By Joel Fetzer, J Christopher Soper

Responding to the “Asian values” debate over the compatibility of Confucianism and liberal democracy, Confucianism, Democratization, and Human Rights in Taiwan, by means of Joel S. Fetzer and J. Christopher Soper, bargains a rigorous, systematic research of the contributions of Confucian concept to democratization and the safety of girls, indigenous peoples, and press freedom in Taiwan. depending upon a different mix of empirical research of public opinion surveys, legislative debates, public college textbooks, and interviews with best Taiwanese political actors, this crucial examine files the altering function of Confucianism in Taiwan’s contemporary political heritage. whereas the ideology mostly strengthened authoritarian rule some time past and performed little position in Taiwan’s democratization, the assumption approach is now within the strategy of remodeling itself in a pro-democratic path. not like those that argue that Confucianism is inherently authoritarian, the authors contend that Confucianism is able to a number of interpretations, together with ones that valid democratic varieties of govt. At either the mass and the elite degrees, Confucianism is still a robust ideology in Taiwan regardless of or perhaps as a result island’s democratization. Borrowing from Max Weber’s sociology of faith, the writers offer a particular theoretical argument for a way an ideology like Confucianism can at the same time accommodate itself to modernity and stay trustworthy to its middle teachings because it decouples itself from the nation. In doing so, Fetzer and Soper argue, Confucianism is behaving very similar to Catholicism, which moved from a place of ambivalence or perhaps competition to democracy to at least one of complete help. the result of this learn have profound implications for different Asian international locations akin to China and Singapore, that are additionally Confucian yet haven't but made an entire transition to democracy.

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Eventually, their political influence increased enough to allow them to pass such landmark gender-related legislation as the 2002 Gender Equality in Employment Act and the 2000 revisions to the Republic of China Constitution. This latter amendment provided that “The State shall protect the dignity of women, safeguard their personal safety, eliminate sexual discrimination, and further substantive gender equality” (Government Information Office 2009:532). Given the anti-women legacy of the Neo-Confucian tradition, it is not particularly surprising that the people most active on issues of women’s rights in Taiwan uniformly reject the idea that the Confucian tradition, or Confucianism as an ideology, aids their effort.

The recent initiatives toward state recognition of indigenous peoples are understood as a decisive break from the Confucian, imperialist past and toward a “western,” pluralistic future. Women’s Rights and Confucianism Nothing in the Analects, The Great Learning, or The Doctrine of the Mean explicitly promotes gender equality. Even as staunch and persuasive a defender of Confucianism as Wm. Theodore de Bary (1998:156) has questioned whether the Confucian record on the treatment of women provides any opportunity to make a case for western notions of gender rights.

The government established the Women’s Rights Promotion Committee under the Executive Yuan, city governments allocated budgets for women’s services, and women’s groups successfully lobbied the government to revise the legal code in a more equitable direction. After a nearly decade-long effort, in 2002 the government passed the Gender Equality in Employment Act, which laid an important foundation for women’s rights (Ko 2002). The Democratic Progressive Party has been particularly active in courting voters on gender issues.

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