This sentence is produced in the context of a fight between Huo An and Lucius interrupted by the former due to an impending sandstorm suggesting the Chinese force could host the Roman army behind the castle walls and later help them fight the “evil” Roman Tiberius. I mention this here because, as we shall see, there is a line of inquiry that views China’s promotion of some of its classical philosophy and virtues as being purely instrumental. In this context, the movie Dragon Blade easily fits the bill by portraying China as the “good guys” providing and ensuring justice and friendship along the Silk Road.

  61. 61.

    In addition to the conference mentioned on footnote 60, I was involved in the organization of a recent event “Road to New Paradigms: Impact of China’s Silk Road Initiative in China, Central Asia and the EU” held jointly by different institutions of XJTU and Helsinki University taking place in Helsinki, May 9–10 2016.

  62. 62.

    For an analysis of China’s recent efforts on international education through the creation of Confucius Institute(s) and China’s participation in United Nations Educational Programs, see Li (2012) also highlighting China’s contribution towards building schools in developing countries as well as offering scholarships without, arguably, wishing to exercise political influence. But see the recent article (Yuan et al. 2016) suggesting that the impact of Confucius Institutes in China’s global interests has not been positive.

  63. 63.

    For an introduction to the concept applied to China, see Hunter (2009).

  64. 64.

    For the inspiration of the plan, see Alfred Marshall’s words in Spahn (2004), 191.

  65. 65.

    Some of the data reported in the first sections of the present chapter cast doubts on whether the OBOR’s is not actually advancing a path towards liberalization to help economies in transition. On the conditions attached to US aid—“free play for market forces”—see DeLong (2004).

  66. 66.

    See the volume Agnew and Entrikin (2004b).

  67. 67.

    Agnew and Entrikin (2004a), p. 18.

  68. 68.

    For an introduction, see Cohen (1951) and Ward (1951). For an early reaction to the program’s first decade, see Bryant (1961).

  69. 69.

    Younger generations of participating donor countries have never heard of it.

  70. 70.

    See Oakman (2004), p. 3.

  71. 71.

    For some details on the activities and products devised to spread the Colombo Plan, see Lowe (2010).

  72. 72.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-10/27/content_27189979.htm.

  73. 73.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-10/29/content_27211979.htm. The index analyses five areas of cooperation “policy communication, connectivity, trade, finance and public support” and was based on “300 billion pieces of information”.

  74. 74.

    This is a key distinguishing element behind the Colombo Plan as it was devised to lift an entire region out of poverty fact which is confirmed by looking at the projects sponsored by capital aid. The OBOR aims to increase social well-being but the purpose is more to develop markets in Central Asia and connect better existing ones rather than avowedly fight poverty. Explicitly highlighting the poor diets and caloric intake in most target countries at the time and the subsequent focus on developing farming, dairy and sugar industries, see from the perspective of New Zealand, Gorrie (1959).

  75. 75.

    In 1961, the donor countries were Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, U.S.A. and Japan and the target countries were Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, Laos, Federation of Malaya, Nepal, North Borneo, Pakistan, Philippines, Sarawak, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

  76. 76.

    Bryant (1961), p. 10.

  77. 77.

    For early figures and a description of some of the investments, see Guiducci (1952).

  78. 78.

    The same basically applies to the Marshall Plan though the latter instituted a much more multilateral approach especially on the target countries’ side which were forced to agree among themselves upon a project and then submit it to the US Congress.

  79. 79.

    The OBOR is supported by the AIIB and the New Development Bank.

  80. 80.

    Bryant (1961), p. 15.

  81. 81.

    Idem, p. 10.

  82. 82.

    Weigold (2013), p. 16.

  83. 83.

    Ibidem.

  84. 84.

    Megarrity (2007), p. 89 demonstrates that “during much of the 1950s and 1960s, the Australian government saw Colombo Plan scholarships as the central means of providing publicity for Australia’s positive new relationship with Asia in the post-war period…”.

  85. 85.

    Oakman (2004), p. 4. As a byproduct, the Colombo Plan helped Australia to move forward on its racial “White Policy”. See also Megarrity (2007).

