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Due to its commercial and trade interests, the British empire attached great importance to the China market and had built up unprecedented contacts with the Qing empire since the late eighteen century. Among the British who visited China, George Thomas Staunton (1781-1859), who accompanied the Ambassador Extraordinary George Macartney (1737-1806) to China when he was twelve years old, continued to participate in number Anglo-Chinese issues, including diplomatic negotiations as a vice-ambassador, free trade disputes as an officer of the British East India Company, and opium selling in China as a member of parliament, all of which had great impact on Anglo-Chinese relations. His life therefore closely corresponds to the sum of Anglo-Chinese relations before the Opium War. This article explores how he changed his view of the Qing empire and evaluates his influence on Britain’s China policy. It also discusses how he accommodated himself to different concepts of civilization and cultural traditions between China and Britain.
Maintaining the Manchu style of the queue and clothing was an important policy of the Qing dynasty. However, the Zai Feng regency relaxed dress regulations during the period of constitutional preparation. The constitutionalists themselves considered the cutting of queues to be an instrument encouraging constitutional reform. In the imperial court, Zai Tao and Yu Lang actively promoted “queue-cutting and dress reform” for all subjects. They thus prompted further calls for “queue-cutting and dress reform” and in practice queue-cutting spread dramatically. Zai Feng also prepared to press for “queue-cutting and dress reform,” but this proposal exacerbated the inner conflicts of the central government. Both Zai Feng and the constitutionalists were trapped in the dilemma of chosing between reform and the preservation of Qing rule. While the reform efforts of Zai Feng and Zai Tao were blocked, the queue-cutting movement also suffered setbacks. The constitutionalists, both in and out of government, and the constitutionalist reform movement were bogged down.
Eclecticism is ubiquitous in the highly westernized philosophy of Chang Tung-sun [Zhang Dongsun]. This feature is in accord with the thirteenth and fourteenth points about Chinese eclecticism as enumerated by Charles Moore in his formidable list of twenty-one notable features of Chinese thought.
The westernized character of Chang’s thought can be dealt with on three levels. The first level concerns western books he read (or even merely consulted), which rests on a straight-forward but superficial methodology. The second level concerns his strenuous efforts to “introduce” western thought, or more properly speaking, his transformation of western ideas, doctrines, and schools of thought for the sake of meeting China’s environment and needs. The third level is closely related to Chang’s establishment and advocacy of philosophical systems on the basis of such a heroic transformation.
After having dealt with the undoubted westernized character in Chang’s philosophy, this article then focuses on his eclecticism as the crux of his whole thought. From Chang’s point of view, eclecticism is itself an ideal or preferable attitude, approach, method, and principle for dealing with the intercourse between Chinese and western philosophies, thought, and cultures. This article highlights how, to fulfill this ideal, Chang consistently had to change his views, which in turn affected his eclecticism in an open-ended way throughout his life.
Taking seriously the argument that Chang probably was “the most westernized” Chinese thinker of his day, this article is designed to examine precisely how his eclecticism was central to his philosophy.
In early 1962, the Chinese Communist Party summoned more than seven thousand cadres to a working conference in Beijing. Traditionally, the conference has been interpreted as a forum where Mao Zedong and his successor Liu Shaoqi clashed over their analysis of the three years’ famine, with the former blaming natural disasters and the latter human failures; and thereupon Mao chose Lin Biao to be his successor over Liu, and soon the Mao and Lin collaborated to launch the Cultural Revolution. CCP historian Zhang Suhua has used new textual and interview source materials to recreate the conference in detail. This article uses her findings to argue for a different conclusion, highlighting Mao’s ability to control and guide the conference and to elevate it from the level of implementation to the one of ideological consensus. Rather than the appearance of division between Mao and Liu, it was the success of the conference that led Mao to repeat the same experiences during the Cultural Revolution and bring about political disaster. In the cadres’ conference, Mao was able to mobilize lower cadres to control the higher cadres, but in the Cultural Revolution, he could not control the Red Guards and the radicals, thereby ending up with the inevitable interposition of the army. Contrary to Zhang Suhua’s emphasis on Mao’s democratic techniques to forge consensus at the meeting, this article portrays Mao as a superb manipulator of democratic centralism rather than a genuine practitioner of democratic principles.
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