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6. The Campaign to Criticize Lin Biao and Confucius (批林批孔) and the Problem of “Restoration” in Chinese Marxist Historiography

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Chapter Summary

The theme of "restoration" was one of the main topics discussed during the campaign. It was introduced into the debate as a world history problem with several articles about the French and the English revolutions. According to traditional Chinese historiography, the order of the world is based on moral principles that are eternal. That is why past and present are always comparable even if things happen in the present that have never happened before. Qin Shihuang is described as the engineer of the unification campaign; however in order to draw an analogy to present times, Li Shi stresses: "one should not look at the unification of the six states one by one and put too much stress on individual generals. The "traditionalism" about this historicism is that the canon of anecdotes has more or less stayed unchanged and thus preserved an understanding of Chinese history that has persisted over time.

Keywords: Chinese marxist historiography; Li Shi; Qin Shihuang; traditionalism



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