Asian values need to be reassessed and reconstructed to provide a context in which people can appropriately understand China's experience and future, said Professor Zheng Yongnian of the National University of Singapore and Center for China & Globalization (CCG) Academic Committee Convener. Zheng put forward this argument while presenting his two new books dealing with the subject of Asian values and China's global rise during an April 8th seminar held at CCG's Beijing main office.  

Zheng Yongnian,  Professor and Director of East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore

Prof. Zheng, a highly regarded political scientist and internationally-known China expert, brought his new books, "The Rise of China: Reassessing Asian Values" and "Reconstructing the Chinese Ideology," to the CCG seminar and shared his perspectives about Asian values and China's role in the revival of these values.

During his presentation, Prof. Zheng argued for understanding China and making predictions regarding its future in the context of world civilization. He argued that China’s civilization has been formed by learning from other civilizations. Unlike civilizations based on religion, it is more open, inclusive, and progressive. China’s values are reflected in its characteristics and systems; however, these features have not been scientifically or systemically analyzed and are often seen as a threat to the West.   

Prof. Zheng pointed out that while both Western and China's civilizations have values that can be applied universally, each retain their own unique characteristics. One cannot replace or copy the other one. He also emphasized that China only represents part of Asian values and needs to integrate its outlook with the philosophies of other Asian countries, such as India and Japan, as well as the Western civilization, to construct a comprehensive picture of Asian values.  

Mabel Miao, Secretary General of CCG

Xu Jiangqiu, Editor-in-Chief of Orient Press

Applauding Prof. Zheng's new publication, CCG President Wang Huiyao said the topic of reassessing Asian values will start a new round of discussion and debate in China’s academic circles and think tank community. He believes that with China going through a major transformation in the era of globalization, the revival of its civilization is especially crucial. Chinese civilization needs to maintain the essence of its traditional belief system, while at the same time creating a new philosophy system and integrating Western ideas.  

The seminar was hosted by CCG Secretary General Mabel Miao Lu and Orient Press Editor-in-Chief Xu Jiangqiu, who introduced Prof. Zheng and his new books. A number of scholars, experts, and political analysts were invited to offer their comments and perspectives. 

Qiu Zhenhai, Phoenix TV Commentator

Phoenix TV Commentator and CCG Senior Research Fellow Qiu Zhenhai said that Prof. Zheng's study examination of the connection between China and world civilizations is both pioneering and practical. The rise of China has thrown up challenges to the global economic, security, and political orders long dominated by the West. China therefore needs to explore a new path to reconstruct its modern civilization.

Huo Jianguo, former President of CAITEC, Ministry of Commerce

Huo Jianguo, the former president of Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in the Ministry of Commerce, argued that in the absence of stable and consolidated Asian values, China should take on the responsibility of forming a a consensus on this matter. The reconstruction and revival of civilization cannot be achieved without economic development, he added.

Fang Jin, Deputy Secretary General of China Development Research Foundation

He Shenquan, Editorial Board Member of Global Times

Wang Bainian, President of Paning Centennial

Hua Xinghong, Managing Director and Head of China, Cerberus Capital Management LP

Chen Xinhua, President of Norsk Statoil China

Wang Huiyao, President of CCG

Deputy Secretary General of China Development Research Foundation, Fang Jin, pointed out that China’s rise will be impeded if its value cannot be reconstructed. China needs to form a internal consensus about its values and promote these values externally for more people to study and understand.

In addition to arousing interest in academic circles, Prof. Zheng's new books and theory have generated considerable media attention. Reporters from Xinhua News, China News, People's Daily, CCTV, CRI, Global Times, Phoenix TV, and other outlets participated in the seminar. The event was also covered by international media, such as the Financial Times China, which posted the full text of Prof. Zheng's speech on its website.