The Impact of Confucianism and Hinduism on China–India Economic Relations

Published date01 January 2024
AuthorZhang Yang
Date01 January 2024
Subject MatterResearch Articles
International Studies
61(1) 92 –108, 2024
© 2023 Jawaharlal Nehru University
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00208817241228369
International Studies
61(1) 92 –108, 2024
© 2024 Jawaharlal Nehru University
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00208817241228369
Research Article
The Impact of
Confucianism and
Hinduism on China–
India Economic Relations
Zhang Yang1
The research focuses on the impact of culture on the economic relations of
China and India as it is reflected in economic activities mainly in Beijing, Shanghai
and New Delhi, Gurugram (Haryana) where the author conducted interviews.
This cultural analysis of the Chinese and Indian economy mainly focuses on
Confucianism and Hinduism as imperatives in economic choices. This research
is based on qualitative analysis and the use of the interdisciplinary theory of
Psycho-Culturology. It is based on the inductive method. It argues that China
attaches importance to economic development and believes that economic
development can promote peace. For China, developing the economy remains at
the centre of its foreign policies. Characteristics such as cultural confidence and
independent pursuit have essential roles reflected in India's national behaviour.
These differences have also been known to cause misperceptions and hinder the
economic relations between the two countries.
Culture, Confucianism, Hinduism, Psycho-Culturology, China–India economic
Economic development among groups of different cultures is guided by their
cultural beliefs and practices. In this article, culture is studied as thoughts, values
and ideas that were developed to deal with issues within a society. Culture means
the dominant beliefs and values of ethnic, religious and social groups (Guiso et al.,
2006, p. 23), here indicates Chinese and Indians are mainly influenced by
Confucianism and Hinduism. It is about the core values and is hardly related to
Corresponding author:
Zhang Yang, Assistant Research Fellow, National Museum of China, 16 East Chang’an Avenue,
Dongcheng District, Beijing 100006, P. R. China.
1National Museum of China, Beijing, P. R. China
Yang 93
religious rites. Culture shapes individuals’ thoughts about risk, reward and
opportunity, and cultural values form the principles around which economic activity
is organized (Lindsay, 2000, p. 282). Cultural economy helps to understand the
relations between culture and economic outcomes. It displays ‘a more cautious
analytical approach than mainstream finance and political economy’ (Gay & Pryke,
2002). In economic relations beyond groups, culture, because of the influence it
wields on interaction, is an influential factor. Yet, it is almost always ignored and
evaded often affecting the process of cross-cultural communication. It imperceptibly
causes problems and generates negative perceptions towards each other.
The current governments of China and India are both confident to revive their
traditional cultures and ethics. If the mechanism of contact to understand each
other is not established rationally and their cultures are not mutually understood,
bilateral disputes would increase.
This research focuses on the impact of culture on economic relations (mainly
within the period of 2000–2017) of China and India as reflected in economic
activities mainly in Beijing, Shanghai and New Delhi, Gurugram (Haryana)
where the author has conducted interviews. The cultural analysis of China and
India mainly focuses on Confucianism and Hinduism respectively. This research
is empirical and uses an interdisciplinary basis to test hypothesis that the cultural
differences between China and India have hindered their economic relations. This
research looks into Psycho-Culturology (Cai, 2017; Shang, 2013) to assess
various aspects of economic relations. As a theory of interpreting behaviour,
Psycho-Culturology analyses the behavioural characteristics of different
civilizations including China and India (Shang, 2013, pp. 64–67).
In China, Confucian values are an essential foundation of Chinese civilization
(Shang, 2013, p. 72). The Communist Party of China values Chinese traditional
culture in the period of 2000–2017,1 and Confucian culture is an integral part of its
socio-economic fabric. It is evident that ‘China’s dynamism is as much a function
of its burgeoning economy as of following Confucian ethics’ and the traditional
Confucian values such as harmony, hard work, austerity and peaceful development
are emphasized in the official discourse (Nuri, 2017). The revival of traditional
culture is taking place in the current period of China’s rejuvenation. The Belt and
Road Initiative (BRI) is the signal of China’s confidence rising. The Silk Road was
the commercial pathway to export China’s products in ancient times while the new
initiative is a promotional factor to export China’s technology and capital in the
modern period. It could also be seen as promoting the influence of the Chinese
value ‘Tian-xia da-tong (world-state) (CCTV News, 2018) of Confucianism.
In India, customary beliefs and values of religion are a significant part of its
culture while Hindus account for 79.8% of the population (GoI, 2011). Hindu
nationalism (Hindutva) gained strength in India with the victory of Bharatiya
Janata Party(BJP) in India’s parliamentary elections and its influence is spreading
in towns, cities as well as rural areas (Katju, 2019, p. 214). The Hindu culture in
India is strongly enforced by the current ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
(Banerjee, 2005, p. 3116), the other major, nationwide, secular, political party
Indian National Congress needs to balance its pluralism approach and accept the
reality that Hinduism as a majority force brings (Sivaswamy, 2018). It can be seen

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