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This paper aims at an interdisciplinary study of the history of local Daoism in early Republican Canton. Through a case study of the ritual specialists of Nahm-mouh Daoist masters during the late Qing and early Republican period, it focuses on how Cantonese Daoism tried to adapt to the changing political circumstances of the early Republican period. According to the findings of an official investigation on the “Occupations of Divination, Astrology, Physiognomy and Palmistry, Sorcery and Geomancy” by the Nationalist government in Canton in 1933, there were more than 276 Nahm-mouh Daoist halls spread all over Canton at that time. They provided almost all the Daoist ritual services for the Cantonese people in the city. In the campaign against superstition and popular religion called the Fengsu Gaige (Reform of Customs), the self-styled progressive Nationalist government in Canton condemned the Nahm-mouh Daoist masters as sorcerers. In 1928 and again in 1936, the government twice ordered the banning of all Nahm-mouh ritual services and closed all Daoist Halls. In order to effectively abolish Nahm–mouh ritual activities in Canton, the city bureau of social affairs and the police force jointly investigated the Nahm-mouh Daoist masters in the city and duly produced a comprehensive report including the names and total number of Nahm-mouh Daoist masters, their home villages and updated addresses of their Daoist Halls. Based upon the 1933 report presently kept in the City Library of Zhongshan in Canton, this paper attempts to reconstruct the history of Nahm-mouh Daoist masters, the geographical distribution of their Daoist Halls, and their ritual activities in early Republican Canton. Due to the Nationalist government’s antireligious policy of destroying Nahm-mouh Daoist ritual activities in public, the Nahm-mouh Daoist halls could not survive intact to 1949. In the wake of the Second World War, some Cantonese Nahm-mouh Daoist masters fled from the war-affected city and moved to Hong Kong in 1940 and restarted their ritual services there. A union of the “Nahm-mouh Daoist Masters Living Abroad in Hong Kong” was organized and found by most of them in 1947, which was to have a great influence on the later development of Daoist ritual traditions in Hong Kong.
During the May Fourth/New Culture Movement of 1920s China, there was an interesting phenomenon: a group of Chinese scholars from the same generation and with similar educational backgrounds developed divergent views regarding China’s cultural reform. Intrigued by the potency of the scientific method, Hu Shi (1891-1962) and his followers called for a critical overhaul of the Chinese cultural tradition; whereas Mei Guangdi (1890-1945) and his friends, or the “Critical Review group” (named for their association with the Critical Review (Xueheng) journal), argued for expanding the humanist spirit of Chinese culture and opening a dialog with the humanist tradition in Western culture—— hence their slogan: “Interpret the spirit of Chinese culture and introduce best ideas of Western philosophy and literature.” From a comparative perspective and based on newly published primary sources, this article examines the educational experiences of the Critical Review group, especially their education at Harvard under Irving Babbitt, and explains how this experience accounted for their belief in Babbitt’s New Humanism. It also examines in detail Babbitt’s education and career, his interest in Eastern culture and religion, and their impact on his advocacy of New Humanism.
Immediately before and after the explosion of the “Controversy over Science and Metaphysics” in March 1923, Chang Chun-mai (Zhang Junmai) and Chang Tung-sun (Zhang Dongsun) were also engaged in a philosophical debate on the relationship between knowing and living. As probably the best qualified person philosophically to support Chang Chun-mai in the ensuing controversy, Chang Tung-sun might not be expected to have carried out this parallel debate with Chang Chun-mai. In fact, the debate has been largely ignored in studies of the controversy, as it is generally taken for granted that the two Changs shared similar ideas. But a closer study will reveal that the personal debate between the two Changs accounts for much of the reasons why Chang Tung-sun could not unconditionally support Chang Chun-mai in the controversy as Chang Tung-sun advocated an intellectualistic epistemology while Chang Chun-mai adhered to an anti-intellectualistic epistemology.
In terms of both general orientation and details, the two Changs’ epistemologies have not much in common, which might be attributed to their respective attitudes towards science and reason. For Chang, “knowing is living” while for Chang Chun-mai knowing could at most only form part of living. Chang Chun-mai’s perspective was ontological or metaphysical while that of Chang Tung-sun epistemological. The latter is a more cautious approach though with equally profound results. It should come as no surprise if Chang Tung-sun came to a different conclusion from the divergent perspective; but what is most significant was that he also pointed out the inconsistencies in Chang Chun-mai’s philosophy of living itself. He used a reductio ad absurdum form of logic.
