Weekend Roundup: Confucius vs. The Umbrella Revolution


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

In the streets of Hong Kong today, China’s future is meeting its past. It’s 17 year-old rebellious student Joshua Wong, who is leading the Umbrella Revolution protests, versus Confucius, the sage of order and “social harmony,” whose 2565th birthday was just emphatically celebrated by Xi Jinping in Beijing last week.

To put this historic crossroads into perspective, The WorldPost publishes excerpts of Xi Jinping’s remarkable speech on the anniversary of Confucius’ birthday, which amounts to an official rehabilitation of ancient Confucian thought as the guiding light of modern China.

From Hong Kong, WorldPost China correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from the ground on the orderly rebellion of the Umbrella Revolution.

Beijing artist, Jia, looks at the Hong Kong protests through the prism of her memories of the excitement and dashed hopes of the Tiananmen Square events in 1989. Lawrence Lau, a former member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council, argues that the election plan presented by Beijing, which stirred the protests, will actually allow for genuinely competitive elections over time.

George Chen, financial editor of the South China Morning Post, focuses on the demands for Hong Kong’s current Chief Executive to resign after riot police were turned against the demonstrators. Princeton’s Rory Truex, an expert on Chinese public opinion research, proposes that Beijing has more to gain from giving in to the protestors than trying to wait them out or cracking down.

Dominique Moisi takes a strategic view of China’s role in an increasingly chaotic world and suggests that, together with the US, it could establish a “100 Year Peace” not unlike that in Europe after the Vienna conference in 1814. Writing from Beijing, Weng Wenfang examines whether the new US-led fight against ISIS will turn America away from its Asian “pivot.” Also writing from Beijing, former World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin and Jintao Xu look at China from a planetary perspective, arguing that it is in China’s self-interest to act immediately on climate change.

The popular American DJ and musician Moby addresses the climate challenge manifested in our daily dietary habits that encourage the ecologically destructive production of meat. In a related vein, Mark Hyman, M.D., looks at the global obesity scourge and points to what some countries, notably Mexico under President Enrique Pena-Nieto, are doing to fight it and its related diseases such as diabetes.

The Hollywood actor Idris Alba calls for a renewed effort to stop the Ebola virus in its tracks. Graham Fuller, former Vice-Chair of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, makes the logical leap for US policy in the Middle East. He posits that embracing Syria’s Assad will be a more effective strategy in fighting ISIS and re-stabilizing the region than allying with “the least bad jihadis.” From Istanbul, WorldPost correspondent Sophia Jones reports that Turkish authorities are cracking down on ISIS sympathizers.

Alexander Motyl updates WorldPost readers on what has now become a “frozen conflict” between Russia and Ukraine. Writing from Berlin, Clare Richardson explains why Germans are so much more sensitive about privacy than Americans.

Finally, The WorldPost reports on the biggest change to California’s uniquely influential direct democracy initiative process in four decades. This week Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation sponsored by the Berggruen Institute’s Think Long Committee for California that creates broader public review of initiatives before they go on the ballot and shines the light of transparency on contributions by moneyed special interests.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels is the Associate Editor of The WorldPost. Nicholas Sabloff is the Executive International Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s 10 international editions. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s World Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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