This introductory chapter presents a scholarly work on Confucian constitutionalism, while seeking to establish a morally desirable and politically realistic alternative to liberal democracy. The modern neo-Confucians' focus on self-cultivation was too abstract to be relevant for the particular political needs of contemporary China. Surely, an adaptation of political ideals developed within the Confucian tradition is more likely to secure a Confucian way of life. The chapter proposes the concept of “political Confucianism” in contrast to the “self-cultivation Confucianism” emphasized by the neo-Confucians. Both traditions are necessary, but the most pressing task now is to revive “political Confucianism” that focuses more directly on the betterment of social and political order by legislating and legitimizing political institutions.
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