Michael C. LAZICH

Photograph of Liang Qichao from the 17 April 1901 issue of the Tung Wah News.

Liang Qichao 梁啟超 formed the moderate Progressive Party after the Republican Revolution of 1911 and twice served as a cabinet-level minister. He later withdrew to a life of teaching and scholarship.

Liang Qichao was a reform-minded scholar and essayist who rose to prominence after the humiliating defeat of China in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). In 1898 he was among the leading participants of the ill-fated Hundred Days of Reform sponsored by the progressive Guangxu emperor. After the reactionary restoration of Empress Dowager Cixi, Liang fled to Japan, where for the next fourteen years he edited a series of influential journals and wrote an impressive range of persuasive essays and monographs advocating political reform or revolution and introducing his contemporaries to Western liberalism, nationalism, and science.

In the aftermath of the Republican Revolution of 1911, Liang returned to China and formed the moderate Progressive Party (Jinbudang), which contended with the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (Guomindang) in the nascent National Assembly. He twice served as a cabinet-level minister. With the onset of warlordism in 1917 Liang withdrew to a life of teaching and scholarship during which he wrote prolifically on Chinese culture, literature, and history. These later writings reflected his predominant aspiration for a new cultural synthesis in China that would combine the most worthy and enduring elements of Chinese Confucianism with the social and political principles of Western liberalism.

Further Reading

Huang, Philip. (1972). Liang Ch’i-ch’ao and modern Chinese liberalism. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Tang Xiaobing. (1996). Global space and the nationalist discourse of modernity: The historical thought of Liang Qichao. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Source: Lazich, Michael C.. (2009). LIANG Qichao. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 1323–1323. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

LIANG Qichao (Liáng Qǐchāo 梁啟超)|Liáng Qǐchāo 梁啟超 (LIANG Qichao)

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