Was the enlightenment a continuous process from the late Qing to the May Fourth period?
ABSTRACT: Intellectual development from the late Qing to the 1911 Revolution and then to the May Fourth New Culture Movement was generally a continuous process despite various ambivalent and hesitant zigzags. Within this overall continuity, new elements became salient. The new policies promulgated by the republican government soon after the success of the 1911 Revolution created an institutional legacy that gave previously marginal ideas enough legitimacy to enter the mainstream. Changes in “background culture” also resulted in many new themes associated with May Fourth, though these themes were ostensibly similar to those in the late Qing period. The enlightenment of May Fourth endowed the “future” with positive values so that a future-oriented perspective became a fashionable trend in this period.
KEYWORDS: May Fourth, enlightenment, continuity, switch in history, background culture
US attitudes towards China before and after the Washington Conference based on US mainstream media reports
ABSTRACT: The problems China faced in the world order after World War I and the position and measures China took in the tussling between Western countries needs to be analyzed not only using historical records in Chinese and from the perspective of China itself; researchers should also consult foreign documents to determine the attitudes and ways of thinking of other countries, so as to reflect on the choices China needed to make and the roles that Western countries played at that time. Only in so doing can we fully understand how much space and strength China then had to strive for its rights in the international arena. This article examines the social basis of the attitude and policies of the United States (US) towards China in the period between the May Fourth Movement (1919) and the Washington Conference (1921–1922) by focusing on reports on China in the US mainstream media, including the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. The US government’s attitude towards China was determined by the interests of the United States, the Far East, and the other countries of the world. However, the US mainstream media’s reports on China also reflected the values of American society and popular sympathy for China’s destiny. When discussing how to support China, the US media distinguished between support for the Chinese government and support for the Chinese people on the way to democracy and governance by law. In this case, the media reflected different views on how to assist China.
KEYWORDS: Washington Conference, US media, US attitudes towards China, resolution of the Shandong question
Constitutionalist Pu Dianjun and his new cultural movement
ABSTRACT: This article challenges the standard historiography of the New Culture Movement by tracing the important role played by Pu Dianjun, a key member of the Constitution Research Group, in the broader cultural reform movement in early Republican China. It examines Pu’s years as the president and chief editor of Chenbao (1918–1922), which he transformed from a little-read partisan paper to a widely circulated and intellectually influential newspaper in Beijing. It demonstrates that Pu’s cultural endeavors, which consisted of efforts at societal change through individual awakening, were geared toward his political ideal – the transformation of Chinese commoners into capable voters in a constitutional system. Despite his absence from the standard historiography, Pu left important legacies affecting life in China today.
KEYWORDS: Pu Dianjun, new culture movement, Chenbao, social reform, socialism, drama reform
Religious liberty for the Chinese child: missionary debates in the 1930s
Margaret Mih TILLMAN
ABSTRACT: In 1931, liberal and conservative Christians debated the possibility of replacing Bible Study with a comparative religions course for elementary-school students, in order to comply with regulations of the Republic of China. Made possible by the ecumenical and indigenization movements within Christianity, this debate intersected with multiple issues: Western accommodation to the rise of Chinese nationalism; Christian resistance to growing secularization in the West, including elements of the social gospel; and clerical responses to child-centered pedagogies. Furthermore, liberals also promoted religious studies as a method for increasing cross-cultural understanding and world peace after World War II. While previous scholars have situated government registration of parochial schools within the rise of Chinese nationalism, this article asserts that missionaries in the 1930s viewed children’s religious education within the framework of both Chinese indigenization and global secularization.
KEYWORDS: Religious education, mission field, Christianity, China, childhood, Frank Rawlinson
When the rule of law met rule by the party: the conflicts between Baptist schools and the local Guomindang in Republican Suzhou
ABSTRACT: This study examines the relationship between the Guomindang (GMD) and the courts by focusing on the 1929 conflicts between the Suzhou Baptist schools and the local GMD party apparatus. The GMD regime supported the principle of rule by the party. At the local level, the GMD’s rise was often stymied by the independent judiciary whose judgments were based on the principle of the rule of law. The local party might not have been able to control the local court in the early years of the GMD regime, but it did steadily alter state-society relationships, as it could benefit from the local court’s commitment to the rule of law. For instance, the district court in Suzhou actively defended the principle of rule by the party in conflicts between Baptist schools and the local party because the GMD had made that principle the law of the land.
KEYWORDS: Suzhou, Baptist schools, local court, local Guomindang, the rule of law, rule by the party
Unity in the trees: Arbor Day and Republican China, 1915–1927
ABSTRACT: Scholars of modern China have overlooked the role environmental policy played in early Republican efforts to promote both modernization and national unity. Beginning in 1916, the national government in Beijing mandated that each province and county throughout the Chinese nation celebrate “Arbor Day” in order to foster a modern Chinese environmental culture. This change was made in response to global discourses that linked forest cover to a modern nation’s moral and economic health. Arbor Day coincided with the Tomb-Sweeping Festival, a day traditionally reserved for ancestor worship. Due to the vast climatic disparities within China, many governments planted Arbor Day trees under conditions that made it impossible for them to thrive. Nevertheless, officials throughout China continued to celebrate Arbor Day as proof of their loyalty to the government in Beijing. Arbor Day thus served more as an exercise in promoting national unity than in creating a viable reforestation campaign.
KEYWORDS: Republican China, forestry, trees, reforestation, nation, environmentalism, ritual
May Fourth in three keys: revolutionary, pluralistic, and scientific
Timothy B. WESTON
Beyond Beijing: May Fourth as a national and international movement
How to study the May Fourth Movement from a local perspective
Qing travelers to the Far West: diplomacy and the information order in late imperial China
by Jenny Huangfu DAY, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 282 pp., ISBN: 978-1-108-47132-9
A “lost” republic: reinterpretation of the Chinese revolution in the late Qing and early Republican period
by SHEN Jie, Shanghai, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press, 2019, 374 pp., ISBN 978-7-55-202695-5
SUN Qing (孙青)
The other side of the may fourth movement: the formation of the concept of “society” and the birth of a new-style organization
LIU Jingyao (刘静垚)
Discovering Republican history in diaries
edited by LUO Min, Beijing, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2019, 447 pp., ISBN: 978-7-5201-25711-0
LI Zhiyu (李志毓)