Confucianism in multicultural China: ‘Official knowledge’ vs marginalised views

Tianlong YU, Zhenzhou ZHAO

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In this study, we discuss the Confucian tradition in today’s multicultural China from two perspectives: that of the mandatory school curriculum, which represents ‘official knowledge’, and that of students from ethnic minority and/or religious backgrounds who are located on the cultural margins in China. The analysis draws on curricular narratives of the Confucian tradition for six major school subjects and semi-structured interviews with a group of university students from non-Han ethnic minority and/or religious backgrounds, whose lived experiences are rarely included in the national curriculum narrative. The analysis suggests that the interpretation of the Confucian tradition is a monopolising and dominant discourse that reinforces the cultural hierarchy between different cultural groups. However, the students appear to regard the Confucian tradition as only one culture and worldview in China, which can benefit from the critical reflexivity of other cultures. Copyright © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-76
JournalComparative Education
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024


Yu, T., & Zhao, Z. (2023). Confucianism in multicultural China: ‘Official knowledge’ vs marginalised views. Comparative Education, 60(1), 59-76.


  • Confucianism
  • Confucian tradition
  • School curriculum
  • Student narratives
  • ‘Official knowledge'
  • Nationalism
  • Multicultural education
  • 儒家傳統
  • 學校課程
  • 學生話語
  • 官方知識
  • 民族主義
  • 多元文化教育
  • Alt. title: 多元文化中國的儒家傳統:‘官方知識’與邊緣視角


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