Report on 2013 Summer Trip to China
By Meijun Fan
This trip was full of excitements and very fruitful, on which we went to Beijing, Harbin, Changchun, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Chongqing, Songyuan, Tianjin, and Yongji, and 9 conferences and one summer academy were held, a dozen lectures were delivered, a new process center named “Center for Process Philosophy and System Management Studies” was established in Guangzhou, plus an interview by Chinese Social Sciences News.
We have been working on our project for more than ten years, now we can see some flowers blooming, some seeds growing during our trip. We can find our former process summer academies students or the visiting scholars no matter wherever we went. More and more people talk about Constructive Postmodernism and process thought. At the end of our trip, we were told by our Chinese friends that Peking University Prof. Yijie Tang\\\’s comments on constructive postmodernism and second enlightenment, which translated and publisher in Process Perspectives was selected as \\\”The Most Valuable Theoretical Point of View in 2012\\\” by People Forum Poll Research Center . According to Prof. Yang, “In the end of last Century, Constructive Postmodernism based on process philosophy proposed integrating the achievements of the first enlightenment and postmodernism, and called for the Second Enlightenment. the Two broadly influential movements in China today: 1) “The zeal for traditional culture”; and 2) “Constructive Postmodernism.”. If these two trends can combined organically under the guidance of Marxism, not only take root in China, but further develop so that with comparative ease, China can complete its “First Enlightenment” in realizing its modernization, and also very quickly enter into the “Second Enlightenment” and become the standard-bearer of a postmodern society.
—Yijie Tang， Professor of Philosophy Department, Peking University
We feel very happy about this. But we know clearly that this achievement could not be accomplished without your continuous and powerful support. We feel very grateful to all of you.
Now I would like to arrange my report briefly in chronological order.
May 20, “Conference on Process Thought and Transdisciplinarity”, Beijing Normal University. 30 scholars from different universities attended this conference. Jay, Farza a process friend from York Yok University delivered lectures at this conference. Jay’s paper, Beyond 42 Discipline interested the audience deeply. An editor from Guangming Daily, the number 2 largest newspaper in China wanted to publish it.
At the end of the conference all of the participants were invited by Sheri Liao to visit her Beijing Global Village.
May 21-28, 8th Process Summer Academy, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin.
Dr. Jay McDaniel led this summer academy. Dr. Kevin Clark, Zhihe, Fubin Yang and I played his assistant. This team work went very well.
In order to reward their hard work, Harbin Institute of Technology granted Jay and Kevin guest professors.
30 persons participated in this summer academy. There were many stories happened during the academy. There was one family that we called “process family” because their whole family came, the mother, Prof. Yang Li, the father, dean Wen Hengfu, both of them from Harbin Normal University, and their son who has been working on IT business participated in the academy from beginning to the end. A Taiwanese scholar who identified himself a true Marxist also joined this academy. In the beginning, he liked to argue with us, but we built a good relationship with him and he admires what we are doing for the common good. There were four students who had oversea learning experience so their English were very good. They helped the classes a lot with their translation skill. Xuan Pan was one of them and she told us at the end that her mom wanted to join our next year’s summer academy since she kept sharing her experience with her mom and telling her mom how wonderful and attractive process thought was.
May 23, Jay addressed his lecture on Chinese and American Dream to Heilongjiang
Party School. We were told by the president Guosheng Zhang of the school that Jay was the first foreign scholar who was invited to speak there.
300 officials listened to his lecture and a very good discussion was followed.
May 25, Jay delivered a public evening lecture on the same topic at HIT, which was very well received.
May 29-30, International Conference on “Constructive Postmodernism and Chinese Dream”, Harbin, 30 participants from Hebei, Tianjin, Nanjing, Beijing, Jiangsu, Jilin, Harbin, and Hunan provinces attended this conference. Among them seven were deans from our process centers in different universities like Dean Bao from Shanghai Center.
Jay stressed in his lecture “American Dream and Chinese Dream—A constructive postmodern Perspective” that Chinese dream and American dream should learn each other, enrich each other with the help of constructive postmodernism in order to promote the world toward peaceful and sustainable direction. To Dean Hengfu Wen, Chinese dream is both a modern dream and a postmodern dream. Constructive postmodernism provides Chinese people with “positive energy” for realizing Chinese dream by “providing rich, profound, and practical wisdom.”
