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You’ve heard of Confucius—but what about the minds shaping China’s future?

How can so large a country be made coherent? What is its story? And how can it balance individual opportunity with collective harmony? Meet the minds who made, and are making, China

By Rana Mitter   June 2018

The thinkers who shaped China's past—and those who will shape its future. Illustration: Nick Taylor

The minds who shaped the past

Confucius Philosopher (551-479BC)

The most influential Chinese person of all time, Confucius was the moral philosopher who gave China some of its most enduring markers of identity. Confucius lived at a time when the rulers of China’s small kingdoms were at constant war with one another. He advocated an alternative to force: rituals and ethical behaviour. There had to be order in society, which, for him, meant control…

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