Futuribles Journal n° 332

Société, modes de vie

China: beyond Westernization?


The long, slow pace of change in the West, via conflicts, revolutions and reforms, has no parallel in Chinese history. As Chen Yan reminds us here, in the last 150 years China's route to modernity or modernization has been via a series of blunders in response to vividly experienced contacts with the West. When we look at the present, we also need to remember that China is still searching for ways of adjusting to the modern world and could change direction again.
After describing the process of Westernization as it has occurred in China, Chen Yan presents the next phase, in which the Chinese combine tradition, anti-traditionalism and new currents of thought ("New Left", "New Confucianism", commercial liberalism) in order to develop their own version of modernity. So far, Chinese-style modernization has not reached a successful conclusion, but the way in which the Chinese have approached the problem and are moving ahead with it is a very interesting example of cultural interaction.

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