May 30, The Interview Came out
Fang Xie, “Process Philosophy can be greatly compatible with Chinese Traditional Philosophy.” China Social Sciences News, May 30, 2013.
This interview was done during we were in Beijing.
The reporter respectively interview Jay, Zhihe, Dean Yang, and me.
May 31, Constructive Postmodernism and Ecological Marxism— Creating am Ecological Jilin.” Changchun University of Science and Technology, Changchun, Jilin.
Our host is Changchun University of Sciences and Technology. They made this event happened only in 15 days because they really wanted to have this conference in their
school during we were in China. Dean Zhang Shudong is an influential scholar. She invited her president, provincial education department leaders and distinguished from other universities such as Jilin university participated this conference. Plus
students, some 300 people attended this conference. A young female professor from Northeast Normal University told the audience in her lecture that she started to get to know process thought and constructive postmodernism via the lectures delivered by Philip Clayton and Zhihe Wang in 2011 in her school.
It sounds she understands Whitehead thought very well. Jay, Kevin, Zhihe, Constance from Northern Arizona University, Dean Fubin Yang, and I gave our lectures at the conference. They were very well received according to my feeling.
Again, this case showed that there are two conditions making a thing happen in China,
one is that they really want, the second is that they have capacity and resources that can make a thing happens. In this case, dean Zhang really wanted to us to come to her school and she has capacity and resources. She and her school also expressed their desire to establish a center on constructive postmodernism and Ecological Marxism. They
expect that we can come next year.
June 1 Wang family Dinner in Beijing
As usual, We had a wang family dinner in a famous Muslin restaurant in Beijing, Zhihe’s
family and many process friends came to dinner. We met many old friends and new friends there. People chat, danced and sang. It was a fantastic evening!
June 2, 7th International Symposium on Whitehead Wisdom Education. Beijing, Beijing Normal University.
About 50 kindergarten teachers, directors and educators from some universities such as Women University via Teresa Wilson’s introduction participated in this conference. Prof. Constance, Jay, Kevin, Prof. Xiaoting Liu, Lizhi Wang, Dean Yang, Zhihe and addressed our talks at this conference.
June 3-5, International conference on Process Philosophy and Chan Buddhism, Shanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China
This was first conference held in China on this subject. The conference explored the deep convergences between process philosophy and Chinese Chan Buddhism.
Jay gave a talk on, Kevin gave a talk in ecological no self.
Zhihe and Prof. Yansheng Wu, one of the top Buddhist scholars in China as well as director of Buddhism Institute of Shanxi Normal University, worked together to proposed a concept called Process Zen. From their point of view, Chinese Chan Buddhism is proceesive in the real sense; process philosophy can provide a philosophical foundation for such a process Zen.
Different from Modern Zen that put too much emphasis on emptiness, process Zen put emphasis on compassion by revealing the inner connections between Wan Wu(ten thousands things). They believe that Process Zen can play a crucial role in healing modern disease and creating an ecological civilization.
Applying process zen to daily life, Prof. Wu criticized “modern hurriedness” by telling a story: A western visitor ask an old Chinese lady in Lijiang why Lijiang people lead such a life of ease and leisure. What is the destination of life ? She asked the visitor. “grave” answered the visitor. “Since the final destination of life is grave, why hurry to die? “
Dean Zushe Yuan who used to participate in Beijing conference in 2002 and also sent his PhD. Student Hui Dong to Claremont made a highly comments on this conference. According to his observation, almost all process thinkers and constructive postmodernists have a devoting spirit. He highly admired it.
June 4 a visit to Xi’an Joutong University Since our Xian Process center is affiliated in Xi’an Joutong Univ, a top Chinese university, we paid a visit to the center and had a small nice meeting with the center’s staff including Dean Jianqun Li, director, director. We also saw two former process summer academy students, Rong Ren and Wei Wang who are now professors here.
Xian Center express their desire to have more cooperation with us such as sending their
teachers to CPS or CLU, inviting process scholars to teach in their school for a short
June 6, Conference on Process Philosophy and System Management and the Opening Ceremony of Guangzhou Center. South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.
This was the first conference on this subject in China.
Philip Clayton attended this conference and cut ribbon for this new Process Center.
Both the conference and the ceremony went very well.
