Geng Zhiyun, male and from the Han ethnic group, born in December 1938, is a native of Haining, Liaoning Province and a member of the Communist Party of China. In 1964, he graduated from the department of philosophy of Liaoning University. He is a researcher and PhD student advisor of the Institute of Modern History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, President of the Society of Chinese Modern Culture, Director of the China Hu Shi Research Society, China’s Research Center for Modern Chinese Ideology and the Sun Yat-Sen Foundation. His academic expertise is history of modern thought, culture and politics. Since 1992, he has started to enjoy a special allowance awarded by the State Council.
People will be intelligent when revealing true history
Zhou Xiaozhan (hereinafter called Zhou): Hello, Mr.Geng, I began to read your article around the year 1988 when I still was a undergraduate. Due to the popularity for ideological and cultural history in the academic circles in that period, so I chose “China’s modern history”. And through our teacher’s recommendation, I read your “Hu Shi Research Theory” and felt the person Hushi in your article had great difference with the Hu Shi in my impression. Later, I understood that you were the first scholar who dared to evaluate Hu Shi positively in mainland after new China was founded, and you were the first scholar who positively evaluated Hu Shi after systematically and deeply studied constitutional movements in late Qing Dynasty. Your viewpoint had great influence at that time and later was accepted by most scholars, and thus laid your position in academic circles. So firstly, could you talk about how you started to conduct the research on the constitutional movements in late Qing Dynasty? How did you dare to propose academic viewpoints different from previous academic circles when dognatism was still very influential and ideological emancipation just started?
Geng Yunzhi (hereinafter called Geng): my major in University was philosophy, and it was a special chance for me to push into history research area. I graduated in 1964 when Chinese and Soviet were in the debate argue. In those years, the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the CPC entrusted the leader of Modern History Institute in Chinese Academy of Science and famous scholar Li Shu to select better graduating students in Liberal Arts in universities all over the country, and prepared to form special research and writing group to participate in theoretical struggle against “Soviet revisionist”. I was one of the thirty six students who were selected to study modern history. Shortly after I arrived Beijing, international and domestic situations had new change, and the Central transferred its attention from against “Soviet revisionist” to against “Inside revisionist”, and the work of research group did not open actually. Because these people were enrolled by the Institute of Modern History. Among the 36 graduates including me, most were selected to work in the Research Institute of Modern History and I entered into this field correspondingly. But in the second half of 1971, Premier Zhou Enlai proposed in the national publishing meeting that it should compile the History of Republic of China. The next year, modern history institute was entrusted by the Central to undertake the research and writing task of “The History of Republic of China”. And the leader in the institute set up a group for research of the history of Republic of China, and I was transferred to the research group and participated in the first volume of research and writing for “The History of Republic of China”, and I was one of the four main writers. The book had great influence at home and abroad after it published, and awarded various prizes. Due to participation of this research work, I began to have my first research field: the constitutional movement of the late Qing Dynasty. Besides completing books, I published some papers such as “Comment of late Qing dynasty constitutionalists petition to congress movement” (1980) and “Comment of late Qing dynasty and Ziyi bureau” (1981). At that time, constitutionalist and constitutional movement were still a field of more on criticism and less on research. Due to the influence by pinko dogmatism, in this field, it had a series of arbitrary conclusion and prejudice. Some thought that constitutionalists was not the advanced society political force; constitutional movement was a “Political movement of the reactionary reformism”; and the constitutionalists later participating in republic creation and ending the rules of Qing Dynasty was political speculation and was to steal revolutionary fruit, etc. its accusation was numerous. I was responsible for the research and writing of constitutional movement in the first volume for the history of Republic of China, and I extremely lack research findings for reference and only had some similar criticized articles and pamphlets. I had no choice and only systematically and completely commenced from occupying and studying the firsthand materials. My manuscripts and papers were deeply and systematically studying basic history facts, and applying basic theory and basic method of Marxism for deep analysis of history facts and then got my own conclusion. These conclusions were widely different from previous prejudice, which was the history facts and Marxism theory and method that led my to get the conclusion. In the article of “Comment of late Qing