L'Ancien Regime Legacy of the Chinese Governance: Grand Union and the Common Good
jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pGovernance is essentially a dynamic mechanism to promote collective action for the common good. The Chinese concept of the public/common (jats:italicgōnggòng</jats:italic>) and its political philosophy of jats:italicGrand Union</jats:italic> governance provide an alternative perspective for understanding such dynamics from the unit of family through institutions to the state-embedded society. Three critical arguments with interconnected elements are analysed: governance as a dynamic mechanism; review of the historical, philosophical and political legacy of Chinese governance; and proposal of a framework for governance of the jats:italicGrand Union</jats:italic>. It concludes that ‘Chinese characteristics’, such as diverse adaptations, gradual flexibility, experimental pragmatism, and polycentric balance with a strong central state are all deeply rooted in its pre-revolutionary jats:italicancien régime</jats:italic>. In order to understand these seemingly different institutions and values, we need to revisit their original functionality of governing for the common good.</jats:p>
Acknowledgements: The author would like to express her deepest appreciation to Professor Peter Nolan for his invaluable comments and suggestions made over the years.