The Chinese Search for Cosmopolitanism

The latest research of our Visiting Fellow, Eric Hendriks

This report for the Danube Institute sketches out China’s incipient field of world philosophizing, providing an overview of its main structures and political and philosophical contexts. The field under investigation might prove to be of vital political and ideological relevance in the twenty-first century, as China continues to gain weight geopolitically and is increasingly searching for its own distinct visions on world order, cosmopolitanism, and peaceful international coexistence. Two contexts are central for understanding the new Chinese field of world philosophizing: 1) the field’s position within Chinese political thought, and 2) the fields’ indebtedness to older regionalist traditions in Eurasia and to Pan-Asianism in particular. Accordingly, the first part of the below report—the section titled “Between Nation and World”—will show how the field forms a secondary, but increasingly influential strand alongside the dominant modernizing-nationalist strand in Chinese political thought. The report’s second part will delve into the field’s controversial connection to the broader and older Pan-Asian tradition, while also touching upon the parallels with other regionalist geo-philosophical imaginings in Eurasia.

Download the full research here