  86. 86.

    Lowe (2010), p. 16.

  87. 87.

    Idem, p. 10.

  88. 88.

    Weigold (2013), p. 13. Notice the unequivocal textual resemblance between these statements and China’s BRI “people-to-people bonds”.

  89. 89.

    Idem, p. 14.

  90. 90.

    Taken from the official website available at http://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/new-colombo-plan/mobility-program/Pages/mobility-program.aspx.

  91. 91.

    Weigold (2013), p. 14.

  92. 92.

    Idem, p. 15.

  93. 93.

    Bryant (1961), p. 12, emphasis added.

  94. 94.

    Weigold (2013), p. 15.

  95. 95.

    For a comprehensive survey of the literature on China-Africa relations up to 2015, see Asongu and Ssozi (2015).

  96. 96.

    It goes without saying that there is no unified African attitude or voice on China and Chinese migration.

  97. 97.

    For Cameroon, see Nordtveit (2011). For Kenya, and highlighting how growing interest of Kenyan citizens in learning Mandarin and study or train in China is connected to China’s economic presence in Kenya, see King (2010).

  98. 98.

    Mohan and Tan-Mullins (2009), p. 597. See also Asongu and Ssozi (2015), p. 21ff.

  99. 99.

    For sources, see Mohan and Tan-Mullins (2009), p. 589.

  100. 100.

    Idem, p. 600. See also Asongu and Ssozi (2015), p. 22ff highlighting the need for deep thinking about the actual benefits of Chinese investment in Africa for the latter if we are to see a sustainable model of development to emerge in the area; rather than one that is often said to jeopardize local economies.

  101. 101.

    The full list includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

  102. 102.

    For a survey of the causes behind this shift which include Chinese identity and culture preservation concerns, see Zhao (2016).

  103. 103.

    Another presentation of Chinese political philosophy partially dealing with international relations and arguing for China to lead by moral example is Bai (2012). In addition, it is worth mentioning his remark that “Chinese” was originally indicated by characters that meant “civilized people” and not any racial distinction making Chinese thinking truly universal. Bai also suggests we should turn to ancient Chinese philosophy to help deal with some contemporary problems arguing that ancient Chinese philosophy is properly “modern”. This is because it was already concerned with (1) providing a new social glue for shifting territories with large populations; and, (2) discussing legitimacy standards of the ruler.

  104. 104.

    Yan (2011), pp. 65–66.

  105. 105.

    See Zhang and Austin (2013) and Foot (2013).

  106. 106.

    For a complete presentation of Yan Xuetong’s credentials, see Cunningham-Cross (2014).

  107. 107.

    Xu (2011), p. 179.

  108. 108.

    Yan (2011), p. 65.

  109. 109.

    For a complete panorama of ancient Chinese thought, see Schwartz (1985) and Fung (1983).

  110. 110.

    Yan (2011), p. 49 discusses Xunzi’s view putting it like this “Xunzi thinks that both royal and hegemonic authority need the twin forces of power and morality, but that human authority relies more on morality and hegemonic authority more on power.”

  111. 111.

    Yan (2011), pp. 211–212.

  112. 112.

    Creutzfeldt (2012).

  113. 113.

    Idem, p. 2.

  114. 114.

    Domestically, increasing importance is now paid to the quality of the training of the cadres of the Chinese Communist Party. See for example, Xi Jinping’s speech “Train and Select Good Officials” (Xi 2014).

  115. 115.

    Yan (2011), p. 117.

  116. 116.

    Idem, p. 67.

  117. 117.

    Gaskarth (2012). The author explicitly connects the recruitment of International Criminal Court officials with the possession of certain virtuous character traits which, he argues, are necessary for the fulfilment of the international organization mission.

  118. 118.

    Klabbers (2011).

  119. 119.

    Yan (2011), p. 64ff. He gives Clinton and George W. Bush as examples elaborating how with Clinton’s stress on multilateralism and respect for international norms, the international system was much more stable than with George W. Bush’s unilateralism.

  120. 120.

    Cunningham-Cross and Callahan (2011), p. 357.

  121. 121.

