Chen Duxiu

Chen Duxiu

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Chen Duxiu played many different roles in Chinese history. He was a leading figure in the anti-imperial Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

 and the May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

 for Science and Democracy. Along with Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

, Chen was a co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. He was its first General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

. Chen was an educator, philosopher, and politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

. His ancestral home was in Anqing
Anqing
Anqing is a prefecture-level city in southwestern Anhui province, East China. It borders Lu'an to the north, Chaohu to the northeast, Tongling to the east, Chizhou to the southeast, and the provinces of Jiangxi and Hubei to the south and west respectively....

 (安慶), Anhui
Anhui
Anhui is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny...

, where he established the influential vernacular Chinese
Vernacular Chinese
Written Vernacular Chinese refers to forms of written Chinese based on the vernacular language, in contrast to Classical Chinese, the written standard used from the Spring and Autumn Period to the early twentieth century...

 periodical La Jeunesse.

Chronology

  • October 9, 1879: Birth in Anqing
    Anqing
    Anqing is a prefecture-level city in southwestern Anhui province, East China. It borders Lu'an to the north, Chaohu to the northeast, Tongling to the east, Chizhou to the southeast, and the provinces of Jiangxi and Hubei to the south and west respectively....

    , Anhui
    Anhui
    Anhui is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny...

    .
  • 1879 to 1901: Early life and education in China.
  • 1901 to 1908: Study in Japan, organising Republican revolutionary groups.
  • 1908 to 1911: Working as a teacher.
  • 1911 to 1915: Participation in the Xinhai Revolution
    Xinhai Revolution
    The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

    , the post-revolution Republican government, the anti-Yuan Shikai
    Yuan Shikai
    Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

     revolution.
  • 1915 to 1920: Leading figure in the May Fourth Movement
    May Fourth Movement
    The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

    .
  • 1920 to 1927: Founding and leading the Communist Party of China
    Communist Party of China
    The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

  • 1927 to 1932: Leading Communist forces participating in the Northern Expedition, conflict with Chiang Kai-shek
    Chiang Kai-shek
    Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

     leading to the April 12 Incident
    April 12 Incident
    The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

     and massacre of Communists, conflict with Comintern
    Comintern
    The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

     leading to expulsion from Communist Party. Becomes leader of Trotskyists in China.
  • 1932 to 1937: Arrest by Kuomintang
    Kuomintang
    The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

     authorities and imprisonment.
  • 1937 to 1942: Retires from public life.
  • May 27, 1942: Death due to heart attack.

Life in the Qing Dynasty


Chen Duxiu was born in the city of Anqing
Anqing
Anqing is a prefecture-level city in southwestern Anhui province, East China. It borders Lu'an to the north, Chaohu to the northeast, Tongling to the east, Chizhou to the southeast, and the provinces of Jiangxi and Hubei to the south and west respectively....

 (安慶), in Anhui
Anhui
Anhui is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny...

 (安徽) province. He was born to a wealthy family of officials, the youngest of four children. In his youth, he was described as volatile, emotional, intuitive, non-intellectual, and a defender of the underdog. His father died when Chen was two years old, and he was raised primarily by his grandfather; and, later, by his older brother.

Chen was given a traditional Confucian education by his grandfather, several private tutors, and his elder brother. A thorough knowledge of Confucian literary and philosophical works was the pre-requisites for civil service in Imperial China. Chen was an exceptional student, but this poor experiences taking the Confucian civil service exams
Imperial examination
The Imperial examination was an examination system in Imperial China designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of...

 resulted in a lifelong tendency to advocate unconventional beliefs and to criticize traditional ideas.

Chen took and passed the county-level imperial examination
Imperial examination
The Imperial examination was an examination system in Imperial China designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of...

 (鄉試) in 1896, and succeeded in the provincial-level examination (省試) the following year. He later wrote a sardonic memoir in which he reminisced about the filthy conditions, the dishonsty, and the incompetence that he observed when taking the official examinations. 1898, he passed the entrance exam and became a student of Qiushi Academy
Qiushi Academy
Qiushi Academy , was the main root of the current Zhejiang University, which is one of the most comprehensive universities in China.-History:The academy was the first modern institute for higher education established in Zhejiang Province; it was also one of the earliest in China. It was founded in...