dynasty constitutionalists petition to congress movement”, I proposed that constitution requirement of constitutionalist and its movements were different with the preparing constitutionalism of the Government of Dynasty Qing. Continuous congress petition movements for so many years was not to maintain reactionary movement for the tyranny of Qing Dynasty, and also was not meaningless “voices”, but a democratic movement for mass patriotic bourgeois. Therefore, it suffered harsh crackdown from Qing Dynasty. Though congress petition movements failed, constitutionalists exposed false of the preparing constitutionalism of the Government of Dynasty Qing and corruption of the imperial government, objectively it was conducive to revolutionary propaganda and awake for revolution. This unprecedented mass politic movement seriously attacked tyrannical order’s authority and gave common democratic education to the people. Meantime, it objectively intensified inner crisis of hierarchy, and played an role on quickly collapsing tyrannical rule in Qing Dynasty. “Comment of late Qing dynasty and Ziyi bureau” was a long article (published by Zhonghua Book Company on the “memoir of commemorate the international symposium for 70th anniversary Xinhai Revolution”) that was submitted and commemorate the international symposium for 70th anniversary Xinhai Revolution, and later published on the “Comment for Ziyi Bureau’s character and function” on “Modern History Research”, which was the abbreviated draft). The article used many literature and file materials of Ziyi Bureau in each province that were not noticed previously by others and analyzed and stated the character and function of Ziyi Bureau. The article indicated that Ziyi bureau established in each province in 1909 was a very important active stage for constitutionalists. And the constitutionalist fully used this stage, on one hand, it exposed various corruption situations for Qing Government, on the other hand, it started to struggle with local tyrannical power. Moreover, they used this stage to communicate with national constitutionalists and mobilizing the masses work., and started large-scale congress petition movement. These activities shocked and impacted rule basis of Qing government to great extent. My biggest theory meaning for research on constitutionalist and constitutional movement was to highlight the great role in peaceful reform of historical development.
When I did this research and published these theses, the nation was at the time of putting wrongs to rights, thought liberation just started and dogmatism influence still existed, I made a comment on the constitutionalist in late Qing dynasty and constitutional movement, and thus broke the stereotypes from people in previous time and aroused intense echo in academic circles. After that, domestic academic circle’s view on constitutional movement for late Qing dynasty was different from the view before “Cultural Revolution” occurred. These two articles were translated into English successively and had influence at home and abroad, and were considered to be one of the representative findings for getting rid of dogmatism effect and researching history on reality.
Zhou: besides the field of constitutional movement in late Qing Dynasty that mentioned above, your research that focused on intellectual history on May 4th New Culture, especially for Hu Shi study had great effect on related writings. Due to mid 1950s, there was a national movement for criticizing Hu Shi, so in previous publications, Hu Shi was always a negative character and was considered to be “the bureaucrat-capitalist spokesman”, “dog of U.S. imperialism”, “traitor” and even “war criminal”, etc. in the heart of common intellectual circle and the masses, Hu Shi was closely connected to these accusation. You contacted the file materials through careful research, studied Hu Shi’s writings, and discovered that true face of Hu Shi and its historical status could not connect with the above mentioned accusations. In December 1978, the conference of the Third Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party provided a condition for publishing Hu Shi’s findings in public. You wrote a article of “Hu Shi and the May 4th New Culture Movement” and then published it on “History research” in May of 1979, which had great influence in academic circles. In more than twenty years after that, more and more scholars had interests for the research of Hu Shi. And some people considered this as “significant study”. You successively published dozens of papers for Hu Shi research. In 1985, the first monograph “Hu Shi Study” that you studied Hu Shi was published. And because this book was the first one that systematically studied Hu Shi, it had strong influence at home and broad at that time. After that, you also successively wrote some books such as “A Chronicle of Hu Shi’s Life”, “New Theory for Hu Shi”, “Critical Biography of Hu Shi”, “Hu Shi in Modern Academic History”, and you still edited “Posthumous Manuscript and Secret Letters from Hu Shi”, “Hu Shi Literature” and other material books. Your achievements and influence on Hu Shi research were acknowledged at home and abroad. But some people had different opinions and they thought this was reactionary literati’s appeals. I want to know that you have made great efforts on research of Hu Shi in those years and published your conclusions that were different from the statements for decades, so have you not worried about that?
