Cultural China: Traditional ethos of harmony still relevant in modern society******
JINAN, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- For thousands of years, the proverb "harmony is the most precious" has been rooted in the minds of Chinese people and continued to have a profound influence on their attitude towards life.
As recorded in The Analects of Confucius, "Youzi said, 'Make harmony a top priority in the application of rites. That is a key feature that characterizes governance by sovereign rulers in ancient past. Always act upon the rule of harmony, no matter whether the issue at hand is minor or major.'"
Youzi (518-around 5th century BC), however, also pointed out that it is unrealistic to blindly pursue harmony. "Sometimes, this rule may fail to work. If a person insists on pursuing harmony just for the sake of harmony instead of qualifying it with rites, then there would be no hope to succeed," he added.
The phrase has evolved from an important moral concept of the Confucian school in managing interpersonal relations to a reference to harmonious and peaceful relationships among people, groups, and states.
The thought is well illustrated in a household story in China. During the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the emperor of the Zhao state appointed a new grand councilor named Lin Xiangru. But Lian Po, the general of Zhao, was not satisfied with this decision and created lots of trouble for Lin.
As a newcomer, Lin, bearing in mind that harmony is the most precious, showed the greatest tolerance in dealing with Lian. In Lin's opinion, tolerance does not mean fear, but self-control, which is for the collective good. He believed that conflicts would not bring any benefits to either party, but damage the interests of the country.
When Lian heard of this, he was embarrassed and immediately rectified his approach. From then on, Lian and Lin buried the hatchet and joined hands to assist the emperor in politics and governance, which made Zhao a powerful and prosperous state in that period.
This traditional thought has laid the foundation for the establishment of a harmonious society in modern China, where the idea of harmony and peace is integrated into the social governance and even the process of policymaking.
In Qufu, a small city in east China's Shandong Province known for being the hometown of Confucius, the local government carried on the legacy of the sage, setting up more than 400 mediation rooms and appointing over 2,000 mediators for solving disputes among residents.
"As long as we are fair and persuade both parties with traditional morality, there is always a solution," said Wu Bo, Party chief of Wujia Village in Qufu, who is also a mediator.
The concept of maintaining peace and harmony is also reflected in China's diplomacy. Chinese people are peace-loving people and know well the value of peace and stability, and the country develops friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Enditem