Source: NYT (10/19/17)
Forget Marx and Mao. Chinese City Honors Once-Banned Confucian.
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By IAN JOHNSON
GUIYANG, China — Nearly 500 years after he died, the Chinese philosopher Wang Yangming once again wielded a calligraphy brush, carefully daubed it into a tray of black ink and elegantly wrote out his most famous phrase: “the unity of knowledge and action.”
A crowd murmured its approval as his assistant held up the paper for all to see.
“I respect Wang Yangming from the bottom of my heart!” blurted Cao Lin, 69, a retiree.
Watching the scene unfold was Zhou Ying, who manages Wang — or at least a very realistic robot that not only looks like Wang but is able to imitate his calligraphy and repeat more than 1,000 of his aphorisms.
“This is exactly what we’re hoping to achieve with the robot,” Ms. Zhou said as Wang began writing another saying. “We feel this is a way to get people interested in these old ideas.”
Promoting these old ideas has been a priority for President Xi Jinping, who has rekindled enthusiasm for traditional culture as part of a broader push to fill what many Chinese see as their country’s biggest problem: a spiritual void caused by its headlong pursuit of prosperity. Continue reading