Geng: it doesn’t conform to reality if I say that I do not worry about that. Prejudice was a very strong power, especially it was just so in Chinese society. You can see that my earliest published papers and special writings were very careful and serious to some problems formulation. But finally I displayed a Hu Shi whose image was completely different from the previous impression made by people. If they said that I reversed a conviction for Hu Shi, it was not a bad idea. For a history character, whatever “putting a record” and “reversing a conviction”, it must be based on reality. Without reality as the foundation or without complete reality as the reason, putting a record cannot be successful; even if the record was putted, it cannot be firm and would be overthrown sooner or later, and vice versa. It was impossible to overthrow the successful records in history without complete reasons. Because I fully mastered related materials for Hu Shi, and studied Hu Shi’s writings in detail, and I also carefully analyzed background condition on Hu Shi’s criticized materials, therefore, I am confident that I was qualified to propose my judgment and I was a person that followed reality and logic. In my research work, I often remembered that Marxist’s words in “Das Kapital”: he said that honest scientific research work was just like going to the hell, the words wrote at the entrance of the hell: here anything no doubt is no use, and you only keep going ahead. As long as you are based on reality and you are confident on theory, you can conquer cowardness and speak out you truth. Of course, the most important is that there is a strong atmosphere for paying more attention to the facts, which was created by the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee. And just in this atmosphere, I believed that practically and realistically studied history would be accepted by society.
Zhou: after finishing the first volume of writing work for “The History of Republic of China”, you gradually transferred research work to intellectual history and cultural history. How did you consider this in the beginning?
Geng: in fact my interests on intellectual history had deep roots, which were related with my self-training during my adolescence period. I was very interested in philosophical and theoretical books. I remembered I read “Lectures on the History of Philosophy” of Hegel (only published the first volume at that time) and “Das Kapital” of Marxist when I was in my freshman year of high school in the holiday. Though I cannot completely understand all, I still got inspiration from that. Since then, I always kept strong interests in theory and ideological problems. Since 1975, I deeply engaged in the research for Hu Shi. We should know that Hu Shi was one of the most influential persons on ideological and cultural field in Minguo period. Studying him would unexpectedly met various problems in ideological and cultural field during Minguo period. Therefore, before I wrote Minguo history in detail and during the period when I was writing, I always had interests in ideological and cultural history. However, because I was responsible for the work for Minguo history and other collectives, the research for ideological history was only as my hobby. From the end of 1980s, my work emphasis transferred to ideological and cultural history completely.
There was deeper reason for my interests on ideological history. The more and deeper I touched history, the more I felt the importance for ideological history research. The history was created by people and the people were thoughtful. When we tracked history footprints left by predecessors and deeply explored how the people that created history thought, and when the result caused by their created activity compared with their prior thinking, we would get a very close and mysterious feeling on history. There were so many interesting questions here. The modern Chinese was in Social Reforming Time and everything changed quickly. This was a period when our great nation created history, and also a period when the nation conducted self-remolding in the fast history reform. In this special period of history, people’s thought were extremely active, and the social movement caused by new thought instigation was again and again. Therefore, tracking the thinking of history creators was fascinating. For example, how was a kind of thinking formed? And which things that absorbed from predecessors’ thought resource? How did the history events, incidents, mass action and grassroots mentality, concept, aspiration and voice have influence on it? For example, once a kind of thinking appeared, how did it spread in society? And which classes and which crowd accepted the influence on this kind of thinking to some extent? And how did the people affected by the thinking engage in its history activities? What society results did these activities have? For example, whether the society results caused by certain thinking conformed to people’s expectation to some extent, its difference should be explained in what way and so on. All these were very interesting. However, these questions should be answered and must be answered by ideological history. Answering these questions required lots of history materials and also required to analyze them, disclose inner relations between these materials and get necessary conclusion by high theoretical thinking. My research for intellectual history of late Qing Dynasty and research for May 4th New Culture Movement as well as the research on Sun Zhongshan, Liang Qichao and Hu Shi gave me a great deal of pleasure.
