Confucianism and the chiniversity: East Asian perspectives on higher education

Jun LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Confucianism is a very complex philosophy developed through 25 centuries, with rich legacies which have profoundly shaped the Chiniversity, a term for distilling the Chinese model of the university. It has had a dominant role in the institutionalization and development of higher education throughout China's long history, influencing its mission and vision, governance, curriculum and pedagogy, with all of these elements reinforced by the Imperial Civil Service Examination. Confucianism has also constituted the main epistemological force that shapes the unique East Asian perspective on higher learning and education, with its long tradition of self-mastery and intellectual freedom, an orientation towards ethics that is secular, and an integration of knowledge and action. It has also accommodated both institutional and structural diversity. All these features have deeply influenced modern Chinese higher education, making the Chinese model of the university fundamentally distinct from the various models developed in the Western world, while closer to modern universities in other parts of Asia. Along with China’s rise in the new century, the legacy of Confucianism may continue and expand its global influence, as evident in the recent flourishing of Confucius Institutes all over the world.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventThe Fourth World Universities Forum - The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong
Duration: 14 Jan 201116 Jan 2011


SeminarThe Fourth World Universities Forum
Country/TerritoryHong Kong


Li, J. (2011, January). Confucianism and the chiniversity: East Asian perspectives on higher education. Paper presented at The Fourth World Universities Forum, Hong Kong.


  • Confucianism
  • Chiniversity
  • Autonomy
  • Academic freedom
  • Culture
  • Higher education
  • China


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