 (currently Zhejiang University
Zhejiang University
Zhejiang University , sometimes referred to as Zheda, is a national university in China. Founded in 1897, Zhejiang University is one of China's oldest institutions of higher education...

) in Hangzhou, where he studied French, English, and naval architecture. He moved to Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 in 1902, after he was reported to have given speeches attacking the Qing government, and then to Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 the same year. It was in Japan where Chen became influenced by socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and the growing Chinese dissident movement. While studying in China, Chen helped to found two radical political parties, but refused to join Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

's Revolutionary Alliance
Tongmenghui
The Tongmenghui, also known as the Chinese United League, United League, Chinese Revolutionary Alliance, Chinese Alliance and United Allegiance Society, was a secret society and underground resistance movement formed when merging many Chinese revolutionary groups together by Sun Yat-sen, Song...

 (Tomngmenghui), which he regarded as narrowly racist. In 1907, Chen left Japan to visit France, before returning to Anhui to teach in a high school later that year. In 1908, he visited Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 before accepting a position at the Army Elementary School in Hangzhou
Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

.

Life in the Early Republic


At the turn of the century, the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 (清朝) had suffered a series of humiliating military defeats against the colonial foreign powers, most recently in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the war against the Alliance of Eight Nations that invaded China in reaction to the 1901 Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

. At the same time, widespread corruption within the Qing bureaucracy had left the empire in a state of total economic paralysis. Against this background Chen Duxiu became an increasingly influential activist in the revolutionary movement against both foreign imperialism and the Qing government itself.

Influenced by his time in Japan, Chen founded the Anhui Patriotic Association (安徽愛國會) in 1903 and the Yuewang Hui (岳王會) in 1905. He was an outspoken writer and political leader by the time of the Wuchang Uprising
Wuchang Uprising
The Wuchang Uprising began with the dissatisfaction of the handling of a railway crisis. The crisis then escalated to an uprising where the revolutionaries went up against Qing government officials. The uprising was then assisted by the New Army in a coup against their own authorities in the city...

 (武昌起義) of 1911, which led to the abdication of the last Qing emperor and the collapse of the Qing Dynasty. in 1912, Chen became the secretary general to the new military governor of Anhui, while also serving as the dean of a local highschool. Chen fled to Japan again in 1913 following the short-lived "Second Revolution" against Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

 (袁世凱), but returned to China soon afterwards.

In 1915, Chen founded the journal "New Youth" in Beijing, which quickly became the most popular and widely distributed journal in China. This journal published articles attacking conservative Chinese morality and promoting individualism. The journal was highly critical of Confucianism, and carried articles promoting the adoption of a Western moral system valuing human rights, democracy, and science, which he believed Confucianism opposed. Chen used the journal to promote vernacular writing at the expense of traditional Confucian writing conventions.

Chen joined the faculty of Peking University in 1917 as the university's dean, at the invitation of Cai Yuanpei
Cai Yuanpei
Cai Yuanpei was a Chinese educator and the president of Peking University. He was known for his critical evaluation of the Chinese culture that led to the influential May Fourth Movement...

. A Marxist study group at the university, led by Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

, attracted his attention in 1919. At the time, New Youth was highly popular, and Chen decided to run a special edition on Marxism with Li Dazhao as the edition's general editor. The edition of this magazine was the most detailed analysis of Marxism then published in China, and achieved wide readership due to the journal's popularity. Chen's decision to run this edition, and his activities in the May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

 that same year, motivated conservative opponents within the university to force his resignation in the fall of 1919. Around the time that he was forced out of Peking University, he was jailed for three months for distributing literatue that Peking authorities considered inflammatory, demanding that all pro-Japanese ministers resign, and that the government guarantee and freedom of speech and assembly. After his release, Chen moved to Shanghai and became more interested in Marxism and the promotion of rapid social change. His settlement in the French Concession allowed him to pursue his intellectual and scholarly interests free from official persecution.