Zhou: in the research of modern ideological history, you proposed to master the basic trend for modern ideological development, which was very important. But the Chinese modern ideological change was very quickly, with abundant contents and many genres. What was its basic trend? And how did we master it?
Geng: though Chinese modern ideology changed quickly, with complex contents and many genres, we could seek its basic trend; the trend was globalization and individualism. As for the questions of globalization and individualism, I mentioned in some articles such as “Hu Shi and May 4th New Culture Movement” (1979), “Today’s Eastern and Western Cultures Problems”, “Establishing a Sound Cultural Mentality” (1986). But considering globalization and individualism as two basic trend for Chinese Ideological culture development was proposed in the article of “The Origin and its Trends for Chinese New Culture Movement” in 1994. After that, I repeatedly stated the view in the articles such as “Globalization and Individualism of Liang Qichao”, “Fu Sinian’s Reflection on modern ideological history”, “External Condition and Internal Mechanism for Cultural Transformation” and so on. My basic view was that human’s thinking was to deal with environmental challenge. Chinese modern ideology was that the Chinese made thought for solving various urgent problems that it faced. The basic problem for modern Chinese was to realize independent nation, wealthy nation and society progress, and solving these problems manifested in ideological culture, which was the big trend for globalization and individualism.
Globalization was open up to the outside world, and individualism was to liberate people and let everyone fully develop creativity. This was the core for interior reform. The historical process for modern Chinese was started under the big background of repeat shock by aggression power of western countries. How to realize and deal with western invasion and shock, how to go from original close situation to open and how to communicate with each country of the world were still an important issue for Chinese modern ideology. The Chinese people had self-centered cultural superiority for a long time. In the process of against western invasion and learning western culture, the Chinese people were puzzled for a long time, urgent national crisis made them dispassionately and fully realize the value of western culture based on summarizing native culture. But historical practice was the great teacher, the Chinese people gradually learned to face the outer world with open minded in front of objective facts. After Opium War, some scholars realized that western power coming to our country never happened in ancient and modern times. After the Second Opium War, this concept was accepted by more and more people, they realized that China cannot return to the situation of closed door policy. Facing the changing situation, Chinese people should directly face challenges and actively learned advantages from western countries so as to realize national revival. Hundred Days Reform, New Deal in late Qing Dynasty, constitutionalism and revolution were all started gradually in the premise of cultural attitudes opened up gradually and under the globalization as the core content of spreading from the west. In 1912, Liang Qichao obviously proposed a proposal of establishing “international country”. Becoming a “international country” mean that it was became a member of the world, actively participated and actively integrated into the world, absorbed all advanced things from world culture, meantime, it contributed its own excellent culture to the world. In May 4th period, the cultural attitudes for Chinese ideological field was more open, and the generation of Chinese baptized by May 4th New Culture Movement all learned to observe national destiny by means of global view. All the people who kept to traditional custom and rejected world culture all lost people’s trust gradually.
