China and Modernity: An Alternative to Western Democracy

My name is Angelo Ngai, this summer I’m working on a research project through a Humanities Center fellowship that is likely to turn into my thesis. My research is essentially a theory-based project on the evolution of societies’ ability to create law compatible with the values of its constituents. The goal of my project is to show how “Chinese” social values have potential to serve as the foundation for a “rule of law” based political order distinct from Western democracies. It is important to note that my intention is not to “find” democracy in China through demonstration that the “different” values of China can serve as functional analogs for the “same” political values of the West. Rather, it is to understand how the specific characteristics of Chinese values can be used to arrive at “rule of law” through a different path from the West, resulting in a distinctly “Chinese” political order that won’t resemble “Western democracy” but can achieve the critical goals of accountable government, universally-applied rules and sustainable economic growth.

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