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Reinventing Modern ChinaImagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing$
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Huaiyin Li

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836085

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836085.001.0001

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Challenging the Revolutionary Orthodoxy

Challenging the Revolutionary Orthodoxy

“New Enlightenment” Historiography in the 1980s

Chapter:
(p.170) Chapter 6 Challenging the Revolutionary Orthodoxy
Source:
Reinventing Modern China
Author(s):

Huaiyin Li

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824836085.003.0006

This chapter presents a new intellectual trend, known as the New Enlightenment (xin qimeng), which emerged in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Having witnessed nationwide turmoil or having personally suffered political persecution and physical maltreatment in the previous decade, activists in the New Enlightenment movement inquired into the reasons behind the fanaticism and irrationality of the radicals at both the top and grassroots levels. They ascribed the personality cult of Mao, the lack of democracy within the Party, and the disrespect for human dignity during the Cultural Revolution to the fact that China had not fully experienced an intellectual “enlightenment” in its modern era. But the New Enlightenment movement was more than a break with the Maoist past; it was also a continuation of the liberal tradition that had been interrupted by the Cultural Revolution.

Keywords:   xin qimeng, New Enlightenment, Cultural Revolution, liberal tradition, Maoist past, modern China, intellectual enlightenment

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