Social Ethics in a Changing China

Moral Decay or Ethical Awakening?

by Huaihong He, John L. Thornton,

Social Ethics in a Changing China: Moral Decay or Ethical Awakening?
Subject categories
  • 9780815725725

Over the past half-century, China has experienced incredible human dramas, ranging from Red Guard fanaticism and the loss of education for an entire generation during the Cultural Revolution to the Tiananmen tragedy, the economic miracle, and its accompanying money worship and rampant official corruption. Social Ethics in a Changing China: Moral Decay or Ethical Awakening? provides a rich empirical narrative and thought-provoking scholarly arguments that highlight the imperative for an ethical discourse in acountry increasingly seen by many as a materialistic giant and spiritual dwarf.

Professor He Huaihong has been not only an extraordinary witness to all of these dramas, but has also played a distinct role as a historian, an ethicist, and a social critic exploring the deeper intellectual and sociological origins of these events.

Incorporating ethical theories with his expertise in the culture, history, religion, literature, and politics of the country, He reviews the remarkable transformation of ethics and morality in the People's Republic of China and engages in a global discourse about the major ethical issues of our time. He's book aims to reconstruct Chinese social ethics in an innovative philosophical framework, reflecting China's search for new virtues.

"The analysis of social ethics in today's China presented by Professor He in this volumeis formidable. It is natural to wonder if the new ethics he proposes is powerful enough touproot and supplant the old. "—from the Foreword by John L. Thornton

"While this volume focuses on the intellectual odyssey of one truly extraordinaryChinese ethicist, it is also about the broader experience of China's journey into thetwenty-first century—about the country's painful attempt to recover from its severemoral decay."—from the Introduction by Cheng Li

  • Brookings Institution Press; October 2015
  • ISBN 9780815725725
  • Read online
  • Title: Social Ethics in a Changing China
  • Author: Huaihong He; John L. Thornton (other); Cheng Li (other)
  • Imprint: Brookings Institution Press
Subject categories
  • 9780815725725

In The Press

"All societies need a "moral foundation." Today's China especially needs to rebuild its ethical base, given society's rapid changes and development. This rebuilding not only needs to suit modern Chinese society, but must also be based on the intrinsic traditions of Chinese culture. This volume by He Huaihong explains this need from the perspective of ethics more pointedly and profoundly than any other."—Chen Lai, professor of philosophy and dean of the Academy of Chinese Learning, Tsinghua University

About The Author

He Huaihong, one of the most influential ethicists in present-day China, is a professor of philosophy at Peking University in Beijing.

Cheng Li, director and senior fellow of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, is author of the upcoming book, Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership (Brookings, 2016).

John L. Thornton is cochairman of the board of trustees at the Brookings Institution and professor and director of global leadership at Tsinghua University.