Vice President Hong Zhu chaired the event, Philip Clayton and President Ming Liu cut ribbon for this new Process Center. Philip Clayton, and President Ming Liu, Jun Yang, director of provincial education, Xiaoting Liu, vice chairperson of China Society of Nature Dialectics, respectively addressed their congratulation remarks. 300 school leaders, faculty, and students participated in this event.
Phil, Jay and Zhihe delivered lectures at this event.
A distinguished professor named Huaxia Zhang from Sun Yat-sen University joined the whole process. He is a pioneer in process studies in China, who authored a book titled Reality and Process long ago. He felt excited about the blooming of process thought in China. He was convinced that the 21 century will be Whitehead Century as well as China.
During the conference, we also had a seminar with some school faculty.
Phil, Jay, Kevin, Zhihe and I tooks some questions from them.
June 7-8, International conference on Constructive Postmodernism and the Whole Person Education, United International College, Zhuhai, China.
The host of the conference is United International College, Zhuhai. UIC is a new form of colleges in China. It is managed by Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University. The main organizer of the conference is a young Proffessor, Haipeng Guo who was the winner of 6th Process Summer Academy.
60 educators participated in this conference including Vice President Cong Zhang, Assistant president Huanxian Chen. The conference also attracted the local education community. A group of Middle school and elementary school teachers and principals led by vice director Fengyun Cao attended this conference.
Phil’s talk on “Cultivating Postmodern Persons”, Jay’s talk on “Whole Person Education: East and West”, Kevin’s “Ecological No self and education”, Zhihe’s “Second Enlightenment calls for an Emphatic Education”, my “Toward an integrative Education.” Were very well received. In addition, Peter Guss from Hendrix College introduced the Odyssey Project in Hendrix, and Haipeng introduced the whole person education in UIC.
He regarded UIC’s the whole person education as “a Chinese version of constructive postmodern education experiment.”
At the end of the conference, one of UIC leaders, director Zhang expressed the school’s interest in establishing a process center in the school.
June 9, Phi and Zhihe lectured at South-China Univ. of Sciences and Technology.
After Jay, Kevin left for the State, Phil, Zhihe and I went to South-China Univ. of Sciences and Technology where they were invited to deliver lectures.
June 12, Tianjin Trip
Since Tianjin Center hoped we could visit them and discuss our future cooperation, so Zhihe, Prof. Genlong Meng and I went to Tianjin Normal University and also delivered talks there.
It was a traditional Chinese holiday, but teachers and students were called back to school
for our coming. After our talks, a wonderful lunch with the school leaders and
professors followed. Some of them were the students of our process summer academies or our visiting scholars. After lunch, we went to visit Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city where is about one hour drive from the old town. This eco-city is a fruit of the cooperation between Chinese government and Singapore government, whose vision is to be a thriving city which is socially harmonious, environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient.
Now it is still in process of construction. When completed around 2020, it will have an estimated 350,000 residents, we were told.
June 17-20 Chongqing
After Tianjin trip, Sheri Liao invited us to Chongqing where is my hometown. She wanted us to meet some people there for potential cooperation in future.
June 17-18 visit Southwest University. We had a process education center there.
Prof. Zhao and a young teacher, Candy Li, who was a student of our 1st summer academy in 2006, another student from this year summer academy, treated us very well.
Appling Whitehead’s idea in to their studies, now their center is proposing a idea of big aesthetic education by bringing beauty into education.
We think this is an important part of second enlightenment.
Next morning they took us to Lu Zuofu’s museum. Mr. Lu was a very important person in Chinese history of city and country development. He is pioneer of this process. Along with Yan Yangchu (Y. C. James Yen), Tao Xinzhi and Liang Shuming in the beginning of 20th century, he was a great figure in that period for China country development. Sheri Liao and Wen Tiejun (the sixth winner of John B Cobb Award for Common Good) and others conceived them as pioneers of China’s rural construction movement. Given the importance of agriculture for ecological civilization, now both Liao and Wen decided to move their major focus on Chongqing.
We met my brothers and sister and their family in Chongqing, they were happy to receive us there and we also visited my parents’ cemetery.
June 19, Zhihe addressed a lecture on Second Enlightenment and ecological civilization at Chongqing Univ.
June 20 Meeting with Sheri Liao and dean Li from Chongqing Univ.