Chang Tung-sun said that his insistence on the argument that “there is nothing conceivable outside knowing, and thinking is living” did not begin with him, for he quoted J.B.S. Haldane’s The Reign of Relativity, pp. 146-7, which put forward exactly the same view, namely “[It] (knowledge) is rather in the nature of a medium to which form of existence must be referred. In particular it does not seem clear that reality can be divorced from meaning. Knowledge appears as if it were no static thing, but actual only as a dynamic process, differing altogether in character from any between outside objects. For it creates its own distinctions within itself, and excepting through it and in its terms there is no intelligible significance to be found for either the self that knows or for the objects to which it is related. Knowledge must thus turn out to be the prius of reality, and like the ‘elan’ of Bergson or the ‘will’ of Schopenhauer, itself the ultimate reality, capable of expression in no terms beyond its own, in as much as creation is meaningless outside its scope.” This is the view to which Chang Chun-mai was in violent opposition. The rarely if ever noted starkly divergent views of the two Changs on whether “knowing is living” is the theme of this article, and is also the crux of the debate between the two Changs around the outbreak of the Controversy over Science and Metaphysics, which was in turn to draw many more enthusiastic participants, making it one of the most exciting and profound intellectual controversies in contemporary China.
Based on newly available archives, this paper describes the rice-control negotiations and the changes in grain-management organizations under the Wang Jingwei Regime, with a view to examining the complicated situation of food supply in occupied China. From 1940 to 1945, three grain-management organizations were successively established by the Wang Regime. These were Grain-management Committee, Grain Ministry and Grain-control Committee. Since these organizations were in charge of the purchase and rationing of grain, we can examine the rice-control policies of the Wang Regime by observing their operations.
This paper not only analyzes the food supply but also reveals the relations between the Wang Regime and the Japanese authorities in China during the World War II. Once the Wang Regime was established, it immediately took advantage of the grain panic of the 1940’s and recovered the grain supply area for civilians. By leaving grain purchases to the Wang Regime, the Japanese authorities managed to obtain more grain supplies than under the formal direct control system. Thus both sides benefited from the arrangement. In their grain management as well as their negotiations, it can be seen that the Wang Regime carefully and consciously defended its autonomy while the Japanese also flexibly adjusted their policy according to economic reality. Japan had to modulate its policy when it could not control the Chinese local situation. After its rice-control negotiations with Japan, the Wang Regime tried to handle grain management in occupied China. Through this case study, this essay hopes to throw light on the food supply and the relations between the Japanese and the Wang Regime during the war.
In the past it was commonly thought that Chinese indigenous businesses in the first half of the twentieth century, without the advantages of new technologies, ample capital and special tax treatment enjoyed by foreign enterprises, could hardly compete with Western intruders. Recent studies, however, have highlighted that we under-estimated the vitality of Chinese businesses. For example, Sherman Cochran’s 1980 work on the cigarette industry has clearly showed that Jian Zhaonan’s Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Company rivaled the British and American Tobacco Company. His most recent case studies from 2000 on two more Chinese businesses, the Shenxin Cotton Mills and the China Match Company, further reveal their adaptability to Western management styles by combining “Western” managerial hierarchies with “Chinese” social networks. Kai Yiu Chan’s study of the match industry in China also shows that the China Match Company, in expanding its business, was quick to take advantage of double-entry bookkeeping and the then newly promulgated company law.
The Shenxin Cotton Mills and the China Match Company distributed their products mainly in China, and their competitors, though including some British, Japanese and Swedish companies, were largely Chinese firms. This paper is a case study of a refrigerated egg packing industry dominated by one single Chinese business, the China Egg Produce Company (CEPC). Its products were sold exclusively to Europe in competition with some six to eight British and American enterprises, among them the International Export Company (IEC), the China subsidiary of a British multinational company.
By focusing on the refrigerated egg packing industry in China during the inter-war period, this paper argues that Chinese merchants were quick to grasp Western technology, management and the factory system. This, plus their knowledge of the people and the land, put them in a better position than we have recognized so far. This paper shows that CEPC not only rivaled IEC, but persuaded refrigerating companies, foreign and Chinese, to form the Refrigerated Egg Packers’ Association of China in Shanghai in 1930 and the Weal Trust Co. Ltd. in London in 1934. Through these price-fixing organizations, the refrigeration companies managed to monopolize the export of frozen egg products from China to Europe until the outbreak of the Pacific War, and China therefore contributed 90 percent of “eggs not in shells” imported into the UK in the 1930s.
The CEPC case not only shows the surprising vitality and adaptability of some Chinese businesses, but suggests that we reconsider the definition of indigenous enterprise (minzu ziben qiye). Though purely owned by Chinese merchants in China, CEPC operated exactly like its Western rivals in every aspect of its operations, including egg purchasing, processing, transporting and selling. On the other hand, multinationals also showed self-restraint and flexibility in their competition with Chinese business, operating on the principle, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Cochran describes the interaction between the managerial hierarchies and social networks in the management of Western, Japanese and Chinese enterprises in China, as “dynamic.” If we can borrow Cochran’s term, the fierce competition and the subsequent close cooperation between CEPC and IEC discussed in this case study could be termed undeniably another kind of “dynamic interaction.”
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