    See Yan (2011), p. 65.

  122. 122.

    See also from a pre-Qin (Mencian) perspective, Xu (2011), p. 179 “Hence, if China wants [to] become a humane authority, it should establish itself as a model polity for the world.”

  123. 123.

    Cunningham-Cross and Callahan (2011), p. 370.

  124. 124.

    To avoid entering superficial debates on whether China is capitalist or socialist, I recommend consulting Arrighi (2008), where the author suggests, following a rereading of Adam Smith, that we should distinguish between capitalist and non-capitalist market-based development.

  125. 125.

    See Cunningham-Cross (2014).

  126. 126.

    See Ames and Hall (2003), p. 202. Thus, an initiative such as the OBOR would just trigger more problems in the future. Likewise, Daoist teachings are explicitly against employing virtuous persons as they would create further distinctions which only produces conflicts. This “cherry-picking” critique is developed in greater detail by Cunningham-Cross and Callahan (2011).

  127. 127.

    See Cunningham-Cross (2014), p. 39.

  128. 128.

    Cunningham-Cross and Callahan (2011), p. 366ff. Quite coherently, they also call attention to the non-neutral editorial decision of translating wang by “humane” rather than “kingly” way which downgrades the unipolar and hierarchical nature of Yan’s model for the world system.

  129. 129.

    Ibidem.

  130. 130.

    This charge against the potential for a harmonizing force imposing a hierarchy in the world, was also the central critique made to Zhao Tingyang’s tianxia-based political philosophy by Callahan (2008).

  131. 131.

    See Davies (2009).

  132. 132.

    See the discussion in Yan (2011), p. 104ff. For more details, see chapter nine “The Rule of a True King” in Hutton (2014), pp. 68–82.

  133. 133.

    For a modern take on rites along the lines just described applied to different issues, see Bell (2008).

  134. 134.

    Arguing that international order is hierarchical, not anarchical, see Lake (2009).

  135. 135.

    Yan (2011), p. 104ff.

  136. 136.

    Cunningham-Cross and Callahan (2011), p. 365.

  137. 137.

    On the difficulty of making ethical arguments after postmodernism taking Badiou’s work as an example, see Vilaça (2014).

  138. 138.

    Arguing that the Legalist classic, Han Feizi, was probably the first text where it was asserted that pluralism of thought is inevitable and interpreted to give rise to unsolvable disagreement, see Bai (2012), p. 132. Han Feizi famously overcame the problem by proposing a political philosophy which “eradicated” all critical voices.

  139. 139.

    I am quite critical of Badiou’s conceptual work on ethics, but his diagnosis, on how “democratic materialism” in Western liberal societies prevents radical politics positing alternative visions of the Good (by labeling them totalitarian) thereby making Evil primary in ethics, is spot on. See Badiou (2013), pp. 1–9.

  140. 140.

    Which however are not equally enforced. Hirschl (2007) argues that the triumphal spread of new constitutionalism hides a powerful ideological bias. Despite their constitutional status social rights remain poorly enforced (unlike liberal rights) and thus the new constitutionalism in practice, and paradoxically, has probably reinforced the liberal vision.

  141. 141.

    For details on this court and more generally on the challenges of Islamic jurisprudence to existing international law, see Prost (2012), p. 115ff.

  142. 142.

    Mouffe (2005).

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Acknowledgements

I gratefully acknowledge the support of China Postdoctoral Science Foundation grant no. 2016M592767. A version of this chapter was presented at the conference “Road to New Paradigms: Impact of China’s Silk Road Initiative in China, Central Asia and the EU” held jointly by different institutions of XJTU and Helsinki University taking place in Helsinki, May 9–10 2016. I thank the participants for their comments. The chapter benefited greatly from Gabriele Escoffier, Walter Rech, Goncalo Vilaça, Su Bian and three referees’ detailed comments and feedback. All errors remain mine.

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Vasconcelos Vilaça, G. (2018). Strengthening the Cultural and Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative: The Colombo Plan, Yan Xuetong and Chinese Ancient Thought. In: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., Zhang, K. (eds) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78018-4_2

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