我们需要来一场赛先生（Mr. Science）和德先生（Mr. Democracy）的新辩论。赛先生必须涵盖信息科技、人工智慧和生物科技的革命对人类社会道德的新挑战。德先生有必要认清国内与国际间政治和经济领域竞争的极限。在特定的时空里保持妥善的平衡，是一种政治艺术。
After a hundred years, world conditions have changed dramatically. China, from being downtrodden by the major powers is now increasingly feared by them. This fear is aggravated by a misunderstanding of China’s nature. Unlike the imperial powers whose contempt for the rights of the Chinese people led to the May 4th Movement, China has no imperialistic tradition even though it will defend what it considers to be its legitimate national interest. Learning from history, China knows that imperialism leads to its own negation. It is wiser not to interfere in the affairs of others; better to work for mutual benefit.
As we celebrate the centennial anniversary, what should be the living spirit of May 4th that the Chinese people should foster? It must be that a people must be strong and pure in spirit. Without strength, the Chinese people can expect to be bullied again. However, that strength should not lead to the opposite of China taking historical revenge and bullying others. The China dream cannot be an imperial dream. Instead, it must be based on a pure spirit founded on virtue. As China develops, its spirit must be universalist, embracing all of humanity while respecting its diversity. Otherwise, the rise of China will inevitably lead to a countervailing alliance of anti-China forces which can only lead to tragedy.
A hundred years ago, the May 4th Movement gave a strong push to the New Culture Movement for Chinese people including those living outside China. Today, we need a new New Culture Movement which makes China’s development a blessing for the world. We need a new Confucianism which goes beyond self, family, relatives, friends and the governance of the Chinese state, to include those of different cultures and religions. It must reach out to foreigners and give substance to the teaching of Confucius that ‘within the four seas, all men are brothers (四海之内皆兄弟也)’. 21st century Confucianism has to be taken into account a world that is increasingly mixed and urbanized. For example, the application of li (礼）in the social media is a huge challenge but absolutely necessary. Without li, civilized society is not possible. Laws alone are not enough for a healthy cyberspace.
We need a new debate between Mr Science and Mr Democracy. Mr Science has to take into account the revolution in IT, AI and biotech, each of which poses new moral challenges for human society. Mr Democracy must recognize the limits of competition in political and economic affairs, within countries and among countries. What the proper balance at a particular time and place should be is a political art.
The Centennial Anniversary of May 4th is therefore not only a celebration but also an occasion for serious reflection and action.