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Republican Scene

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Chapter Summary

In the late nineteenth century Christian missions had been primary targets of traditional Chinese antiforeignism, yet in many respects the foreign missionaries had also laid the foundations for the subsequent development of a national consciousness and the early revolutionary stirrings. To a significant extent it was Protestant missionary involvement in modernising projects that provided the inspiration for the partial transformation of the Manchu Qing Empire into the Chinese nation. In particular, their role in the development of a modern educational system brought new ideas. Western learning and notions such as individualism, democracy and international law were introduced to a growing, younger body of scholars. In this connection, the role of Chinese-language missionary journals and newspapers should not be underestimated. The rise of nationalism, usually seen as a function of modernity, probably started with the 1898 reformers, but became a recognisable force only after 1900.

Keywords: China; Christianity; republican scene



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