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Talk: The Rise of Chinese Liberal, Conservative and Moderate Socialist Thought in the Early Republic
Date: 22 January 2010 

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures of the University of Hong Kong have the pleasure of inviting you to the following talk:

Speaker: Professor Edmund Fung (UWS)
Topic: An interactive triad: the rise of Chinese liberal, conservative and moderate socialist thought in the early Republic

Date: Jan 22, 2010 (Friday)
Location : Main Building Room 103
Time: 1 P.M. to 2 P.M.

In the early part of the 20th century, China was on the brink of change. Different ideologies - those of radicalism, conservatism, liberalism and social democracy - were much debated in political and intellectual circles. While previous works have analysed these trends in isolation, this paper seeks to show how they related to each other and how intellectuals in China engaged according to their different cultural and political persuasions. Fung argues Republican thought is best understood as a triad of liberal, radical and conservative thought, which arose at about the same time and in similar circumstances within what Benjamin Schwartz calls ‘a framework of common concepts of the age’. Each was a modern response to the challenges of modernity. This interrelatedness is central to the understanding of the intellectual foundations of Chinese modernity, for many of the debates which began in the Republican era still resonate in China today. Fung provides an overview of the development of these different ideologies and explores the work and influence of such intellectuals as Hu Shi, Zhang Dongsun, Zhang Junmai, Liang Shuming, and some lesser-known figures that were associated with them.

* Professor Edmund Fung, a graduate of HKU, holds the Chair in Asian Studies at the University of Western Sydney in Australia and Head of its Asian Studies and International Relations Program.

He is the author of the forthcoming book, The Intellectual Foundations of Chinese Modernity: Cultural and Political Thought in the Republican Era (Cambridge University Press, 2010). His previous books include In Search of Chinese Democracy: Civil Opposition in Nationalist China, 1929-1949 (Cambridge University Press, 2000); The Diplomacy of Imperial Retreat: Britain’s South China Policy, 1924-1931 (Oxford University Press, 1991); The Military Dimension of the Chinese Revolution: The New Army and its Role in the Revolution of 1911 (ANU Press and University of British Columbia Press, 1981)

All are welcome. For further information, please contact Ms. Christy Ho at

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