Individualism was the creativity of liberating people. Full display of creativity was fundamental motive for our nation’s gradual progress. After the united multi-ethnic entity of China, absolute monarchy was very developed in more than two thousand years. In the shadow of monarchy, World Junqin Teacher constructed a core system for value worship, common people were completely drown, though they advocated personality, it was rejected by mainstream thinking and abandoned by authority. In modern times, when dealing with western powers, we repeatedly met with setbacks, and failure after attempt to reform (such as making westernization), some people re-realized the importance of individual and individualism through comparison from eastern and western culture. During the Wuxu Reform, Yan Fu proposed “freedom” and summarized freedom meaning based on “Cun Wo”; after failure of Wuxu Reform, Liang Qichao was based on the premise of “new people”—reform based on revolution countrymen’s spirit, and was also with setting up individual free and independent consciousness as the core of reforming countrymen spirit; the leaders in May 4th New Culture Movement learned lessons from political failure in the Early Republic, from which they realized that individualism had important meaning for country’s modernization. They greatly advocated individualism and liberated the generation of young people and let them learn independent thinking and be responsible for their own remarks and actions and learn to select life road by themselves. Some people joined revolution, some dedicated to society causes, some engaged in scientific and academic career, some dedicated to education career. Just the generation of young people experienced May 4th New Culture Movement became the backbone for Chinese revolution and construction career.
Zhou: since 1980s, we have gained great advances for the research of Chinese modern ideological history. Do you think what the main achievements were and what problems? Which direction should we make efforts for future development?
Geng: the Chinese ideological history subject gradually grew up as the Chinese modern academic system established after “May 4th”, but the true prosperity was gradually realized with reform and opening up after 1980s. During this prosperous period, the main achievements were: first, further expanding and deepening into the case study for ideologists. The ideologists did not pay attention to its importance previously, or did not study due to political taboo; or they studied but did not conduct deep study, they started the research perspective of scholars at that time, which further enriched the content of modern ideological history. Second, previous ideological history was written closely around each ideologist, nowadays scholars paid attention to cutting ideological history from the perspective of the history of thought, which was no doubt a progress. Third, scholars made a meaningful discussion on theory and method related to ideological history, they did not form a common sense on some problems, but this discussion continued and thus it would increase conscientiousness for theory and method of researchers. Fourth, scholars’ problem consciousness increased greatly, such as the problem of “radical” and “conservation” in modern history, problem between reform and revolution, problem of nationalism, problems about condition and mechanism on ideological, academic and cultural transformation as well as the problems for the big trend of modern ideology development. All these problems were discussed and conducted deep study by some scholars. Fifth, academic communication was very active, not only domestic academic communication was more active than before, but also the academic communication also got unprecedented progress at home and abroad. The development and progress for development of ideological history subject were very important. Sixth, due to getting rid of constraint of dogmatism, and independent thinking became possible, people also gradually developed a tolerant attitude in academic scope, tolerated and respected different opinions, which made academic discussion and dispute getting right over the course. This was necessary and absolute condition for academic development.
It summarized into two points: (1) research range was not limited clearly. Some could be considered as ideological history writings in early times, and often the thought of study of Confucian classics or common academic thought were considered as main content; later, the philosophic thinking was considered as main content; then later, political thinking as the main content. These also belonged to the range of ideological history, but the ideological history cannot be limited to these contents, and how to extract ideological history content from these aspects should still be discussed. In recent years, the academic circles had hot discussion on the subject problem of ideological history study, and this discussion would play a good role for promoting the development of ideological history study. (2) Method was not sound and was not precise. Because research scope was not clear, this decided the lacking of method conscientiousness, and did not establish methodology system with Chinese modern ideological history. Each subject for humanities and social sciences in Chinese modern contemporary took examples from western theory and method. But whatever Marxism or other western theory and method, it need a long history process if they wanted to be successful in Chinese academic area. Some people thought naively that as long as they read several books, they could tell something about theories and methods and they themselves became the successor of the theory and method. In fact, subscribe and use other persons’ theories and methods was on thing, how their own writings truly showed theories and methods was another matter. We took lessons from certain theory and method and then consciously used these theories and methods in the process of actual study; and was not to copy others’ theories and methods to their own facts and materials. Because the method was not sound and was not conscious, the study findings existed various disadvantage. For example, a ideological history was put on record completely depending on person, which was republication of ancient study scheme. And it was improper for studying so complicated modern ideological history in China. Some writings simplified class struggle and class analysis, and explained various complicated ideological phenomena abruptly. Some writings completely started from reality need and willfully cut historical materials and thus was very strained. Of course, there were some better writings. They provided some advanced basis and the accumulation of experience and methods for us.