Founding the Chinese Communist Party


In 1920, Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

 and other prominent revolutionary leaders founded the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 (中国共产党/中國共産黨). It has been generally asserted that Chen, Li and the other Chinese radicals of the time (including future chairman Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

) formed the CCP out of diligent study of Marxist theories, inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

. However, many historians now believe that, for this generation of Chinese radicals, Chen included, the road to Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 was a long one, with numerous prominent members initially attracted to anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 or anarcho-communism. Many of the prominent members of the party in 1920 had a very poor understanding of Marxist theory. Over time, the more prominent revolutionaries attracted to the early Chinese Communist Party eventually adopted a more orthodox interpretation of Communism, and were organized through the influence of a Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

 advisor, Grigori Voitinsky
Grigori Voitinsky
Grigori Naumovich Voitinsky aka Zarkhin was a Comintern official during its creation, and was sent to China in 1920 as an advisor to contact the prominent Chinese radicals such as Chen Duxiu, just before the formation of the Communist Party of China...

, who made a tour of China during 1920-21.

At the First Congress of the Communist Party in Shanghai, Chen was elected (in absentia) as the party's first General Secretary; and, with the assistance of Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

, he developed what would become a crucial cooperative relationship with the international Communist movement, the Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

. This cooperation with the Comintern would later prove to be a problem for the fledgling CPC over the next decade, as aggressive foreign Comintern advisors would try to force policy according to the wishes of Moscow and against the will of many prominent CPC leaders, often for the national interest of the USSR. By 1922, the size of the entire Communist Party in China was only about 200 members, not counting those overseas. Chen remained as the undisputed leader of the Chinese Communist Party until 1927, and was often referred to as "China's Lenin" during this period.

Subsequent Efforts to Spread Communism


Soon after the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, in 1920, Chen accepted an invitation by a rebel governor in Guangzhou to serve as the head of the province's education board, but this position dissolved when the government returned to Nationalist control. At the direction of the Comintern, Chen and the Chinese Communists formed an alliance with Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 and the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (Nationalist Party) in 1922. Although Chen was not convinced of the utility of collaborating with the Kuomintang, he reluctantly carried out the Comintern's orders to do so. Pursuing collaboration with the Kuomintang, he was elected into that party's Central Committee in January, 1924.

In 1927, he and other high-ranking Communists, including Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 and Borodin
Borodin
Borodin , or Borodina is a Russian last name and may refer to:*Alexander Borodin , Russian composer and chemist*Alexander Parfeniyevich Borodin, Russian scientist in the field of rail transport...

, collaborated closely with Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei , alternate name Wang Zhaoming, was a Chinese politician. He was initially known as a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang , but later became increasingly anti-Communist after his efforts to collaborate with the CCP ended in political failure...

's Nationalist government in Wuhan, convincing Wang's regime to adopt various proto-Communist policies. The Wuhan government's subsequent land reform policies were considered provocative enough to influence various KMT-aligned generals to attack Wang's regime, suppressing it. Chen was forced to resign as General Secretary in 1927, due to his public dissatisfaction with the Comintern order to disarm during the April 12 Incident
April 12 Incident
The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

, which had led to the deaths of thousands of Communists, and because of his disagreement with the Comintern's new focus on peasant rebellions.

Conflict with Mao


Chen came into conflict with Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 in 1925 over Mao's essay "An Analysis of Classes in Chinese Society". Although Mao had been one of Chen's students, he had begun to question Chen's analyses of China. While Chen believed that the focus of revolutionary struggle in China should primarily concern the workers, Mao had started to theorize about the primacy of the peasants. According to Han Suyin
Han Suyin
Han Suyin , is the pen name of Elizabeth Comber, born Rosalie Elisabeth Kuanghu Chow . She is a Chinese-born Eurasian author of several books on modern China, novels set in East Asia, and autobiographical works, as well as a physician...

 in Mortal Flower, Chen "opposed the opinions expressed [in Mao's analysis], denied that a radical land policy and the vigorous organization of the rural areas under the Communist party was necessary, and refused the publication of the essay in the central executive organs of publicity."

