Huang Zongxi as a Republican : A Theory of Governance for Confucian Democracy

Elton CHAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Confucianism has been historically intertwined with authoritarianism in general and monarchy in specific. Various contemporary attempts to reconcile Confucianism with democracy have yielded controversial results mostly due to the theoretical tension between the authoritarian character of the former and the liberal one of the latter. This article seeks to develop an alternative route to Confucian democracy by drawing from Huang Zongxi’s 黃宗羲 Waiting for the Dawn: A Plan for the Prince (Mingyi Daifang Lu 明夷待訪錄). In this well-known work, Huang argues for a form of limited government that is built upon laws, political protection of academic freedom, good institutional designs, and separation of governmental powers. While these features seem to qualify Huang only as a defective liberal, this article argues that they are in much coherence with the insights of republicanism concerning good governance. This article will argue that the republican themes embodied in Waiting for the Dawn can justify and support a particular form of Confucian republican democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-218
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Early online date2 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Confucianism
  • Constitutionalism
  • Democracy
  • Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲
  • Republicanism
  • Waiting for the Dawn


Dive into the research topics of 'Huang Zongxi as a Republican : A Theory of Governance for Confucian Democracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this