The future development for the study of Chinese modern ideological history depended on the following points: (1) expansion and exploration of material scope. Discovery of new material and expansion of material scope would no doubt widen the view of researcher. We conducted ideological history study on one-sided previously, but the one-sided phenomenon was reduced due to new materials; we conducted ideological history study shallowly in previous times, but now our study on that deepened due to increasing materials, open views and new problems. This was very natural thing. There was another meaning for expanding the material scope, namely because of open view of researcher and method improvement, previously it was considered as materials, now it was became very useful material for stating problems. (2)Possibly various new tools provided by scientific technology development, such as computer and network. Continuous improvement of computer function and the development of network technology as well as emerge of e-books, all of which provide good conditions for us to search for information and materials. (3) It need more open up. Communication between domestic scholars should be more timely and closely so as to expand horizon, improve each other by active discussion and draw on merits. (4) Continuously improving consciousness on method was to communicate with peers at home and abroad through own research practice and criticize, compare and rethink with each other, and gradually formed own research method. So called method consciousness was to make the most scientific work procedure become own work habit. With consciousness on this method, our work would be more planned, more orderly and then reduce mistake and time as well as a waste of effort, and thus make work more effective. (5) Continuously increase question consciousness. The question was the starter of thought, without question would not provoke thinking. Therefore, question consciousness was very important. People who were good at asking questions were also the people who were good at thinking. A person without question consciousness, even if he/she saw more materials, but did not see the meaning of material and inner relations between materials, which cannot form any thought. Strengthen question consciousness was also to develop thinking habit. And the facts, materials, statement and judgment for what it smelled and what it saw should not consider them as for sure, you should ask why. The more you smelled and saw, it could form comparison; you can discover difference from comparison; if discovering difference would have questions. Strengthen question consciousness and learning a little philosophy was very necessary. Philosophy taught people doubt on one hand and taught people to learn thinking on the other hand. Therefore, I hope that everyone who has ambition on ideological history should make efforts to learn philosophy and philosophical history.
Zhou: You just said that scholars’ discussion on the subject question of ideological history study and their viewpoints of this question？What was its research subject on Chinese modern ideological history?
Geng: in recent two or three years, some scholars who learned ideological history proposed subject question for ideological history research, and including subject question for Chinese modern ideological history. There were many discussion about this question, and it could be summarized into three points: (1) insisting that thinker’s thought was the main subject for ideological history study; (2) proposed that mass thought and mass concept as well as its beliefs as the main subject for ideological history study; (3) outstanding thought and mass thought listed as the subject of ideological history study.