Although he recognized the value of Mao's interpretation of Marxism in inciting the Chinese peasants and labourers to revolution, Chen opposed Mao's rejection of the strong role of the bourgeoisie that Chen had hoped to achieve. During the last years of his life, Chen denounced Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's dictatorship, and held that various democratic institutions, including independent judiciaries, opposition parties, a free press, and free elections, were important and valuable. Because of Chen's opposition to Mao's interpretation of Communism, Mao believed that Chen was incapable of providing a robust historical materialist
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

 analysis of China. This dispute would eventually lead to the end of Chen and Mao's friendship and political association.

Expelled by the Party


After the collaboration between the Communists and Nationalists collapsed in 1927, the Comintern blamed Chen, and systematically removed him from all positions of leadership. In 1929, he was expelled. Afterwards, Chen became associated with the International Left Opposition of Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

. Like Chen, Trotsky opposed many of the policies of the Comintern, and publicly criticized the Comintern's effort to collaborate with the Nationalists. Chen eventually became the voice of the Trotskyists in China, attempting to regain support and influence within the party, but failed. Chen continued to oppose measures like "New Democracy" and the "Bloc of Four Classes" advocated by Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

.

Last Years


In 1932, Chen was arrested by the government of the Shanghai International Settlement
Shanghai International Settlement
The Shanghai International Settlement began originally as a purely British settlement. It was one of the original five treaty ports which were established under the terms of the Treaty of Nanking at the end of the first opium war in the year 1842...

, where he had been living since 1927, and extradited to Nanjing. Chen was then tried and sentenced to fifteen years in prison by the Nationalist government. Chen was released on parole in 1937, after the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

.

Chen was one of the few early leaders of the Communist party to survive the turmoil of the 1930s, but he was never able to regain any influence within the party he had founded. For the last decade of his life, he faded into obscurity. Chen later embraced a form of libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, and refused to side either with the Nationalists or CCP.
At the time that he was released, both the supporters of Chen and the pro-Comintern leaders who opposed him had either been killed or had fallen out of favor with the Communist membership. The Chinese Communist Party only managed to survive the purges by fleeing to the northern frontier in the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

 of 1934-5, during which Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 emerged as leader. Mao and this new generation of Communists would lead the party in China for the next fifty years.

After his release, Chen travelled from place to place until the summer of 1938, when he arrived at the wartime capital of Chongqing
Chongqing
Chongqing is a major city in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities of China. Administratively, it is one of the PRC's four direct-controlled municipalities , and the only such municipality in inland China.The municipality was created on 14 March 1997, succeeding the...

 and took a position teaching at a junior high school. In poor health and with few remaining friends, Chen Duxiu later retired to Jiangjing, a small town west of Chongqing, where he died in 1942 at the age of 62. Today, he is buried at his birthplace of Anqing.

Legacy


After the founding of the PRC in 1949, Chen's example was used to warn Communist Party members not to deviate from party orthodoxy. In the Hundred Flowers Campaign
Hundred Flowers Campaign
The Hundred Flowers Campaign, also termed the Hundred Flowers Movement, refers mainly to a brief six weeks in the People's Republic of China in the early summer of 1957 during which the Communist Party of China encouraged a variety of views and solutions to national policy issues, launched...

, the example of Chen in collaborating with Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei , alternate name Wang Zhaoming, was a Chinese politician. He was initially known as a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang , but later became increasingly anti-Communist after his efforts to collaborate with the CCP ended in political failure...

's Wuhan government, leading to the ostracism of his peers and the failure of Communist policies at the time, was used by Peng Zhen
Peng Zhen
Peng Zhen was a leading member of the Communist Party of China.-Biography:Born in Houma , Peng was originally named Fu Maogong....

 as a warning never to "forgive" anti-Maoists. After Mao died in 1976, Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
Su Zhu, better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng , was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the Paramount Leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, he succeeded Zhou as the second Premier of the People's Republic of China...

 gave a speech praising Mao's suppression of "Right and 'Left' Opportunist lines of the Party" as one of the late Chairman's greatest achievements: Chen's was the first person to be named as being correctly suppressed; Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 was the last. Subsequent generations of Chinese have since re-assessed Chen's contributions to Chinese Communism as being somewhat more positive.

