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Resolving The Tension Between Tradition And Modernity: Reflections On The May Fourth Cultural Tide

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Chapter Summary

The call for modernisation in the 80s and the new cultural discussion seem to be in logical historical continuity with May Fourth. From the Opium Wars to May Fourth there lay concealed a key historical issue: modernisation. Today the development of the Chinese cultural sphere of industrial East Asia, especially the experience of modernisation in the ethnic Chinese society of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore has shown that Chinese people or people who have grown up steeped in Chinese culture are perfectly capable, in an open cultural space, of realising modernisation. The sense of cultural inferiority and national inferiority that has been around since May Fourth has been proven to be totally wrong. This is not only a consensus of neo-traditionalism (modern Confucianism) and neo-liberals (such as Lin Yusheng), it should also be the attitude of Marxists who have inherited the dialectical method of Hegel and Marx.

Keywords: Chinese society; May Fourth; modernisation; neo-traditionalism; Opium Wars

10.1163/ej.9789004165786.i-386.17
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