I felt that opinions (2) and (3) were worth discussing. First, I felt that the meaning of “mass thought” seemed unclear. I had a “prejudice” and thought that not all casual thinking or casual idea was to be considered as thinking. I thought that the so called thinking should have several necessary conditions: (1) with reality pertinence, it was the thinking aimed at the actual problems that existed objectively, and was not random thoughts. (2) with systematic, it should propose insights for problem’ happening, developing and its advantage and disadvantage as well as handling methods, and was not scattered and groundless words. (3) with certain influence, the thinking that did not have any influence on society could not have a place in ideological history. From these points, the so called “mass thought” seemed hard to establish. Second, mass concept should acknowledge that it existed indeed. The respect and hope for “unrighteous officials and good officials” was the respect on readers, such as preserve waste paper with writings on it, cherishing time, show respect for the aged and love for the young, spiritual beings dwell three feet over our head, doing well and having well, bringing up sons to support parents in their old age, the more sons and the more blessings, etc. These concepts were all widely well known and existed in masses. These concepts were accumulated in the masses and were hard to be directly treated as ideological history subject. But when deeply studying thought source of ideologists and its influence on masses, we could carefully observe interactive relations between these masses concepts and outstanding thought. As for mass belief, this belonged to category of history of religions. As a branch of ideological history, the history of religions should deal with this problem. My proposal was to strengthen interactive relation study between ideologists thought and mass concept based on ideologists’ thought as the main subject for ideological history study, which mass concept played certain role on exploring ideologists’ thought in the process of its formation as well as after the ideologists thought formed, how it influenced the change of mass concept. This was conducive to enrich and deepen ideological history research and made ideological history with comprehensiveness and perspective.
As the thought of study subject of ideological history, it should be the thought made by people who faced various major problems when a nation and a country in the process of history development evolution. The biggest problem faced by modern Chinese was to construct modern national country. To realize this aim, it at least need to solve the following problems: independence, unification, democracy and prosperity. Therefore, the thought made around these major problems and its proposed opinions and published views should be listed in the scope of Chinese modern ideological history. It was not pure political ideological history, but not other special ideological history. It was the basis and centre for various special ideological history. In order to master the content of ideological history, it must possibly and clearly realized the urgent problems proposed during historical time. Only realizing these problems, we could easily master content of ideological history from tremendous materials.
Zhou: you have hosted some study work on major subjects in recent years, and you finished the research for “Modern Chinese people’s understanding and practice for democracy” and published the book “Western Democracy in Modern Chinese” several years ago. Recently, you would finish the subject on “Study for cultural transformation in modern Chinese”. So would you like to talk about the study and its findings on these two major subjects?
Geng：the previous subject was set up in 1990s, it was delayed due to clerical work and too many personal affairs, and its manuscript was finished in 2002 and was published in 2003. there were two points which should be paid attention in “Western Democracy in Modern Chinese”. First, previously studying this subject and writing the book was divided into two ways; some people specially studied developing history of democratic ideology, some specially studied the history of democratic and political system. We were different from them; our understanding for democracy was to study democratic thinking and democratic system through combination of their construction. This was a new attempt, which got full recognition from academic circle. Second, just because we combined these two aspects to study, we discovered an important fact, namely in modern Chinese, people gradually deepened and elaborated for democratic understanding, but construction of democratic system was becoming formalistic and nominal increasingly and could not be implemented, from this point it worth summarizing and re-thinking.
The “Study of cultural transformation in modern Chinese” that would be finished recently was a major subject for Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. This subject was a large and complicated subject. We could only adopt sampling investigation method of similar sociology, selected several side and special subjects to study in the limits of manpower and wealth. For example, interactive relations between change of society structure and cultural change, the relation between evolution of life ways and cultural transformation, countrymen’s pressing and selection for western learning, Japan’s mediating function to western learning, countrymen’s changes on value concept, transition of thinking ways, establishment of modern academic system and scientific system, etc. we tried to draw rough track for modern cultural transformation through the study on these special subjects and these indirect research. This kind of research could help us to recognize that how Chinese people got rid of various puzzles and came out from isolated situation in middle ages and stepped towards to modernization in so complicated condition inside and out. Scientifically summarizing this process would let us more consciously and wisely deal with various problems that faced in reform and opening up.
Zhou Xiaozhan: Male, 1967, born in Shaoyang in Hunan province. He graduated from Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1998, and got doctor degree in history. He worked in Research Institute of Modern History in July of the same year. Now he is the deputy researcher, deputy director in research office of ideological history, mainly research direction is ideological history in modern China.
Translated by Xu Qiyuan.
Translated by Xu Qiyuan.
Editor: Wang Daohang