Of Business and Industry for the future cooperation. Li expressed her interest in establishing a process center in her school.
June 22-23, Songyuan Trip
One of our friends in Beijing suggested us to visit City of Shongyuan so we spent two days in Shongyuan, a small beautiful city of Jilin province. We met new people there and
they wanted us to give them some suggestions how to build their city in an ecological way. They treated us like an expert who we really are not, we are just process scholars. But all of us, Zhihe, Prof. Meng and I tried our best to let them understand our ideas how to understand the world. We also gave them some specific suggestions how to build their city ecologically from our perspective.
June 24 Meeting with Publisher of HIT Press
We have been planning to publish a translation book series on constructive postmodernism. Dean Tao Yang at HIT strong recommended publishing this series in HIT Press since we have a process center at HIT, so he arranged a meeting for us. With the head of HIT press and his four colleagues for discussion.
July 3, Beijing
Today is Zhihe’s mom passing away three years. His whole family held a ceremony in memory of her. So we flied back to Beijing from Harbin to join this event.
July 5, High-Level Forum on “Green Development and Beautiful China”, Diaoyutai State Guesthouse
Zhihe and I were invited to this forum by our Central Party School Partner Prof. Zhao Jianjun. Zhao and his team came to Claremont in 2012 for their national important grant program on green development. A fruit of this project is the new book,
Green Development and Innovation from a Global Perspective published in 1023, in which, our team contributed 6 papers (Dr. Cobb, Clifford Cobb, David Schwerin, Lisa, Zhihe and mine). Another fruit is the book Ecological Civilization Opens up a new Era which just came out before the forum. So this forum was also a celebration for the new book. 200 persons including some high officials such as Guizhou Governor and Yunnan Governor participated in this event. Zhihe on behalf of IPDC, was invited to deliver a speech at this event.
July 6, Conference on Rural Civilization and Ecological Civilization, Chinese Academy
of Governance, Beijing.
Invited by Zhang Xiaode, professor of Chinese Academy of Governance, who was one of the keynote speakers at our 7th Eco civilization forum in 2013, Zhihe and I participated in this conference. Prof. Wen Tiejun, the recipient of 6th John Cobb Common Good Award and some other leading figures in rural construction also participated in this meeting and gave their talks. Zhihe and I gave our talks also. IPDC was invited to cosponsor their future international conference on this subject.
July 7-8 Visit Po Han community, Yongji, Shanxi
We felt excited to find this community thru Prof. Zhang’s introduction and decided to visit there. But I could not make it due to my back problem. Zhihe and Ms. Xiaomin Lv, a former process summer academy student went on their way.
The Po Han community covers two towns, 43 villages and has 3,865 members now. This is a comprehensive large-scale community promoting organic agriculture. So far they have planted 9000 acres of organic crops. Another important goal of providing community service is is achieved by establishing the elderly Leisure Services Division, Women\\\’s Cultural Activities Center Health Association and the education of children, community peasants schools, eco-homes (five sections consisting of public service class segment). The founder of the community is Zheng Bing who was an elementary school teacher 13 year ago. She insists on balancing the two aspects of community: the economic and the cultural. For her, economic activities provide financial support for cultural activities. In turn, “the cultural events help enhance members cohesion, to energize for economic development.” Zheng Bing told Zhihe. One of the most interesting programs Zhihe visited is Day care center for aged people. They come to the center at 8, and go home at 5. At the center they sing, tell stories, drawing, waiving, massaging each other, look very happy. “Do you complain about your in law when you are here?” Zhihe asked the 19 persons in one village day care center, among them 18 are women.
“The number one rule here is never complaining and always speak and think nice things.” They answered.
As usual, we got many treats on this trip we didn’t get enough rest because it was really
difficult to decline those invitations from the students and the friends. Poor Jay and Kevin, they even didn’t have time to do their laundry.
The other good news is that Qinghai Normal University is interested in establishing a process center there. So far we don’t have center in so far western area.
Plus the Chongqing center and Zhuhai Center, we have three potential centers waiting for us.
Also, we got a request from our Chinese partners about establishing a process or organic Marxism school.
As a matter of fact, process thinkers and constructive postmodern thinkers have been regarded by some Chinese Marxists as “a branch of Contemporary Western Marxism”
No matter we like it or not.
How to respond this request is a challenge facing us.