Spinoza voor het Chinese karretje – het Chinese model

Vandaag heeft de website van China Media Project (CMP), a project of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at The University of Hong Kong, een lang artikel waarin David Bandurski twee recente teksten over de "glorie van het Chinese systeem" met elkaar vergelijkt.

Zhang vs. Wang on the China ModelOr, how an idea cooked up by Westerners has become the latest weapon for those in China fighting to maintain the political status quo and oppose “Westernization.” CMP fellow Yang Jisheng (left) squares off against Zhang Weiwei.

In de tekst van Zhang Weiwei, a research fellow at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, die blijkbaar gebaseerd was op diens toespraak in het Nederlandse parlement, is tot tweemaal toe sprake van Spinoza.
Spinoza had iets door wat heel sterk voor China zou gelden…

“This successive failure of prediction suggests that we must research China, this complex nation, with greater objectivity. Perhaps, like the 17th-century Dutch philosopher Spinoza, or like his German contemporary, Liebniz (sic), place the focus on what they called “natural religion.” What these men might care most about is how China has used methods material and worldly, and close to nature — rather than the theological methods of Europe in its glory — in order to govern society, the economy and politics. If we throw off the bonds of ideology, we discover that the things that have happened in China over the past 30 years are perhaps the greatest economic and social transformation that human history has even witnessed — around 400 million people throwing off poverty. This change has had a profound impact on both China and the world. [..] Finally, I’d like to share a story a European philosopher friend shared with me. One day in the second half of the 17th century, the German philosopher Liebniz (sic) came especially here [to the Netherlands], and he went to the Hague to meet secretly with the Dutch philosopher Spinoza. Why was the meeting secret? Because at the time Spinoza had been branded a heretic by the church. The two men discussed a number of odd things, including the secular, non-theological governance system of China. Actually, it’s my view that behind China’s re-emergence today lies still this non-ideological governance concept. After Liebniz (sic) visited Spinoza, he wrote a letter to a friend in which he said: “I’m planning to place a placard over my door that reads: ‘China knowledge center.’” [cf hier]


Het is waarschijnlijk niet helemaal toevallig dat in het artikel niet gerefereerd wordt aan Spinoza’s pleidooi voor vrijheid van meningsuiting (libertas philosophandi).