BEIJING – If you are an American or European citizen, chances are you’ve never heard about shengren, minzhu and wenming. If one day you promote them, you might even be accused of culture treason.
That’s because these are Chinese concepts. They are often conveniently translated as “philosophers,” “democracy” and “civilization.” In fact, they are none of those. They are something else. Something the West lacks in turn. But that is irritating for most Westerners, so in the past, foreign concepts were quickly removed from the books and records and, if possible, from the history of the world, which is a world dominated by the West. As the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel once remarked, the East plays no part in the formation of the history of thought.
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