The China Studies Club, which teaches traditional Chinese philosophies to entrepreneurs, will enroll its first students next month in Beijing.
The tuition fee of the club's two or three-day course is so high, about 9,800 yuan (US$1,225) per person, it's been the "boss class" as it is oriented toward business owners or high-ranking managers of companies.
Wang Zhenglun, who is in charge of the club, said that compared with other courses on traditional Chinese philosophies and literature his club offers classes that can be put to practical use.
These new study courses on traditional Chinese philosophy have Confucianism at its core. "Confucius thought" dominated Chinese society for thousands of years but was banished from mainstream culture in China in the early and middle parts of the 20th century as new China tried to break from the often oppressive ideas and rigid societal structures of the past.
To date, the study of Confucius thought and traditional philosophies have recently regained increasing popularity in China. An institute of traditional Chinese culture was established by the Renmin (People's) University in Beijing in May of 2005, the first such institute since 1949.
This year also saw a number of for-profit training organizations, such as the China Studies Club, set up shop in China.
Sun Jiazhou, vice president of the China Studies Institute of the prestigious Renmin University, said that courses on traditional Chinese culture and literature have been offered since the end of the 1980's but mainly to cultural and academic circles.
The newly popular studies on traditional culture and philosophies underscore practical knowledge for managing affairs.
Wang Zhenglun said the club attempts to combine traditional philosophy and thought for the modern life.
Some noted scholars agree that the study of traditional culture should give practical lessons that can be used in the new socialist market economy.
These scholars acknowledged that traditional culture and thought advocates cultivating the mind and acting with discretion. The ideas can be applied to the development of career, family, health and other aspects of life.
"The wisdom of traditional culture and thought should be offered to every Chinese," said an expert.
Mr. He, owner of a travel agency, said he prefers attending the courses on traditional thought instead of attending a business management course.
"Management training only teaches expertise, while Chinese traditional philosophies teach principles," said He.
"After the course I felt peace of mind and have found my own tempo in business," He said.
But some traditional culture studies courses have been criticized for excessive commercialism.
Scholar Xu Youyu said he felt uneasy about the current fever for China studies. The expensive "boss class," as a matter of fact, goes against the doctrines of the ancient Chinese saints, he says.
Yet Sun Jiazhou of Renmin University, nevertheless, said that interest in traditional Chinese philosophies in business circles is positive, "We're delighted to see people pursue wealth but also respect traditional culture and thought."
(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2005)