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Let Chinese voices about Daoist philosophy to be heard in the west: BNU Associate Professor Thomas Michael

Editor's Note: The 2023 Beijing Culture Forum, the second of its kind, will kick off in the Chinese capital on September 14. The two-day event focuses on advancing fine culture and promoting exchanges and will see a main forum, five sub-forums, and several related cultural activities. GDToday is presenting a series of interviews with cultural celebrities to give you a glimpse of the upcoming forum and the latest cultural developments in China.

Thomas Michael, Associate Professor at the School of Philosophy, Beijing Normal University (BNU), said he has many colleagues at different universities throughout China who are also philosophers of Daoism. These Daoist philosophers are able to publish their works in English for Western journals and book publishers. “This has allowed Chinese voices about Daoist philosophy to be heard in the West,” Michael pointed out.

Michael has been studying Chinese philosophy and Daoist philosophy since he was still in America. After he moved to Beijing, he befriended many Chinese professors of Daoism who taught him an entirely new way to think about Daoism. Therefore, he brought his Western experience of Daoist philosophy to Beijing and got the Chinese thinking about Daoism here, the two of which have merged together in his mind now.

“Because of the way that Westerners think about these books, Confucius, ‘Dao De Jing’, any of these books, is very different from the way Chinese people think about it because of our different educational systems,” Michael responded by asking, “But when we bring them together, then we can make even more great strides.”

Michael also recalled that one of the great Chinese scholars of Daoist philosophy at Peking University got to know about his book and helped him translate it into Chinese. He believes that this is not about himself, but about bringing scholars together to share philosophy.

Reporter: Monica

Editor: Olivia, Nan, James

Video provided to GDToday

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