Considering the whole flow of the Chinese centralism ignoring others, wouldn't "pragmatic application of knowledge" be contrary to their idea? If they want to practice western knowledge, isn't it a change from their past tendancy? Or it might mean they just want to take only the surficial outcomes, not seeking for the inherent aspect of knowledge, which is also compliant with their centralism.
st213)An event that took place in the early fifteenth century is revealing about the differences between Europe and China. This was the voyage of the Grand Eunuch, onwhich hundreds of ships technologically vastly superior to the Pinta, the Nina, and the Santa Maria sailed from China to South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Africa, loaded with wealth andwonders. The voyage achieved its primary goal, which was toconvince the nations bordering on the Indian Ocean, the PersianGulf, and the Red Sea that China was superior in virtually every way totheir own societies. But the Chinese were quite uninterested in seeing anything that those societies might have produced or known about ─ including even a giraffe that their African hosts showed them . The Chinese merely contended that the animal was known to them as a qi lin, a creature whose appearance was expected at the time of important events, such as the birth of a great emperor .
This lack curiosity of was characteristic of China. The inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom China's name for itself, meaning essentially “the center of the world” had little interest in the tales brought to them by foreigners . Moreover, there has never been a strong interest in knowledge for its own sake in China . Even modern Chinese philosophers have always been far more interested in the pragmatic application of knowledge than with abstract theorizing for its own sake.
I don't know what the author means by "pragmatic application of knowledge" vs "abstract theorizing". Are they opposing each other? "abstract theorizing" sounds pursuit of knowledge while "pragmatic application of knowledge" just sounds acceptance of technology or something.
"Abstract theorising" is pursuing knowledge (theorizing) for its own sake, regardless of whether it has any practical applications (abstract).