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Speech at the Banquet for honored guests (with pictures)

2006 Chuan Lyu Lectures
University of Cambridge

Subject: The Rise of East Asia - Threat or Opportunity

May 9, 2006
at Dining Room of University of Cambridge


Chancellor of Oxford, Dr Lee, Professor and Mrs. Liu, Vice-Chancellor, Members of the East Asia Advisory Committee, Master of St John's, Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen:

In your book East and West, Lord Patten, you prefix each of your chapters with quotations, and the text you quote most is the Analects of Confucius. As someone who teaches part at least of this text to Undergraduates in the original Chinese, I was much encouraged by your choice.

There were of coarse many texts from the China of the sixth and fifth BCE century you could have chosen. There is a tradition that our own Vice-Chancellor, before she took up office, was advised to study, not the Analects, but rather the Sunzi Art of War, at the psychological level of coarse. And l know that since she has become Vice-Chancellor, she has been given, as if to emphasize the message, a facsimile copy of the same text in the original bamboo strip format.

But she Analects with it emphasis on moral autonomy and self-scrutiny and on conditional service to the state, is indeed in many ways a sympathetic text. I agree wholly with the re-evaluation of Confucius's' position that you offer in your book and that you reinforce with your citations. To represent him as simply an advocate of subservience and decorous conduct is a travesty of his true position.

The second, much quoted sentence of the Analects reads, "Is it not a joy when a friend comes firm afar?" The revisionist interpretation of this saying has it that Confucius, who traveled away from his native Shandong, was in fact optimistically knocking 0n the door of a someone he had an introduction to and asking for a bed for the night. In welcoming you to the University of Cambridge and to your sister College of St John's, we prefer the traditional interpretation, and in any case are delighted to provide horsepower for your carriage as you return to your own home tonight.



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