This article explores the conceptualization of cosmopolitan citizen and the relevant teaching practice in the emerging Confucian classical education in contemporary China. It addresses two aspects. First, the cosmopolitan orientation of the cultural subject constructed in the theory of classics-reading education is embedded in the presupposition of common humanity and universal wisdom. Based on this, Confucian classical education claims to transcend the boundaries among nation-states and commits to promoting the communication and integration between Chinese and western cultures. Second, in the case study of Yiqian School, the image of cosmopolitan citizen flags up the dimension of ethical virtue, in particular, civic quality. The empirical discussion also shows the contradictions in practicing the method of memorization. The article reaches the argument that the renewal of Confucian classical education demonstrates a cosmopolitan orientation in citizen cultivation, this being not contradictory to but reinforcing with the intertwined nationalist emotions and identities.