September 24th was a special day for Alan García Pérez, the former president of Peru. That day he attended the 2565th birthday ceremony of Confucius, gave a speech on behalf of all Western followers and researchers of Confucianism, and also personally met General Secretary Xi Jinping. ‘Confucianism and Globalization’, Pérez’s first work on Confucianism, was first published in China the same day.
The youngest president in the history of Peru, Alan García Pérez first visited China in 1983, and since then he has been called ‘the old friend of Chinese people’. In the past 30 years, the two-term Peru president visited China 7 times, and made acquaintance with Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao, and other leaders of several generations. During those visits, he showed great interest in Chinese culture.
During his visits, Alan García Pérez gained profound understanding of Chinese model of development. He claimed himself to be the follower of Deng Xiaoping. In his book, Pérez analyzes the causes of ‘Chinese phenomenon’ from the perspective of traditional culture with Confucianism as its dominant factor. This work in many ways reflects the views of foreign leaders on China and ‘Chinese phenomenon’.
‘I clearly remember Deng Xiaoping sharing his ideas with me on China’s development for the next several decades. At that time, I couldn’t comprehend it’，Pérez recalls his first visit to China 30 years ago, when he met Deng Xiaoping and Li Xiannian. He understands it now, he says, and he believes he is not the only one – many other people finally understand it, too. ‘He had the foresight’.
Pérez believes that Westerners do not understand China, and therefore they feel anxious and threatened by China. ‘Chinese way of life and way of thinking are dramatically different from the Western. We should focus on Chinese economical development, and try to understand its cultural background’. Pérez recalls his first visit to China when he was astonished by the ways of how Chinese people express themselves; it was then when he started to understand the deep influence Confucianism has on Chinese culture and beliefs of Chinese people. But later Pérez realized that Confucianism is nothing like religion. ‘At first I was wondering if it was the result of some sort of collective or family Confucianism studying’. But later he discovered that Confucian culture runs in Chinese blood.
Shen Qing, the translator of ‘Confucianism and Globalization’, has served as China’s ambassador to Guyana, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. He says that he was commissioned to translate this work to let readers look at China through the eyes of Latin American civilization, and let them see that Western society is getting more and more interested in Chinese Confucian culture.
The vice-chairman of International Confucian Association, History professor of Tsinghua University Qian Xun says that in the past hundred years the world has been resisting Confucianism, but now, although there are still many people who do not accept Confucianism, it cannot be denied that today the number of people studying Confucianism is constantly increasing. Foreign scholars began to explore the cultural background of ‘Chinese phenomenon’ and experience the unique charm of Confucianism.