Writing Style


Chen felt that his articles should reflect the needs of society. He believed that the progress of society could not be achieved without those who accurately report social weaknesses and sicknesses.

Chen's articles were always expressive. He criticized the traditional Chinese officials as corrupt
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 and guilty of other wrongdoings. He was under constant attack from conservatives in China, and had to flee to Japan four times. In China, he spent much of his life in the French Concession and the Shanghai International Settlement
Shanghai International Settlement
The Shanghai International Settlement began originally as a purely British settlement. It was one of the original five treaty ports which were established under the terms of the Treaty of Nanking at the end of the first opium war in the year 1842...

 in order to pursue his writing and scholarly activities free from official harassment.

Chen's articles strove to attract publicity, and often arouse discussion by using hyperbole
Hyperbole
Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally....

. He emphasized his sadness about the backwardness and corruption in China so that people suffering would be willing to send him their opinions. In New Youth, he wrote various articles using pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

s to form "discussions", in order to arouse public interest.

Chen's publications emphasized the responses from their audience. In New Youth there were forums and citizens' columns. On average, there were 6 letters from the public in each issue. Whether in praise or strong opposition, Chen encouraged all to write. He also thought that teamwork was very important in journalism, and consequently asked for help from many talented authors and journalists, including Hu Shih
Hu Shih
Hu Shih , born Hu Hung-hsing , was a Chinese philosopher, essayist and diplomat. His courtesy name was Shih-chih . Hu is widely recognized today as a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and language reform in his advocacy for the use of written vernacular Chinese...

 and Lu Xun
Lu Xun
Lu Xun or Lu Hsün , was the pen name of Zhou Shuren , one of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century. Considered by many to be the leading figure of modern Chinese literature, he wrote in baihua as well as classical Chinese...

.

Anhui Suhua Bao


On March 31, 1904, Chen founded Anhui Suhua Bao (安徽俗話報), a newspaper that he established with Fang Zhiwu (房秩五) and Wu Shou (吴守) in Tokyo to promote revolutionary ideas using vernacular Chinese
Vernacular Chinese
Written Vernacular Chinese refers to forms of written Chinese based on the vernacular language, in contrast to Classical Chinese, the written standard used from the Spring and Autumn Period to the early twentieth century...

, which was simple to understand and easy for the general public to read. While Chen was the chief secretary of the newspaper, its circulation increased from only a thousand copies to more than three times that figure in less than half a year, becoming one of the most popular vernacular Chinese
Vernacular Chinese
Written Vernacular Chinese refers to forms of written Chinese based on the vernacular language, in contrast to Classical Chinese, the written standard used from the Spring and Autumn Period to the early twentieth century...

 newspapers in print at that time. During 1904 and 1905, a total of twenty-three issues were published. Each issue had 40 pages - about 15,000 words. However, due to political pressures, the paper was barred from publishing in 1905.

Chen had three main objectives in publishing Anhui Suhua Bao (安徽俗話報): to let his countrymen in Anhui
Anhui
Anhui is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny...

 keep abreast of the politics of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

; to spread knowledge to the paper's readers through vernacular Chinese; and, to promote revolutionary ideas to the public. Chen believed that most Chinese believed that the importance of the family was greater than that of the state, and that this limited their interest in political events. He also found Chinese people in general to be excessively superstitious. Chen urged Chinese people to participate in politics through the publication of Anhui Suhua Bao (安徽俗話報). After its sixteenth issue, the newspaper added an extra 16 columns, the most popular were on military events, Chinese philosophy, hygiene, and astronomy. Almost all of these additional topics were written by Chen. His pen-name was San'ai (三愛). At least 50 articles were published under this name.

Tokyo Jiayin Magazine


In early 1914, Chen went to Japan, where he worked as an editor and writer in the Tokyo Jiayin Magazine, (甲寅雜誌) which was published by Zhang Shizhao
Zhang Shizhao
Zhang Shizhao , courtesy name Xingyan, penname Huangzhonghuang, Qingtong or Qiutong, was a Chinese politician of the 20th century. He was the Minister of Justice and Minister of Education of the Beiyang Government, led by Duan Qirui during the Republic of China period...

