Universal truth versus Chinese exceptionism: an idological dilemma

This is an analysis of a moral and ideological dilemma facing the Chinese authority, with a focus on its shifting position on so-called “particularity of China”. Originally the Chinese communists were Universalists who rejected their various rivals’ arguments about Chinese "particular national conditions" in order to justify their belief in and application of Marxism in China. In those revolutionary years there was genuine rigor in their intellectual exploration, in spite of Marxist-Leninist dogmatism. The recent embracement of the concept of "Chinese characteristics" and attacks on the “universal values”, however, seem to indicate that the universalist position has been abandoned altogether to justify the current political system in a special manner. It remains to be seen whether this effort will succeed in establishing an enduring political ideology for a “rising China” or otherwise quickly vanish into oblivion just as countless ideological catchphrases before it.


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