The Meaning of the Term “The People” According To Liang Qichao and Lu Xun. How This Differed From The Confucian View Of “The People”?

The Meaning of the Term “The People” According To Liang Qichao and Lu Xun. How This Differed From The Confucian View Of “The People”?

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TheMeaning of the Term “The People” According To Liang Qichao and LuXun. How This Differed From The Confucian View Of “The People”?

Confucianismis regarded is one of the oldest, and dominant political philosophyin the people’s republic of China. At this time, it was regarded isimperial China. However, the popularity of the Confucian philosophylost its popularity among the Chinese people, and in turn it lost itsinfluence, which coincided with the fall or the coming to an end ofthe Qing Dynasty in the year 1911. It’ this time, there was theintellectuals who attacked the political philosophy in China by thenthe (Confucianism) blaming it on the reason the country (China)failed to modernize. By simple definition, Confucianism was a systemof ethical and philosophical teaching, which was developed byMencius, having been started by Confucius. Before the current statein China, the country has experienced an evolution in terms ofpolitical philosophy evolution to its current one. This paperanalyzes the meaning of the term people with reference to LiangQichao, and Lu Xun, and how their view was different from that ofConfucian philosophy.

LiangQichao was a disciple of Kang Youwei and lived between 1873, and1929. After the fall of Kang’s regime, he relocated to Japan andbecome one of the influential leaders who advocated for reformsbefore the revolution in 1911. While in Japan, he becomes aninfluential leader, and due to his exposure to the westerninfluences, he started to fight against the Confucius philosophy. Hesensed the power of nationalism and attributed it to numerousprogresses being made by the japan, unlike the failures that werebeing experienced in China at that time. His believing was that Chinaneeded popular education as well as the installment of nationalismfor it to make forward progress. He inspired China to view and tothink about relinquishing the country’s old traditions, and insteadadopt new ways of thinking. However, commencing with Liang, theChinese intellectuals weren’t content to cling on western models,to be their core, as they preferred a fresh start. One of his commonviews that differentiated hi from others is the way he viewed ‘thepeople’.

Withreference to the Liang, “the people” was a term that he used torefer to the Chinese nationals. For example, one usage of the term inhis writing is “he stepped down after the outcry from ‘thepeople’”. Additionally, he also said that, for every nation to beregarded globally, its people or the nationals must have definitelaws, habits, arts, etc. these aspects that make ‘the people’ arepassed from the ancestors down to the descendants, and in turn thegroup becomes unified. On page 290, “our people have beenestablished as a nation”. Liang’s sense of ‘a people’ is thatof ‘a nation’ that is informed by the western aspect ofnationalism. He contributed vastly towards the shaping of china’sidea of democracy that was used in the next coming century after histime. Due to his continued advocacy of people’s participation, hewas regarded as the first democrat. This is despite him being aConfucian before the coming down of the Quin dynasty.

Hereis Liang’s sense of “a people” is for a “nation” informedby the western (and Japanese) sense of nationalism: “a” people asa nation (not just “the people” as commoners)” pg. 289

Apartfrom Liang, another Chinese intellectual whose contribution to thecountry’s political history made an impact is LuXun. Heis regarded as the chief of the China’s modern evolution of theChinese culture, and also referred to many as the founder of themodern literature of the Chinese people. Lu was also a great thinker,as well as a political critic. He lived between the years 1881, and1936. Lu has written a number of short stories with “A Madman’sDiary” being regarded among his best story, and which acted as hismessage against the country’s feudal society (Lu 7). Politically,Lu was a revolutionary democrat, but later become a communist. Withthe view of a communist, the idea was to create a classless society(people with no class). The term ‘ThePeople’termed the end of individualism and in turn the Chinese people wereto be one. The interest of society comes first, hence the term ‘thepeople’.

Accordingto Lu, he used the term ‘the people’ in his short stories whichhe used to mean the rest of the Chinese community/citizens who hasfew chances or opportunity to change their way of life. Lu was alsoone of the people against the Confucianism philosophy, and in turnattacked it for failing to promote the nation towards modernism(Theodore and Richard na). Being a communist, the people referred tothe larger Chinese community, and in turn he meant that, the Chinesesociety was the ultimate owners of the country properties, and hencethere was no individuality.

Asmentioned earlier, the political philosophy in China was theConfucianism. At the time when Confucianism was at its peak in theChinese community, it was then a logical choice for the politicalelites in the country to look back to the Confucius philosophy so asto ensure ‘the people’ are unified due to its root in the historyof China. The philosophy had its own meaning of the term ‘thepeople’. According to the philosophy, ‘the people’ refers tothe devoted Chinese who are followers, and believers of thephilosophy. Due to its foundation, the philosophy was built on thebasis of ancient religious roots in order to establish thetranscendent ideals, and the social values defining the traditionalChinese society. Confucianism was sometimes seen as the code ofethics identifies the true traditional Chinese, and sometimes takenas a religion. Moreover, it’s regarded as the source that otherreligions fleshed out from such as Daoism. The people were hence thetraditional Chinese who had their roots in the Chinese tradition,beliefs and religion.

Fromthe above three approaches to the term ‘ThePeople’. Everyone of the individual and the philosophy had a diverse approach to‘the people’. Looking into the three views of the term ‘thepeople’, the basic point to note is that, each of the intellectualdiscussed referred to the people as those who had the same belief ashis. The same case applies when Confucianism is addressing the term‘the people’. However, Lu referred ‘the people as the slaves ofthe country’s conqueror. Through the Confucian belief in the aspectof rebuilding and cultivation ‘the people’ as it required it ledto the promotion of liberalism as well as enlighten. However, thiswasn’t the case with the two intellectual Lu, and Liang, as theysought to liberate people from the Confucianism (Theodore and Richardna). Contrary to the difference in the view of the intellectuals andthe philosophy with regard to the people, one common aspect among thethree is that, ‘the people’ formed the roots or the basis of thegovernment formation in the country.

‘Thepeople’ were a key element, and each emphasized the role of theadministration or the government towards fulfilling the interest ofthe people. Lastly, in addition to being key contributors tocountry’s literature aspect, Liang, and Xun remain key figures inthe China’s evolution. With reference to Confucius philosophy, thepeople were required to promote morality, proper station, and socialorder. There was no room for violence as the philosophy doesn’tallow it, unlike the case of the two philosophers, they do nottolerate violence. However, the aspect of social order remains key tothe people and the progress of the nation to the modernity.

Inconclusion, the breaking away from the traditional China, and theConfucian philosophy in addition to the coming of the intellectualssuch as Liang and Lu Xun, there was the formation or the foundationof revolution in China in the modern Chinese history. The need for anew approach to the country’s political aspect, and the Liang’sideas about the need for ‘new citizen’ change the people’sconsciousness as well as that of the government inspiring generationsthat came later after him. Through their writings, Li Xun and Liang,the two influenced the thinking of people in China and in turn givingbirth to the Chinese political philosophy. Through the analysis ofthe two intellectuals, and the Confucianism, there has been a clearinsight into the making and the revolution of the Chinas politicalaspect. Lastly, the writing produced by the intellectuals’ remainsto show the evolution of the country’s political philosophy, withthe thinkers contributing a part in the making of the modern China.

WorksCitedSelectedStories of Lu Xun, retrieved on 28thSept 2015. From de Bary and Richard Lufrano eds., Sources of Chinesetradition: from 1600 through the twentieth century, Vol. II, NewYork: Columbia University Press, 2000