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Representatives of Chinese Renaissance

Representatives of Chinese Renaissance, China Modern Culture, China Modern HistoryCai Yuanpei
Leading liberal educator of modern China. Key figure in the Chinese Renaissance. Became Chancellor of Peking University in 1917. Noted for his pioneering work in reforming the system of traditional education. Advocated academic freedom of opinion of speech and the principle of “tolerant and all-embracing in scholarly pursuit”, and during his tenure as Chancellor, liberally recruited to faculty scholars of all schools of thought, both conservatives and radicalists alike, including most of the leading figures in the Chinese Renaissance, e.g. Chen Duxiu, Hushi, Li Dazhao, Lu Xun, etc. 

Representatives of Chinese Renaissance, China Modern Culture, China Modern HistoryHu Shi
Acknowledged as key contributor to Chinese liberalism. Studied under John Dewey, and became a lifelong advocate of pragmatism. Delivered the lecture series at University of Chicago, 1933, entitled “Chinese Renaissance”. Noted for his advocacy and promotion for the use of written vernacular Chinese language to replace Classical Chinese, which ideally made it easier for the ordinary person to read and understand. In A Preliminary Discussion of Literature Reform, he called for writing with substance, respecting grammar and popular expressions or popular forms of characters, while rejecting old clichés, allusions, and couplets or parallelism (all of which have been common features and conventions in classical-style Chinese writings). The first person to write poetry in vernacular Chinese. 

Representatives of Chinese Renaissance, China Modern Culture, China Modern HistoryChen Duxiu
Leading figure in the Chinese Renaissance and the May Fourth Movement. Dean of Liberal Arts, Peking University. Cofounder and first General Sectary of Chinese Communist Party. Founder and chief editor of the influential New Youth magazine, which published articles attacking conservative Chinese morality (mainly Confucianism) and promoting the adoption of Western moral system valuing individualism, human rights, democracy, and science. All articles carried by the New Youth were written in vernacular Chinese, including the earliest publications of vernacular Chinese poetry. 

Representatives of Chinese Renaissance, China Modern Culture, China Modern HistoryLu Xun
A versatile writer, essayist, editor, translator, social critic, and poet. One of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century. Two short story collections of his, Nahan (A Call to Arms) and Panghuang (Wandering) often taken to mark the beginning of modern Chinese literature. In A Madman’s Diary, spoke of the outdated Confucianism, feudalism and old Chinese traditions as man-eating. His works greatly admired by Chairman Mao Zedong. Sympathetic to the ideals of the Left, and became the titular head of the Chinese League of the Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai. His works produced rich, acute criticism of social problems in China, particularly in his masterly and subtle analysis of the “Chinese national character”. 

Representatives of Chinese Renaissance, China Modern Culture, China Modern HistoryQian Xuantong
Key figure in the May Fourth Movement. Chinese linguist and philologist. The first to reconstruct the vowel system of Old Chinese in International Phonetic Alphabet. Among the earliest proponents for Hu Shi after Hu published A Preliminary Discussion of Literature Reform. Inspired Lu Xun to write A Madman’s Diary, the first short fiction in vernacular Chinese language. Promoted abolition of classical Chinese in favor of vernacular Chinese, and supported Esperanto (once proposed the substitution of Chinese by it). Known for his skepticism of the Chinese heritage and would name himself as “Yi Gu” (suspecting things ancient).


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