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Confucius and Washington defend world peace together

(People's Daily Online)

13:47, June 27, 2012

In addition to Confucius' philosophy, his image has been spreading abroad to the American continent, to the farthest ends of the earth.

Zhang Tao, who wrote a book named "Confucius in the United States of America," found that, the souvenirs of the image of Confucius were very important diplomatic gifts of the Chinese government during the Anti-Japanese War. Once upon a time, the Confucius dolls wearing vintage gown and bearing godlike presence were awarded as prizes to the Americans who made donations to China.

In 1925, Chinese delegation brought a gold-wire screen with a quote from Confucius saying that "all the people of the world are brothers" to the world conference on opium control. In February 1941, Chongqing government held a celebration for George Washington's Birthday. When the special envoy of the U.S. president gave his speech, a sharp-eyed journalist discovered what behind the special envoy is a mural which themed "the Confucius and Washington defend the world peace together".

"China faced its biggest survival crisis, the Japanese aggression, at that time. Therefore, the government officials made an utmost effort to emphasize Confucius' thoughts of democracy and peace in the realm of foreign affairs" said Zhang.

In 1937, China's Ambassador to the United States Wang Zhengting said to the Washington Post that the idea of "people" and "country" that Confucius disciples esteemed is a kind of ancient "democratic slogan" in essence; and that China has always been a country dreaming of peace; the Anti-Japanese War should be referred to as a "democratic war".

Renowned Chinese scholar Lin Yutang wrote in an article published on the Christian Science Monitor that Confucius, who was born thousands of years ago, held the same belief as U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull that moral order was crucial for peace.

China and the United States should fight shoulder to shoulder for democracy, Lin added.

The United States has made use of Confucius to show friendliness to China. In 1908, the U.S. Congress passed a proposal to return half of the reparations that it received from China according to the Boxer Protocol, to China on condition that the money was used to fund a program that sent Chinese students to U.S. schools. In 1924, the Congress passed another proposal to use the remaining reparations from China to establish the Chinese Culture and Education Promotion Foundation and the China Institute in America, in order to introduce China to Americans. In 1926, when Philadelphia celebrated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the institute held a large-scale exhibition about Chinese education in the city, with the "Influence of Confucius" as one of its themes.

Kung Hsiang-hsi, who served as the president of the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China, paid a visit to the United States in 1939, during which, he donated a pair of traditional Chinese stone lions to the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri on behalf of the Republic of China as a symbol of China-U.S. friendship. Previously, Kung, a 75th-generation descendant of Confucius, had taken part in various activities and delivered speeches in the United States many times.

The two stone lions were from the Temple of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong province, the hometown of Confucius, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Seven year later, Seymour Topping, a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, came to China as a war correspondent for the Associated Press. Topping later served as the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes at Columbia, a professor at Columbia University, and the deputy editor-in-chief of the New York Times. He was the first Western journalist to report the People's Liberation Army's liberation of Nanjing, and interviewed late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai for the first time during the Cultural Revolution.

The stone lions were very important to Topping, who saw them every day in college. When talking about the gift from the hometown of Confucius many years later, he said that the two stone lions were his initial connection with China, and inspired him to visit the country.

Source:China Youth Daily , author: Fu Yannan.

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