 (章士釗). Chen once wrote an article entitled "Self Consciousness on Patriotism" (愛國心與自覺) which conveyed a strong sense of patriotism and encouraged people to fight for their freedom. It promoted the idea that those who love their country should spare no pains to protect it, and should fight for the rights of its citizens. This group of people should work together towards the same goal harmoniously. The article was threatening to the Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

's government, as it tried to arouse the self-consciousness of the Chinese people. This preliminary magazine was released for 10 issues in total, before it was prevented from publishing. The magazine was resumed in 1925 in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 with the new name Tokyo Jiayin Weekly (甲寅周刊).

New Youth Magazine


In 1915, Chen started an influential monthly periodical in the French Concession of Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, The Youth Magazine (青年雜誌), which was later renamed La Jeunesse (新青年, literally New Youth). It became one of the most influential magazines among the students who participated in the May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

. Chen was the chief editor of this periodical. It was published by Qunyi shushe (群益書社), and ended publication in 1926. The magazine mainly advocated the use of vernacular language, socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, and Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, and was strongly against feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

.

In 1917, Chen became a lecturer of Chinese Literature
Chinese literature
Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature fictional novels that arose during the Ming Dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese...

, and a Dean of Peking University
Peking University
Peking University , colloquially known in Chinese as Beida , is a major research university located in Beijing, China, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China. It was founded as Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the...

(北京大学). Having the approval from the Cai Yuanpei
Cai Yuanpei
Cai Yuanpei was a Chinese educator and the president of Peking University. He was known for his critical evaluation of the Chinese culture that led to the influential May Fourth Movement...

, the Chancellor of the Peking University
Peking University
Peking University , colloquially known in Chinese as Beida , is a major research university located in Beijing, China, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China. It was founded as Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the...

, Chen collected the writings of the students which he appreciated most, which especially included Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

 (李大釗), Hu Shih
Hu Shih
Hu Shih , born Hu Hung-hsing , was a Chinese philosopher, essayist and diplomat. His courtesy name was Shih-chih . Hu is widely recognized today as a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and language reform in his advocacy for the use of written vernacular Chinese...

 (胡適), Lu Xun
Lu Xun
Lu Xun or Lu Hsün , was the pen name of Zhou Shuren , one of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century. Considered by many to be the leading figure of modern Chinese literature, he wrote in baihua as well as classical Chinese...

 (鲁迅) and Qian Yuan (錢沅). In order to expand the editorial department, New Youth was moved to Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 at this time, and in February of 1917, Chen used New Youth to promote science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 and modern literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, and to discourage the study of paleography and classical Chinese literature. The magazine began to advocate the use of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 and Logical arguments towards the achievement of political, economic, social
Social
The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms...

, ethical, and democratic goals.

New Youth focused on different concerns during various phases of its development. From 1915 to 1918 it opposed Chinese conservatism (especially conservatism associated with Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

) and promoted the development of democracy. During this phase, it became influential among the New Culture Movement
New Culture Movement
The New Culture Movement of the mid 1910s and 1920s sprang from the disillusionment with traditional Chinese culture following the failure of the Chinese Republic, founded in 1912 to address China’s problems. Scholars like Chen Duxiu, Cai Yuanpei, Li Dazhao, Lu Xun, Zhou Zuoren, and Hu Shi, had...

. From 1919 to 1921, until the formation of the Chinese Communist Party, it focused on promoting socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, and Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

. From 1921 to 1926, it published and disseminated the prevailing views of the members of the Communist Party.

Minor Publications


The Shanghai local government banned the sale of a publication called "Guomin Ribao" (國民日報) on December 1, 1903. After this, Chen twice planned to found a paper called "Aiguo Xinbao" (愛國新報), but failed because of pressure from different groups. Chen continued to express his discontent towards the government in his later publications. When Anhui Suhua Bao (安徽俗話報) was published on March 31, 1904, Chen was responsible for all editing and distribution.

