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《觀察》的社會民主主義思潮, 1946-1948 : 1940年代中國自由主義思想硏究

A study of Chinese liberalism and the journal Observer in the late 1940's : 1946-1948


Authors Hao, Ying (郝瑩)
Issue Date 2001
Summary In this thesis, I focus on the political thought of Chinese liberal intellectuals from 1946- 1948, which was a particularly active period of Chinese liberalism, through an exhaustive study on an important liberal journal-Observer of the time. In the 1940's, social democratism, as reflected by the majority articles in Observer became the main trend of Chinese liberalism. What those liberal intellectuals pursed is a harmony on both political democracy and economic equality. It was mainly affected by not only the social reality of China after the World War II, but also by the new liberalism and socialism of the West in 20th century, especially that of a British liberal thinker-Harold Laski. In the past fifty years, few scholars have made a detailed study of Observer; and defined the Chinese liberalism of 1940's as social democratism. In addition, Laski's influence on Chinese liberalism was overlooked by most scholars. My study will fill in the gaps in this area and contribute to the understanding of the history of Chinese liberalism. Furthermore, I by employing an intellectual history approach, expound the reasons why the Chinese liberals finally failed in the 1940's. Besides social reasons, such as no army, no effective organization, a weak middle class, and a disorderly society, I find three other dilemmas in their theories and reality: 1. They tended to pursue a complete harmony of political democracy and economic equality, which proved to be impossible; 2. Their liberalism was a double change of Western civilization and Confucianism, especially the latter, and tended to be a moral idealism which requires a strong collective base. Thus, their liberalism deviated from the essential spirit of Western liberalism based on individualism. 3. In post-colonial times, facing the American cultural hegemony, their strong national consciousness produced an ambivalent psychology-a Western Complex, which was also common present among the intellectuals in 20th century China. This aggravated their cultural identity crisis. Finally, I make a comparison among the three generations of Chinese liberals in the "May Fourth" times, the 1940's, and current times. I find that the intellectual roots of the new Chinese liberals of current times still lie in those of the modern China. Hence, I believe the study of liberalism of the 1940's will have an important significance for China's democracy and modernization in the future.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2001
Language Chinese
Format Thesis
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