Ancient China--One Big Open Standard

I have always been promoting the idea that open standards will eat the world. That’s why I love open-source software so much. But today, I want to share one of the biggest open standards, it is not called TCP/IP, it is called Ancient China.

我自己一直认为,开放协议将会吃掉整个世界。所以我非常喜欢开源软件。今天要跟大家一起学习的是一套很大的开放协议,不叫 TCP/IP ,叫“古代中国”。

How China formed 古中国的形成

China became China largely because of two people, Si Li and Zhongshu Dong.


Si Li was important, because he ended the feudalism of China, and set up the County system. All power belonged to the central government, there were not lots of small kingdoms in China from him on, only counties paying the tax directly to the central government, and everybody was managed by the central government too. So even though huge, China became one kingdom. So the ancient Chinese Emperor after Si Li was not like these weak emperors of earlier dynasties, or of Europe. China became one nation, one state, within one country.


Zhongshu Dong was important because he institutionized Confucianism. Beliving Confucious became not just an educational pursuit, but also a political duty. He also abolished beliefs other than Confucianism.


Of course, behind Si Li, that was The First Emperor, behind Zhongshu Dong, that was HanWu Emperor. Because of these people, China was united politically and culturally.


The Imperial Examination System 科举制度

Based on Si Li and Zhongshu Dong’s work, The Imperial Examination System was built.


China’s meritocracy was based on the system. Through the examination, working-class people might become the leaders of the state. The flow from the bottom to the top made sure China not to be divided by different wealth levels.


Because of the requirement of the examination, every officer in China, even though they speak different dialects, but they all read the same Confucius books, so they write the same language and holds similar political beliefs.


Getting united is the core of China as a protocol. Si Li’s work made sure china won’t be divided geo-wise. Zhongshu Dong belief-wise, the Examination System wealth-level-wise.


Confucisim 孔子

We have lots of famous scholars in Confucius’s time. Most of their work is now just opinions.


Only Confucianim went all the way from ideas to common knowledge to political practice.


Confucious is behind everybody and every system we mentioned above. I am not saying Confucious is good or bad, I just want to remind my friends that Confucianism is the only set of open standards people have been using for two thousand years, and the influences are still deep in everybody’s heart in China and many parts of Asia.



When we were building the internet, we used Arpanet as a reference. when we build a new system, maybe we can refer to ancient china as a model. Will Confucius becomes the next TCP/IP, I don’t know, it’s up to everybody to decide.

我们在构建互联网的时候,参考了 Arpanet 。那么未来全球格局,我们是不是也应该抛弃帝国主义思想的骄横,转而考虑一下古中国的“既来之,则安之”的温和包容。孔子会不会成为 TCP/IP ,个人说了不算,天理自在人心。