Left: Peking University student marchers at Tian’anmen, May 1919 (South China Morning Post). Right: A May Fourth exhibit at Peking University’s former home at the “Red Building” in central Beijing (photo by Mr. Hall, April 2011).
The cartoon below, captioned “Down with Cao, Lu and Zhang by the workers, the students and the merchants,” was published in 1919. I have provided translation (the blue italicized text) to help you understand the Chinese printed on the figures.
Based on your reading, answer the following questions using evidence from the image above:
Introduction to New Youth
Next, let’s look a little more closely at a few of the articles from this edition. Each team will focus on one document and the "consider" questions that follow. You will be asked to guide your classmates briefly through each text.
Team A. Excerpts from Hu Shi, “Why I write poems in the vernacular,” New Youth, May 1919.
I clearly stated that, “Classical Chinese is a half dead language and should not be taught using a methodology used to teach a live language.” I also stated that “so-called live language is a language that is used in daily life, such as English, French and vernacular Chinese. The so-called dead languages, such as [ancient] Greek and Latin, are not used daily, in other words, they’re dead. . . .
[T]he literary revolution that I propose is based on the current situation of Chinese literature and has little to do with the new literature movements in Europe and America. The reason that I sometimes quote Western literary history, (specifically the part when European authors began to write in their native languages three or four hundred years ago), is only because the need for vernacular literature in China today is very similar to the need in Europe then. If we study what those countries accomplished, we will reduce our conservatism and increase our courage. . . .
There are eight rules in new literature:
1. Do not quote idioms;
2. Do not use set phrases;
3. Do not use couplet format;
4. Do not avoid vernacular words;
5. Do follow correct grammar;
6. Do not write claptrap;
7. Do not imitate ancestors;
8. There must be a point to the writing.
Team B. Excerpts from Li Dazhao, “My view on Marxism,” New Youth, May 1919.
I have not done much research on Marxism; therefore it is bold of me to attempt to talk about Marxism here. However, ever since the Russian Revolution, Marxism is about to sweep through the world. Countries such as Germany, Austria, and Hungary started their revolutions one after another following Marxist ideology. While Marxism has caught people’s attention around the world and has stirred up great changes, it also has generated many misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
Although our study of Marxism [at New Youth] is slight, there has been a great deal of interest in, and criticism of, his works in various countries as a result of the 100th anniversary [of Marx’s birth] in 1918. We have collected and edited these writings to introduce them to our readers in this Marxism edition of New Youth magazine. I believe it is not without benefit for readers to gain some insight into this world-altering theory through our discussions. If there are any errors due to the editors’ limited knowledge of Marxism, we hope our dear readers will offer their corrections.
Team C. Excerpts from Chen Duxiu’s opening editorial, New Youth, December 1919.
(Note: this was published several months after the other selections and is therefore not included in the table of contents above).
We believe that the moral progress of mankind should expand to a standard above the life based on animal impulse; therefore, we should extend a feeling of friendship and mutual assistance to all peoples of the world. But toward aggressive and possessive warlords and plutocrats, we have to be hostile.
We advocate mass movement and social reconstruction, absolutely cutting off any relations with past and present political parties.
Although we do not believe in the omnipotence of politics, we recognize that politics is an important aspect of public life. And we believe that in a genuine democracy, political rights must be distributed to all people. Even though there may be limitations, the criteria for the distribution will be whether people work or not, rather than whether they own property or not. . . . We recognize [political parties] as a necessary device for political practice, but we shall never tolerate membership in parties that support the interests of the few or of one class rather than the happiness of the whole society.
We believe that politics, ethics, science, the arts, religion, and education should all meet practical needs in the achievement of progress for present and future social life. . . .
We believe that to respect women’s personality and rights is a practical need for the social progress at present, and we hope that they themselves will be completely aware of their duty to society.
