Shan Chun

Document Type



The transformation of Chinese cosmopolitanism (tian xia) from the meaning of geographic space in the time of “Five Emperors (wu di) and Three Dynasties (san dai )” to the universal ethics based on human-heartedness (ren ) in the time of the Qin and Han witnesses a critical change in the making of the Chinese people. The importance of Chinese cosmopolitanism is seen in its role in the preservation of a unified Chinese territory and in the integration of the Chinese people. Chinese cosmopolitanism also gave rise to an ethical liberalism of the Chinese style, sustaining Chinese people in their social lives and cultivating their individual achievements. Chinese cosmopolitanism does not only reflect the geographical and ethical experiences of Chinese people that originated in their “Families (jia)” at the stage of patriarchal society, but also symbolizes the Chinese people in their acknowledging of the wider “geographic world” and developing universal values over more than two-thousand years. During the current age of globalization we should aim at mutual communication and benefit between human-heartedness (ren) combined with rites (li, or proper conduct), as exhibited in Chinese cosmopolitanism, and universal human rights as exhibited in world pacifism.