HKS Authors

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Plato Goes to China is a study of Chinese academics and policymakers who draw on interpretations of classical texts. Among Bartsch’s themes are the ways in which Chinese thinkers seek to combine texts such as Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Ethics with Confucian ideas of, for example, harmony and benevolence. Those thinkers range from subtle and sophisticated analysts to outright political hacks, but what they have in common is a genuine belief that the worlds of Greece and (to a lesser extent) Rome produced ideas worth drawing on and fighting over, particularly when interpreting the politics of the twenty-first century.


Mitter, Rana. "Old enemies of democracy: Chinese thinkers plunder the classical world." Review of Plato Goes to China, by Shadi Bartsch. Times Literary Supplement, September 8, 2023.