Lu Xing says that“Chinese rhetoric has implicit rhetorical practices are contained in literary and historical texts” (Xing 2). “There is, in fact, no single unified signifier, equivalent to the term rhetoric, in Chinese texts” (Xing 3).“In the study of Western rhetoric, scholars typically attempt a clear definition of rhetorical terms. Such an approach may not be applicable to the study of Chinese rhetoric, however, since, to my knowledge, no such clearly phrased definitions are present in any of the Chinese texts” (Xing 3).“However, each culture will have a general sense of rhetoric based upon the culture’s experiences with speech and language” (Xing 3).“The task of a rhetorical scholar, then, is to remain open to the universal sense of rhetoric, as well as to the transformative power of a particular culture on the practice of rhetoric” (Xing 3).“While I do not intend to impose Western notions of rhetoric upon the Chinese experience, I do consider it useful to identify universally shared and yet culturally specific vocabulary and concepts, in the interest of promoting rhetorical studies cross culturally” (Xing 4).
“I will argue that the Western study of rhetoric is comparable to the Chinese Ming Bian Xue, literally translated as ‘the Study of Naming (Ming) and Argumentation (Bian)’, while it conceptually encompasses the study of language art, logic, persuasion, and argumentation” (Xing 4).
“The meaning and interpretation of a people’s rhetoric are always derived from and influenced by its social, political, and philosophical contexts” (Xing 5).
Xing explains, “I am generally of the opinion that a Western scholar with both linguistic competence in the target culture and training in both Western and Eastern thoughts is better qualified to interpret and translate Eastern texts than an Eastern scholar with little knowledge of the Western thought and language. In other words, a bilingual and bicultural person is better prepared to translate and interpret the nuances of cross-cultural meanings in any given text and, therefore, more able to create a ‘fusion of horizons’ (Gadamer, 1989)” (Xing 11).Narrowing the problems associated with Orientalism and Occidentalism (Xing 14-15)