On November 27, 1918, Chen started another magazine, the Weekly Review (每週評論) with Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

 (李大釗) in order to criticize the politics of his time in a more direct way and to promote democracy, science, and modern literature. Chen also edited Tokyo Jiayin Magazine (甲寅雜誌) and Science Magazine (科學雜誌). Later, he became the Editor-in-Chief of the newspapers Minli Bao (民立報) and Shenzhou Daily (神州日報).

From 1908 to 1910, two students at Peking University
Peking University
Peking University , colloquially known in Chinese as Beida , is a major research university located in Beijing, China, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China. It was founded as Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the...

, Deng Zhongxia (鄧中夏) and Xu Deheng (許德珩), founded the Guomin magazine (國民雜誌) and invited Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao
Li Dazhao was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921.-Early life:...

 (李大釗) to be a consultant for the magazine. From 1912 to 1913, Chen, with the assistance of Luo Jialun
Luo Jialun
Luo Jialun was a Chinese educator, historian and political activist. He was one of the leaders of the May Fourth Movement in 1919.-Biography:...

 (羅家倫) and Fu Sinian
Fu Sinian
Fù Sīnián , was a famous Chinese educator and linguist, and one of the leaders of the May Fourth Movement in 1919. He studied experimental psychology at University College, London from 1920-23. He was also one of the creators of the Academia Sinica, and was named director of the Institute of...

 (傅斯年), published a paper named Xinchao She (新潮社).

Chen's Contribution to Chinese Journalism


Chen set a precedent for future writers via the intentionally controversial nature of his publications. He insisted on telling the truth to the Chinese people and strengthening the Chinese media for later generations. By publishing newspapers and magazines concerning political issues, Chen provided a channel for the general public to express their ideas or discontent towards the existing government. Chen believed that the purpose of mass media was to reveal the truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

. At a young age, Chen had already established his first periodical, Guomin Ribao (國民日報), in which he criticized many social and political problems evident in the late Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. With a view to the things mentioned above, his contribution was said to be influential to journalism
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 as a whole. Chen's writing brought the standards of Chinese journalism closer to those of other, more libearal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 societies of his time.

Poetry


In 1918, New Youth published contemporary poetry by Hu Shih
Hu Shih
Hu Shih , born Hu Hung-hsing , was a Chinese philosopher, essayist and diplomat. His courtesy name was Shih-chih . Hu is widely recognized today as a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and language reform in his advocacy for the use of written vernacular Chinese...

 (胡適) and Liu Bannong (劉半農), written in vernacular Chinese
Vernacular Chinese
Written Vernacular Chinese refers to forms of written Chinese based on the vernacular language, in contrast to Classical Chinese, the written standard used from the Spring and Autumn Period to the early twentieth century...

, becoming one of the first publications in China to encourage poetry in vernacular Chinese. Eventually, every article in New Youth were written in vernacular Chinese. New Youth was one of the first publications in China to adopt and use punctuations marks, and popularized their use through its popularity and wide readership.

Crisis with Cai Yuanpei


In the second edition of New Youth, Chen prepared to publish Cai Yuanpei
Cai Yuanpei
Cai Yuanpei was a Chinese educator and the president of Peking University. He was known for his critical evaluation of the Chinese culture that led to the influential May Fourth Movement...

's speech, the "Speech on Freedom of Religion" (蔡元培先生在信教自由會之演說), along with an editorial interpreting its meaning and significance. Before its appearance in New Youth, Cai criticized Chen for misinterpreting this speech. Chen later admitted that "the publication of my speech in New Youth
New Youth
La Jeunesse, or New Youth was an influential Chinese revolutionary magazine in the 1920s that played an important role during the May Fourth Movement....

included a number of mistakes." Fortunately, Cai did not become angry with Chen and the publication was then amended before publishing.

Crisis with Hu Shih


This crisis was about the political stand of New Youth
New Youth
La Jeunesse, or New Youth was an influential Chinese revolutionary magazine in the 1920s that played an important role during the May Fourth Movement....

