• Alfonso Vagnone’s educational project in late Ming dynasty and his education of children (Tongyou Jiaoyu)

      Meynard, Thierry (Macau Ricci Institute, 2018)
      With the foundation of the college of Messina in Sicily in 1548, the Society of Jesus began its direct involvement with education. In the last decade of the Ming dynasty, the Italian Jesuit Alfonso Vagnone (1566-1640) developed an educational project with the help of Chinese scholars. His project was not exclusively focused on Christian communities but concerned the whole of society and involved a broad array of issues. This paper will analyse the core objectives of his educational project and discuss its relevance today.
    • Angel or demon? The ethics of online peer-to-peer lending firms

      Xu, Helen (Macau Ricci Institute, 2018)
      Online Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending schemes began to flourish in China in 2015. This lending model, where lender and borrower could do transactions without involving banking institutions, was welcomed by many start-ups and entrepreneurs because it provided an effective solution for reaching borrowers directly. One of these borrower classes was college students. Campus loans, facilitated through P2P platforms, quickly became popular. However, after a series of university scandals, questions emerged as to the morality of the industry and the responsibility of the P2P platforms within it to guard against abuses inflicted upon college students and the borrower market as a whole.
    • 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.
    • Architectural styles and identities in Hong Kong: The Chinese and Western designs for St Teresa’s Church in Kowloon Tong, 1928–32

      Coomans, Thomas; Ho, Puay-peng (2018)
      In 1928, the Dutch monk-artist Fr Adelbert Gresnigt was asked to make sketches for the new parish church of St Teresa’s in Kowloon Tong, which would become the Catholic monument of the new urban developments of the British colony. He sketched a Chinese-style church and a Western style one. The former was promoted by Mgr Celso Costantini in the context of the sinicisation of the Catholic Church in China, but the latter was finally chosen by the Portuguese parishioners and benefactors, who were not concerned with Catholic inculturation. At the crossing of Prince Edward Road and Waterloo Road, they preferred to see a tower like St Mark’s Campanile of Venice rather than a Chinese pagoda. The article contextualises St Teresa’s church in the ‘Catholic cluster’ of Kowloon Tong in the 1930s, where Italian, French and American missionaries built schools, residences and a hospital in different styles that expressed their national identities. Furthermore, the article sheds new light on the authorship of St Teresa’s plans and on the role of the Belgian company Crédit Foncier d’Extrême-Orient and architect Gabriel Van Wylick in the real estate investments of Catholic missionary societies.
    • Are we educating those who need education? Educating the “70’s” (the 70% who don’t attend college)

      Geinzer, Eugene Michael (Macau Ricci Institute, 2018)
      While the technological age proposes that synchronous communication, a myriad of digital applications, aided by artificial intelligence will equip, employ and satisfy large populations, a much greater population has been left ‘un-equipped’, unemployed and very unhappy. Many have tinkered with the system, provided safety nets and re-trained displaced employees. But these strategies, as good as they are, fail to tackle the essential problem: that education has failed to provide each human person with the personal insights and world perspective and basic skills to confidently navigate turbulent cultural-financial-technological eras. This paper, after briefly examining several “coping” models, sets forth an old but renewed model of education that enables the person to become self-actualized and self-reflective in an increasingly alienating age of digital devices. In fact, this paper tries to engage those very tools of alienation by employing them to teach people how to use technology to humanise themselves.
    • Art from the inside : seeing and being

      Corbett, Mary Simon (Macau Ricci Institute, 1989)
    • Art, culture, and resonance in the Jesuit mission in China

      Urrows, David Francis (Macau Ricci Institute, 2018)
      The beginning of the Modern era (ca. 1400) was marked by two great shifts: the start of the global age of empire building, and of large-scale population movements around the world. As more people travelled for longer distances, art and culture increasingly moved with them. This began an accelerated process of inter- and intracultural exchange. European art and culture, which formerly had been a part of territories and landscapes exclusive to Europe, now ‘territorialized’ parts of non-European lands from the sixteenth century onward. The Jesuit missions in Asia not only brought Western architecture, music, poetry, and painting (and the integral aesthetic that went along with these modes) but also established an enduring resonance of these things. This paper explores resonance as an example of how East and West have always found meeting points in the arts, even when other media and discourses proved not to be compatible.
    • The artistry of God

      Knott, Peter (Macau Ricci Institute, 2009)
    • Attributes of moral leadership: eight encounters along the Silk Road

      O'Brien, Roderick (Macau Ricci Institute, 2019)
      The exercise of moral leadership within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not merely a theoretical study. Rather, the exercise of moral leadership is something that happens, and thus can be described. What would good moral leadership look like? This paper examines the writing of eight personalities along the BRI to identify some of the attributes of moral leadership. The attributes identified here are reciprocity, good governance, transparency, ethical credibility, respect, integrity, humanity, and trust. The eight personalities come from a variety of occupations, and from Asia and Europe. This survey is limited, yet it provides a useful beginning for wider examination.
    • Axial age, China and the meaning of transcendence

      Vendé, Yves (Macau Ricci Institute, 2018)
      The notion of an Axial Age shaped by Karl Jaspers after the World War II has been evaluated in various ways within the field of intellectual history, not only in the West but also in China: concretely can this concept be applied to Chinese tradition and if so, what does it mean in Chinese culture? Specialists on China in the West have different answers to these questions. Following the translation of Jaspers’ book into Chinese, several Chinese scholars have integrated this concept of an Axial Age in their reflections about Chinese Antiquity. This concept of an Axial Age matters because this concept affirms humanity’s universal openness to transcendence. However, because this notion was argued in a Western context, it always possesses the risk of projecting foreign constructions on Chinese tradition. From a Chinese perspective, it has to be reconstructed taking into consideration the specificities of Chinese tradition and the ways Chinese scholars speak about it, if it is to suggest a universal claim.
    • The Belt and Road initiative : opportunities and challenges

      Thompson, Mike (Macau Ricci Institute, 2019)
      This paper begins by setting out the vision for the renaissance of the New Silk Road as the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013 and picks out a theme of moral leadership in Xi’s speeches. The opportunities for a Chinese approach to the Common Good are contrasted with six major challenges to Xi’s aspirations for the BRI as a pathway leading to friendship, shared development and peace. The Silk Road has a rich history across Asian civilisations with earliest records of it dating from the Han dynasty (207 BCE–220 CE). Over the centuries, the Silk Road has not only opened up a path for trade with silk as currency but also great opportunities for cross-cultural understanding and relations. The Silk Road has provided a means for the transmission of art, science and cultural and religious exchange. The BRI essentially promotes a regenerated Silk Road of infrastructural connectivity within and across China’s borders. It brings together the “Silk Road Economic Belt” of roads, railways and industrial corridors and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” expanding through upgraded ports. The BRI extends beyond ports, railways and highways to other major types of infrastructure including oil and gas pipelines, electricity power plants and telecommunications networks. Construction of the $68 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor creates a major highway running from the deep-water port of Gwadar in Pakistan to the city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang region of China, improving connectivity between the two countries and offering central and western China more direct access to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Projects are also underway in several of the other corridors. As the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has pointed out, the BRI is “more of a sweeping vision” than “an operational blueprint,” though it is far more credible and tangible than sceptics might like to believe (Johnson, 2016). A starting point for this enquiry inevitably begins with the plans originally set out by President Xi Jinping and China’s State Council in 2015. This paper aims to report Xi’s comments as an observer rather than as a critic following Watson (1994) to overcome externally imposed meaning and to appreciate other people’s realities.
    • The Case for God: what Religion really means

      Hart, Christopher (Macau Ricci Institute, 2009)