The Origins of Contemporary Moral Education and Political Ideology in Confucian-Marxist Hồ Chí Minh’s Vietnam


  • Forkan Ali The University of Sydney, School of Literature, Art and Media, Australia



contemporary Confucianism, Vietnamese Confucianism, Confucianism and East Asian Countries, transnational phenomena, political, moral and educational ideology


As an emerging East-Asian country, Vietnam has been influenced by the forces of communism, colonialism and predominantly Confucianism. Though Confucianism has an enduring operational history in Vietnam, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, after the nineteenth century it takes a different turn and plays an effective role in contemporary social, political and cultural milieus in this emerging part of the world. In the context of the genealogical ups and downs of Confucianism in East Asian countries like Vietnam, this critical analytical essay discusses Confucianism as trans-national phenomena and a certain way of thinking which has been transformed historically across generations and influenced moral educational and political ideologies of the peoples of Asia. Confucian values have strong practical implications with regard to Asian societies, politics, cultures, religions and education systems. In particular, this article attempts to demonstrate how Confucianism continues to function despite the influences of Marxism and European colonialism in Vietnam, and how it contributed to shaping the present-day country.


Download data is not yet available.


Ames, Roger, and Peter D. Hershock, ed. 2018. “Introduction.” In Confucianisms for a Changing World Cultural Order, 1–6. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Blocker, Gene H., and Christopher L. Starling. 2010. Japanese Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Brocheux, Pierre. 2007. Ho Chi Minh: A Biography. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Buttinger, Joseph. 1972. A Dragon Defiant: A Short History of Vietnam. New York: Praeger.

Confucius. 1979. The Analects. Translated by D. C. Lau. UK: Penguin Books Limited.

Cooke, Nola. 1994. “Nineteenth-Century Vietnamese Officialization in Historical Perspective: Evidence from the Palace Examinations (1463–1883).” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 25 (2): 270–312.

Cua, Antonio S., ed. 2013. Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy. London: Routledge.

Chen, Lai. 2018. “Historical and Cultural Features of Confucianism in East Asia.” In Confucianisms for a Changing World Cultural Order, edited by Roger Ames, and Peter D. Hershock, 102–11. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Craig, Edward. 1998. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, vol. 7. London, New York: Routledge.

de Bary, William Theodore. 1989. The Message of the Mind in Neo-Confucianism. Columbia: Columbia University Press.

Doan, Dung Hue. 2005. “Moral Education or Political Education in the Vietnamese Educational System?” Journal of Moral Education 34 (4): 451–63.

Duiker, William J. 2018. The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam. London: Routledge.

Du, Weiming, ed. 1996. Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity: Moral Education and Economic Culture in Japan and the Four Mini-Dragons. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Huong, Pham Lan, and Gerald W. Fry. 2004. “Education and Economic, Political, and Social Change in Vietnam.” Educational Research for Policy and Practice 3 (3): 199–222.

Huỳnh, Kim Khánh. 1986. Vietnamese Communism, 1925–1945. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Jang, Wonho. 2019. “Identification, Confucianism, and Intersubjectivity: Issues Related with Social Empathy in East Asia.” Journal of Asian Sociology 48 (1): 43–52.

Kelley, Liam C. 2006. “Confucianism in Vietnam: A State of the Field Essay.” Journal of Vietnamese Studies 1 (1–2): 314–70.

Kizo, Ogura. 2018. “Animism and Spiritualism: The Two Origins of Life in Confucianism.” In Confucianisms for a Changing World Cultural Order, edited by Roger Ames, and Peter D. Hershock, 112–27. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Lê, John Vān Hóa. 1989. “Cultural Foundation of Ho Chi Minh’s Revolutionary Ideology.” PhD diss., Northwestern University.

Legge, James. 1960. The Chinese Classics, with Translations, Critical and Exegetical Notes, Prolegomena and Copious Indexes, vol. II: The Works of Mencius. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Makeham, John. 2003. New Confucianism: A Critical Examination. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Marr, David G. 1980. Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 1885–1925. California: University of California Press.

Milburn, Olivia. 2016. The Spring and Autumn Annals of Master Yan. Netherlands: Brill.

Miller, Harry, ed. 2015. The Gongyang Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals: A Full Translation. Berlin: Springer.

Mok, Mei Feng. 2014. “The Story of Việt Nam: From Prehistory to the Present by Shelton Woods.” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 29 (3): 776–77.

Nam, Nguyem. 2018. “The Noble Person and the Revolutionary: Living with Confucian Values in Contemporary Vietnam.” In Confucianisms for a Changing World Cultural Order, edited by Roger Ames, and Peter D. Hershock, 128–62. Hawai: University of Hawai’i Press.

Nguyêñ, Khăć Viện. 1974. Tradition and Revolution in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City: Indochina Resource Center.

Nguyen, Phuong An. 2004. “Pursuing Success in Present-day Vietnam: Young Graduates in Hanoi.” In Rethinking Vietnam, edited by Duncan McCargo, 165–76. London, New York: Routledge.

Pham, Nguyen Quoc. 2006. “Marxism and Socialist Orientation in Vietnam.” Nature, Society, and Thought 19 (2): 201–6.

Slote, Walter H., and George A. De Vos. 1998. Confucianism and the Family: A Study of Indo-Tibetan Scholasticism. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Son, Bui Ngoc. 2013. “The Confucian Foundation of Hồ Chí Minh’s Vision of Government.” Journal of Oriental Studies 46: 35–59.

Thai, Trinh Quoc. 2006. “Vietnam Primary Education.” Ministry of Education and Training. Accessed December 7, 2019.

Thanh, Pham Thi Hong. 2010. “Implementing a Student-Centered Learning Approach at Vietnamese Higher Education Institutions: Barriers under.” Journal of Futures Studies 15 (1): 21–38.

Turley, William S. 2019. Vietnamese Communism in Comparative Perspective. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.

Viet Nam News. 2018. “New General Educational Curriculum Unveiled.” Viet Nam News, December 28, 2018.

Waley, Arthur. 2012. The Analects of Confucius. London: Routledge.

Wang, Zhengxu. 2008. Democratization in Confucian East Asia: Citizen Politics in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. New York: Cambria Press.

Wang, Jin, and Keebom Nahm. 2019. “From Confucianism to Communism and Back: Understanding the Cultural Roots of Chinese Politics.” Journal of Asian Sociology 48 (1): 91–114.

Watson, Burton. 2007. The Analects of Confucius. Columbia: Columbia University Press.

Whitmore, John K. 1984. “Social Organization and Confucian Thought in Vietnam.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 15 (2): 296–306.

Wilson, Thomas A. 1995. Genealogy of the Way: The Construction and Uses of the Confucian Tradition in Late Imperial China. California: Stanford University Press.

Woodside, Alexander. 1971. Vietnam and the Chinese Model: A Comparative Study of Nguyễn and Chʾing Civil Government in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Yao, Xinzhong, and Hsin-chung Yao. 2000. An Introduction to Confucianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



20. 05. 2020

How to Cite

Ali, Forkan. 2020. “The Origins of Contemporary Moral Education and Political Ideology in Confucian-Marxist Hồ Chí Minh’s Vietnam”. Asian Studies 8 (2): 115-34.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 247

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.