. Hu Shih
Hu Shih
Hu Shih , born Hu Hung-hsing , was a Chinese philosopher, essayist and diplomat. His courtesy name was Shih-chih . Hu is widely recognized today as a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and language reform in his advocacy for the use of written vernacular Chinese...

 insisted that New Youth
New Youth
La Jeunesse, or New Youth was an influential Chinese revolutionary magazine in the 1920s that played an important role during the May Fourth Movement....

should be politically neutral and the publication should be concerned with Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy is philosophy written in the Chinese tradition of thought. The majority of traditional Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States era, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and...

. Chen attacked his rationale by publishing "Talking Politics" (談政治) in the 8th edition. Because Chen was invited by Chen Jiongming
Chen Jiongming
Chen Jiongming was a revolutionary figure in the early periods of the Republic of China. Chen Jiongming was born in 1878 at Haifeng, Guangdong, China....

 (陳炯明) to be the Education officer in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 in mid-December 1920, he decided to assign the publication to Mao Dun
Mao Dun
Mao Dun was the pen name of Shen Dehong , a 20th century Chinese novelist, cultural critic, and journalist. He was also the Minister of Culture of China from 1949 to 1965. He is currently renowned as one of the best realist novelists in the history of modern China...

 (茅盾), who belonged to the Shanghai Communist Party.

Hu Shih was dissatisfied with this responsibility and their friendship and professional relationship ended. Later, Chen wrote to Hu Shih about his dissatisfaction with Hu’s intimacy with many conservative faculty members of Peking University. Especially troubling to Chen was Hu's relationship with Liang Qichao
Liang Qichao
Liang Qichao |Styled]] Zhuoru, ; Pseudonym: Rengong) was a Chinese scholar, journalist, philosopher and reformist during the Qing Dynasty , who inspired Chinese scholars with his writings and reform movements...

 (梁啟超), a supporter of the Duan Qirui
Duan Qirui
Duan Qirui was a Chinese warlord and politician, commander in the Beiyang Army, and the Provisional Chief Executive of Republic of China from November 24, 1924 to April 20, 1926. He was arguably the most powerful man in China from 1916 to 1920.- Early life :Born in Hefei as Duan Qirui , his...

 (段祺瑞) government and their anti-new wave ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

, which made Chen greatly dissatisfied.

Anti-Confucianism


Chen suggested six guiding principles in New Youth with an article called "Warning the youth" (敬告青年). This article was aimed at removing the old beliefs of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

. "Warning the Youth" promoted six values:
  1. Independence instead of servility;
  2. Progressivism instead of conservatism;
  3. Aggression instead of passivity;
  4. Cosmopolitanism instead of isolationism;
  5. Utilitarian beliefs instead of impractical traditions;
  6. Scientific knowledge instead of visionary insight.


New Youth
New Youth
La Jeunesse, or New Youth was an influential Chinese revolutionary magazine in the 1920s that played an important role during the May Fourth Movement....

was one of the most influential magazines in early modern Chinese history. Chen introduced many new ideas into popular Chinese culture, including individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

, democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

, and the use of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

, and he advocated the abandonment of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 for the adoption Communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

.

Seen in this light, New Youth found itself in a position to provide an alternative intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

 influence for many young people. Under the banners of democracy and science, traditional Confucian ethics became the target of attack from New Youth
New Youth
La Jeunesse, or New Youth was an influential Chinese revolutionary magazine in the 1920s that played an important role during the May Fourth Movement....

. In its first issue, Chen called for young generation to struggle against Confucianism by "theories of literary revolution" (文學革命論).

To Chen, Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 was to be rooted out because:
  1. It advocated superfluous ceremonies and preached the morality of meek compliance, making the Chinese people weak and passive, unfit to struggle and compete in the modern world.
  2. It promoted family values and rejected the idea that the individual was the basic unit of society.
  3. It upheld the inequality of the status of individuals.
  4. It stressed filial piety, which made men subservient and dependent.
  5. It preached orthodoxy of thought, disregarding freedom of thinking and expression.


Chen called for the destruction of tradition, and his attacks on traditionalism gave new options to the youth of his time. This magazine as a major influence within the May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

.

External links