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  • Interview with Professors Margit Osterloh and Bruno S. Frey

    Rothlin, Stephan (Macau Ricci Institute, 2019)
  • Is the Belt and Road initiative in Africa sustainable?

    Nwachukwu, Francis C. (Macau Ricci Institute, 2019)
    In 2000, the China-Africa relationship was further strengthened with the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The FOCAC offers a platform for consultation and cooperation mechanisms aimed at deepening diplomatic, security, trade and investment relations between China and African countries. Later came the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, an international trade network initiated by China that connects the three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. The BRI focuses on the following key areas: cultural exchange; policy coordination; facilities connectivity; trade and investment; and financial integration. The BRI shares development objectives similar to those of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In fact, the BRI implements part of the SDGs and provides a practical mechanism to strengthen the Sino-Africa relationship, which Africa can leverage to meet its Sustainable Goals. Africa is linked through the “Road” of the BRI plan and has received infrastructural projects funded by China to facilitate trade and integration of the national economies along the trading route. Through the establishment of Economic and Trade Zones which attracts investments from Chinese companies, and building infrastructures such as sea ports and railways, China through the BRI framework is helping Africa meet UN SGD Goal 9 concerning industry, innovation and infrastructure. A practical effect is that the BRI is helping African countries overcome the infrastructure gap, create jobs, acquire skills and promote integration between countries.
  • The spiritual principles indispensable for the BRI construction

    Yang, Hengda (Macau Ricci Institute, 2019)
    The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China is now being carried out. The preparation for BRI is rich and sufficient. At the same time to achieve its material goals, the issue of values, ethics and spiritual principles is more and more attracting people’s attention. President Xi advocates the spirit of the Silk Road and its intensive cultivation in the humanistic fields and cooperation among the humanities. His dream of a “community of shared interests, destiny and responsibility” will benefit mankind not only on the material side, but also on the spiritual side. The spiritual benefits especially will make the achievements of the BRI permanent. We therefore need to clarify the spiritual principles indispensable for the BRI construction, to help people all over the world to explore points of convergence with their own values, ethics, and spiritual beliefs, and invite them to unite in achieving the commonwealth state or grand harmony as advocated by Confucianism, that bears a family resemblance with the perspective advocated by the Parliament of World Religion’s 1993 Declaration toward a Global Ethic. Although the values are drawn from various cultural and political backgrounds that differ in thousands of ways, a common basic principle can, nevertheless, be found. That means there is always the possibility for people all over the world to find something common in their spiritual need. My paper will show that the wisdom of the Confucian “junzi” ideal must play an important role in the formation of appropriate spiritual principles for BRI construction and the community of shared interests, destiny and responsibility.
  • Painting spiritual friendship : Giuseppe Castiglione and three emperors of China

    Andersson, Michelle Mope (Macau Ricci Institute, 2019)
    This paper examines the dynamic of spiritual friendship between the Jesuit painter Giuseppe Castiglione and three emperors: Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong, who reigned in China between 1662 and 1796. Paintings, historical reference and the poetic calligraphy which the emperor added with his own brush to Castiglione’s paintings, corroborate the notion of a deep friendship, one that is spiritual, in the way that spiritual friendship is defined and described by the 11th century Cistercian, Aelred of Rievaulx. The role of perspective, in both its technical and its spiritual connotations, is examined in terms of classical Chinese and western European traditions in relation to the deeper interior seeing of a spiritual friend. It is argued that Castiglione came to know the heart and mind of the emperor with such empathy that he is able to paint from that shared interiority, sharing affection, joy and even sorrow, beyond words, to suffuse spiritual experience within the work of painting, brush to silk, and for the gaze of the viewer.
  • Appreciating Islamic Business Ethics

    McCann, Dennis P. (Macau Ricci Institute, 2019)
    If the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is to achieve its goals, the Chinese people and their government must recognise the importance of their own diverse wisdom traditions, for establishing peaceful and mutually beneficial relationships with the peoples and countries that lie to the West along the Silk Road. Nowhere is this more apparent than in coming to appreciate Islamic Business Ethics. As one of the greatest of the world’s religious communities, both in number of believers as well as in its influence, Islam is a faith tradition that has shaped business practices in the nations that adhere to it. This paper will explore Islamic faith and will map out what difference it makes in how Muslims think about business and market transactions. Related issues regarding the specific moral obligations all Muslims recognise as imperatives of justice and charity, will be discussed, as well as the kinds of occupations that are forbidden (Haram) and permitted (Halal), marking the path of faithfulness. This paper is offered as an appreciative introduction to Islamic business ethics, with the intent of facilitating mutual trust not only in interreligious dialogue and collaboration, but also through a realisation of the common ground upon which all wisdom traditions stand in their attempt to shape and uphold good business practices. If the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is to succeed even in its strategic economic and political goals, those promoting it must come to grips with the diverse cultures and religions that they will meet as they seek to do business abroad. Many of these cultures have been shaped by Islamic faith and practice, which is also a significant factor in the Chinese provinces west of Xi’an1. A major question for Muslims is whether China can be trusted to deal fairly with foreigners whose cultures differ significantly from China’s majority Han culture. Trust, of course, is a two-way street. If Chinese people are to respect and seek to understand the ways of their non-Chinese partners, the partners in turn must show themselves to be trustworthy. Building such trust among diverse partners requires the expansion of transparency and mutual accountability. The study of Islamic business ethics, not only in general, but also as it is interpreted in various Muslim countries, therefore ought to be an important factor in building the trust that will be required for the BRI to become a lasting success. In what follows, I will outline the principles of Islamic business ethics, showing how they are grounded in Islam’s radical monotheism, and what practical consequences they indicate for business transactions involving both Muslim and nonMuslim business partners, clients and customers. My research suggests that faith in Islam, focused on Muhammad’s revelation of Allah’s will for humanity as recorded in the Qur’an, and subsequent authoritative interpretations of it, is decisive for understanding not only the declared values enshrined in Islamic business ethics, but also the seriousness with which these are observed in Muslim business practices2. While this sketch must remain focused on the principles of Islamic business ethics—which is conventionally located in the field of normative ethics—it cannot ignore a major and apparently universal problem—studied in the field of descriptive ethics—namely, the perceived discrepancy between declared Islamic values and actual practices among Muslim business people3. The discrepancy between “what ought to be” and “what actually happens” is no more acute in Islam than in any other perspective in religious ethics. All forms of religious ethics struggle with the problem and attempt to understand it and offer concrete proposals for overcoming it. Islam may have a different explanation accounting for how the problem arises for believers, but like the others it does offer concrete steps to realign one’s conduct with one’s declared values.

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