Jiang Zhongzheing's 'New Life Movement' and the rule of "Li" (禮), 1934-1949
LE3 .A278 2018
Bachelor of Arts
History & Classics
After two millennia of China’s dynastic cycle, Sun Yat-sen overthrew the last imperial dynasty, Qing, and established the Chinese Republic in 1911. In the face of rising Japanese militarism and a growing Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zhongzheng embarked on an ambitious attempt to restructure Chinese society. During the period of Political Tutelage (1931-1948), Jiang’s “New Life Movement” tried to create a “new” Chinese politics, society and custom that was both "modern” and “traditional”. This article builds on a wide study of film, speeches, magazines, and diaries to explore the educational, cultural, social, and political practices of the NLM during 1934 to 1949. Specifically, the paper explores how the NLM applied the ancient concept of Li (禮) to inculcate Chinese youths and secondary school students with strict notions of propriety, obedience and loyalty to the state. Short-sighted analysis interprets the NLM as state fascism in an unstable era. This paper takes a different view by situating Jiang’s effort is a much longer-term struggle and cultural crises caused by China’s contribution with uprising “modernity.”
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