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First ever delegation of Confucianists visits UK on mission to make China more sustainable

March 5, 2014:

MARCH 5, 2014 The first ever senior delegation of Chinese Confucianism will visit the UK next week to discuss concrete plans to make hundreds of towns in China more sustainable and more beautiful.

The group includes leading academics and heads of Confucianist Foundations, all now members of a new organisation, The International Confucian Ecology Alliance (ICEA), created specifically to address urgent issues of ecology in China.

They will be in London from March 11 to 12 with an itinerary that includes visiting WWF-UK and a presentation to HRH Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. Since the 1980s Prince Philip has been inspiring religions and leading philosophical traditions to look into their own teachings from the past in order to find ecological solutions for the future. In 1995 he cofounded the Alliance of Religions of Conservation (ARC).

The delegation will bring a philosophical analysis of why ecology is key to Confucianism, as well as a plan of the actions they – and hundreds of Confucianist temples and towns – will bring into play over the next eight years and into the future.

Among the Confucianists’ plans are to develop Confucian Ecological towns throughout China, including greening Confucius’ birthplace at Qufu, in Shandong Province, in the east of China, between Beijing and Shanghai. There are at least 1,000 cities and towns with strong links to Confucius or Confucianism throughout the country, so this could be a significant initiative.

There are some 500 major Confucianist temples in China, as well as many ancestral halls. There are also around 800 Confucianist Centres around the world, funded by the Chinese government to be centres for Chinese culture. Confucian has recently returned as the established philosophy of China in order to be a moral force, standing against corruption, nepotism and other potential problems, as described specifically in the teachings of Confucius 2,500 years ago.

Delegates include:

Dr Tong Yun Kai, DBA, MBE, Vice President of ICEA
Ai Bei - Vice President of the Culture China Foundation
Chou Chun Chi, Member of ICEA
Ren Ping, Member of ICEA
Gao Bin, Member of ICEA
Kong Lingtao
(biographies below)






What is Confucianism? Confucianism is a system of thought dating back to mythical kings in China more than 3,000 years ago but most famously taught by Kong Zi, (Master Kong better known in English as Confucius) who lived from 551 to 479 BC. He is revered in Chinese history for the moral code he taught, based on ethics, humanity, responsibility and love.

Although ancient, Confucianism is part of the thoroughly modern way China is addressing its moral issues today. It is therefore entirely contemporary, and understanding Confucianism is vital to understanding today’s China.

What does Confucianism teach about ecology? One day a disciple asked Confucius: "Is there one word that should cover the whole duty of humankind?" He replied: "Fellow-feeling, perhaps, is that word. Do not do to other people what you do not want them to do to you." And this golden rule is key to understanding the Confucian understanding of ecology.

The follower of Confucianism aspires to becoming a junzi (a sage) - a morally noble person who understands what is right and behaves accordingly. Directing this morality is the principle of ren [humanity] that should inform the relationship between people and nature, extending our filial love for parents and family to all living things. We should therefore show love and care for nature in all our dealings with it.

Confucianism emphasises the responsibility of every person to behave respectfully acting as an orderly part of a collective effort. In this way the interests of humanity are served by looking after the interests of all of nature.

Delegate biographies:

Dr TONG Yun Kai, DBA, MBE, Vice President of ICEA Dr TONG is President of the Confucian Academy. He is also Managing Director of five companies, a member of the Selection Committee of Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Vice President of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, and Vice Chairman of International Confucian Association. Dr Tong is ranked number eleven in the Precedence List in the Government of Hong Kong SAR, and has been conferred 300 honorary titles. He was awarded Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2005 for his contribution in the field of business, education, religion and sport. In the same year, he was granted the World Peace Award by the World Religion Federation in Japan. In March 2006, he was awarded by President George W. Bush of United States the President’s Award for his Educational Excellence as an Outstanding Confucian Scholar. In July 2009, Dr. Tong was awarded World Peace Grand Prize by the Lincoln Memorial Foundation for Peace. He received the high Confucius Culture prize from the Ministry of Culture of China in 2011. He was voted President of The Confucian Academy in 1992. He has donated more than HK $150 million Hong Kong dollars in promoting Confucian philosophy.

Ai Bei Mrs Ai Bei is one of the world’s leading experts on Confucianism and its social role both historically and in contemporary culture.  With her husband Professor Tu Weiming she has pioneered the reinvigoration of Confucianism both internationally and in China itself.  A leading writer and thinker she is part of the movement of recovery of Confucianism, which is helping to shape the moral and social discourse in China today. She is the vice President of the Culture China Foundation, a US foundation that promotes research and education of Chinese culture. She is also a fiction writer who has published more than 20 novels. She is the supervisor of finance of Peking University's Institute of Humanitarian Studies.

Chou Chun Chi, Member of ICEA Mr Chou is chairman of Taiwan Sinyi Group. Mr Chou has devoted himself to promoting business ethics education and establishing Chinese business philosophy. He set up the Sinyi Professorship of Chinese Management at the University of Cambridge in 1996, a Family Community Project Research Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2011, and Sinyi School at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan in 2010.

Ren Ping, Member of ICEA Mr Ren is a Confucian businessman and the CEO of Hui Ming Inc, a privately owned hydro-power company worth more than 5 billion RMB (500 million GBP). He is called 'China's King of Hydro Power'. He is also the president of Wen Lan Academy in Hangzhou and the president of Hangzhou Chamber of Commerce.

Gao Bin, Member of ICEA Mr Gao is a Confucian businessman from mainland China. He founded San Zhi Daoshang Academy (the Three Wisdoms Tao Business Academy) in Beijing to promote traditional Chinese wisdoms and ethics in China's business community.

Kong Lingtao Mr Kong is a 76th-generation direct descendant of Confucius. He is the CEO of Confucius International Education. He has been actively engaged in the promotion of Confucianism internationally and the internationalization of China's elite education through the development of the Tri-Color Education System (this system integrates Confucius Six Arts, British education and American education). Mr. Kong adheres to his inherited responsibility of promoting Confucianism by combining "Confucius Six Arts" education, aptitude-oriented teaching and leading educational resources together.

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What does Confucianism teach about ecology?
Confucian reflections about the natural world and our relationship with heaven and earth
International Confucian Ecological Alliance
The ICEA is the formal body, constituted in 2013, that will work with ARC and with the 500 Confucian temples in China on environmental action.
How ARC was formed
From its beginnings in Assisi in 1986, and later as a separate charity in 1995, how ARC grew into a worldwide network