chapter  7
Universities, cultural identity, and democracy
Some Canada–China comparisons
Pages 15

This chapter identifies common themes drawn from the university's historical experience and the contemporary challenges it faces in Canada and China. After dedicating many years of my life to the study of modern China, especially its universities, author was given the challenge, as head of cultural and academic affairs at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, of developing and supporting small centres of Canadian studies in 21 different universities and research institutes in China. Canada's liberal democracy, and its participation in the G7 group of countries as well as the OECD, stands in stark contrast to China's socialist system, still outside of such regional organizations as ASEAN and characterized by autocratic patterns rooted in Confucian tradition and Leninist political organization. Traditional China had an array of intellectual institutions whose history went back over two millennia. Canadian universities have historical roots in the European tradition, yet their founding goes back only a little farther than that of modern Chinese universities.