A NEW GENERATION OF CHINESE LEADERS: PERCEPTIONS AND COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF VALUES
Linehan, Paul Michael
The resurgence of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism in the context of Chinese leadership values has emerged as a nucleus of a new generation of leaders. The once-in-a-decade transition of China's leadership in 2013 witnessed the ascendency of a consensus-oriented fifth generation of leaders whose priority may likely include the reconciliation of a waning communist ideology juxtaposed with its ostensible embrace of capitalism. How will Chinese Communist Party authority, ideology, and leaders address the encroachment of capitalism and attendant Western values of freedom and democracy, which could potentially threaten to undermine the Chinese Communist Party leadership legitimacy and ultimately its ability to control its society and people?This thesis examines the role of traditional Chinese values, ideology, and philosophy as key determinants in modern China's leadership succession, and demonstrates how Chinese leaders are advancing these values to establish leadership legitimacy and Chinese social, cultural, and historical pride. It is the assertion of this thesis that, as communism wanes in prominence as a leading governing ideology, Chinese leaders will advance their Chinese traditional values to preserve harmony in Chinese society, and strengthen Chinese prominence and greatness in the world.The research of this thesis will assess that Chinese leaders' promotion of its own traditional values in rejecting foreign value influence is a means to accentuate pride in Chinese values as a viable and culturally accordant alternative to Western claims of absolute and universally accepted values.Specifically, it is the traditional value systems of Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism that are fundamental underpinnings for China's leadership that justify China's social and cultural greatness and demonstrate that Chinese human values and character factors have risen in prominence as a key element in the mandate of governance and leadership.This research concludes that Chinese leadership values and its study and diffusion across wide sectors of Chinese leadership - including business, organizations, and government - have become a means to accentuate pride in Chinese values as a viable alternative to Western claims of absolute and universally accepted values.
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