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In 2023, Hunan TV, China’s second-most-watched television channel, unveiled a series called When Marx Met Confucius. The conceit was literal: actors playing the two thinkers—Confucius dressed in a tan robe and Karl Marx in a black suit and a leonine white wig—met at the Yuelu Academy, a thousand-year-old school renowned for its role in developing Confucian philosophy. Over five episodes, Marx and Confucius discussed the nature of politics, arriving at the conclusion that Confucianism and Marxism are compatible—or that Marx may have subconsciously drawn his theories from a Confucian well. In one episode, Marx noted that he and his companion “share a commitment to [political] stability,” adding that “in reality, I myself was Chinese for a long time,” suggesting that his thinking had always been harmonious with traditional Chinese worldviews.


Mitter, Rana. "The Real Roots of Xi Jinping Thought: Chinese Political Philosophers’ Long Struggle With Modernity." Review of The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought, by Wang Hui. ed. Michael Gibbs Hill. Foreign Affairs, 103.2, March/April 2024: 176-183.