By Joseph R. Levenson
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Extra resources for Confucian China and Its Modern Fate: Volume Three: The Problem of Historical Significance
Or (an equally Confucian belief)' the sages5 ching-t'ien must be realized, the Classics still be made into history, and action, necessarily imperial, had to be recommended. 11 These were some of the major figures who believed the ching-t'ien irredeemably past. But Wang Mang (d. 23) and Wang An-shih (1021-86), a would-be emperor and an imperial protégé, were active ching-t'ien enthusiasts, and much more noted for their outer actions than their inner metaphysics. D. 9, Wang Mang, damning the Ch'in dynasty for 'destroying the institutions of the sages and abolishing the ching-t'ien5, proclaimed the latter5s restoration, with land made public (royal) and inalienable by sale or bequest.
61 Most of the literature which Liao used, especially de Laveleye (De la propriété et de sesformesprimitives, Paris, 1874), was tendentious. e. 52 This was Liao's polemical purpose, too, and he had to be pulled up short in his 33 ILL W I N D IN T H E WELL-FIELD utopianist-historical garble. 63 Another writer, attacking half-baked westernization, struck Liao at least a glancing blow. 54 6. THE CONTEMPORANEITY OF HU SHIH, HU HAN-MIN, AND LIAO C H U N G - K ' A I The three main shades of opinion in the ching-t'ien controversy of the i920s were equally modern.
In itself, Liao's anti-imperialism (anti-westernism of a sort) was quite all right. Without it, one might be revolutionary but alienated from China. Yet, if one were only anti-imperialist, one might be at home in China, but too much at home, alienated from modern revolution. Thus, when Liao cut off feudalism at the triumph of Ch'in, he cut out the heart of the communist version of Chinese history, a version composed with just that even-handedness : China developed on its own through universal stages, and accordingly indigenous capitalism would still have emerged (from feudalism, as in the West) had there been no influence of foreign capitalism, no Opium War and aftermath.