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Great Unity

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Title: Great Unity  
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Subject: National Anthem of the Republic of China, Heaven, Moderately prosperous society, Chinese philosophy, Wang Tao (19th century)
Collection: Chinese Philosophy, Chinese Words and Phrases
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Great Unity

Great Unity
Chinese 大同

The Great Unity (Chinese: 大同, Pinyin: dàtóng) is a Chinese concept referring to a utopian vision of the world in which everyone and everything is at peace. It is found in classical Chinese philosophy which has been invoked many times in modern Chinese history.

The notion of the "Great Unity" had been recorded in the Liyun (禮運) chapter of the Liji, one of the canon Confucian classics.[1][2] According to the Confucian classic, the society in Great Unity was ruled by the public, where the people chose men of virtue and ability, and valued trust and harmony. People did not only love their own parents and children, but also secured the living of the elderly until their ends, let the adults be of use to the society, and helped the young grow. Those who were widowed, orphaned, childless, handicapped and diseased were all taken care of. Males took their responsibilities and females had their homes. People disliked seeing resources being dumped on ground but did not seek to process them; they wanted to exert their strength but did not do it for their own benefit. Therefore, the selfish thoughts were dismissed, thieves and robbers refrained themselves and the outer doors remained open.

The concept was used by Kang Youwei in his visionary utopian treatise, The Book of Great Unity (大同書).

The Great Unity is also often mentioned in the writings of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and is included in the lyrics of the National Anthem of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

This ideology can be reflected in the following examples, both Taiwanese anthems:

See also


  1. ^ Pearce 2001, 169.
  2. ^ Cheng 2009, 19.


  • Cheng, Chung-ying (2009). "On harmony as transformation: Paradigms from the Yijing". Philosophy of the Yi: Unity and dialectics. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.  
  • Pearce, Scott (2001). "Form and matter: Archaizing reform in sixth-century China". Culture and power in the reconstitution of the Chinese realm, 200-600. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.  
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