Background on Sun Zhongshan and the Xinhai Revolution
Rare video recording of Sun Zhongshan speech
Left: Empress Dowager Cixi and wives from the foreign legation. Right: Photograph of Liang Qichao.
Today, I would like to focus mainly on discussion: first to close out Qing reform and second to talk through some of the implications of Liang Qichao’s ideas.
Homework: Assignment #202
Use the button below to submit your Unit I assessment.
Check for Understanding #109 (Google Form)
Slides: The Boxer Uprising (Google Slides)
Discussion on Wasserstrom:
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Kang Youwei's Memorials
Consider the following list of edicts issued by the Guangxu emperor in 1898 as described by The Peking Gazette:
1. The establishment of a university at Beijing.
2. The sending of imperial clansmen to foreign countries to study the forms and conditions of European and American government.
3. The encouragement of the arts, sciences and modern agriculture.
4. The Emperor expressed himself as willing to hear the objections of the conservatives to progress and reform.
5. Abolished the literary essay as a prominent part of the governmental [civil service] examinations.
6. Censured those who attempted to delay the establishment of the Peking Imperial University.
7. Urged that the Lu-Han railway should be prosecuted with more vigor and expedition.
8. Advised the adoption of Western arms and drill for all the Tartar troops.
9. Ordered the establishment of agricultural schools in all the provinces to teach the farmers improved methods of agriculture.
10. Ordered the introduction of patent and copyright laws.
11. The Board of War and Foreign Office were ordered to report on the reform of the military examinations.
12. Special rewards were offered to inventors and authors.
13. The officials were ordered to encourage trade and assist merchants.
14. School boards were ordered established in every city in the empire.
15. Bureaus of Mines and Railroads were established.
16. Journalists were encouraged to write on all political subjects.
17. Naval academies and training-ships were ordered.
18. The ministers and provincial authorities were called upon to assist—nay were begged to make some effort to understand what he was trying to do and help him in his efforts at reform.
19. Schools were ordered in connection with all the Chinese legations in foreign
countries for the benefit of the children of Chinese in those places.
20. Commercial bureaus were ordered in Shanghai for the encouragement of trade.
21. Six useless Boards in Beijing were abolished.
22. The right to memorialize the throne in sealed memorials was granted to all who desired to do so.
23. Two presidents and four vice-presidents of the Board of Rites were dismissed for disobeying the emperor's orders that memorials [petitions, memorandums, etc.] should be allowed to come to him unopened.
24. The governorships of Hubei, Guangdong, and Yunnan were abolished as being a useless expense to the country.
25. Schools of instruction in the preparation of tea and silk were ordered established.
26. The slow courier posts were abolished in favor of the Imperial Customs Post.
27. A system of budgets as in Western countries was approved.
With a partner, address the following questions:
You have been commissioned to produce an online exhibit about the Empress Dowager’s emphasis on moderate reform in the years between 1861-1898 (that is, between the beginning of the Tongzhi emperor’s reign and the quashing of the Hundred Days’ Reforms). As a renowned team of historians of modern China, you have been given a free hand to shape the narrative and contents of your exhibit.
“The Qing empire” in Patricia Buckley Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 2nd ed (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 223.
Consider the following passage written by Feng Guifen:
Books on mathematics, mechanics, optics, light, chemistry, and others all contain the ultimate principles of understanding things. Most of this information is unavailable to people in China. . . . I have heard that with their new methods the Westerners have found that the movements of the earth conform closely to those of the heavens. This can be of assistance in fixing the calendar. . . . I have heard that the Westerners’ method of clearing sand from harbors is very effective. . . . This can be of assistance to keep the water flowing. Also, for agricultural and sericultural tools, and things required for the various crafts, they mostly use mechanical wheels, which require little energy but accomplish much. . . . There are many intelligent people in China. Surely there are some who, having learned from the barbarians, can surpass them. . . .
Questions for discussion:
Questions for discussion:
Homework: Assignment #106