Kang Youwei

Kang Youwei
Chinese Name
PinyinKāng Yǒuwéi
Wade-GilesK'ang Yu-wei
Traditional Chinese康有為
Simplified Chinese康有为
Family name"Kang"
Courtesy name ("zi") Guǎngsh๠(廣廈)

Courtesy names ("hao")

*Chángsù (長素)
*Míngyí (明夷)
*Gēngshēng (更生) or 更甡
*Xīqiáo Shānrén (西樵山人)
*Yóucúnsǒu (游存叟)
*Tiānyóu Huàrén (天游化人)
"Notes:"¹"K'ang Yu-wei: A Biography and a Symposium" gives Guǎngxià 廣夏
[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=Template:Kang_Youwei_table&action=edit Edit]
Kang Youwei (zh-ts|t=康有為|s=康有为; March 19, 1858–March 31, 1927), was a Chinese scholar, noted calligrapher and prominent political thinker and reformer of the late Qing Dynasty. He led movements to establish a constitutional monarchy and was an ardent Chinese nationalist. His ideas inspired a reformation movement that was supported by the Guangxu Emperor but loathed by Empress Dowager Cixi. Although he continued to advocate for constitutional monarchy after the foundation of the Republic of China, Kang's political ideology was never put into practical application.

Early life

Kang Youwei was born on March 19, 1858 in Nanhai, Guangdong province. According to his autobiography, his intellectual gifts were recognized as a child by his uncle. Therefore, from an early age he was sent by his family to study the Confucian classics in order to pass the Chinese civil service exams. However, as a teenager he was dissatisfied by the scholastic system of his time, especially its emphasis on preparing for the eight-legged exams, which are artificial literary exercises done during examinations. Studying for exams was an extraordinarily rigorous activity, so he engaged in Buddhist meditation as a form of relaxation, an unusual leisurely activity for a Chinese scholar of his time. It was during one of these meditations that he had a mystical vision which became the theme for his intellectual pursuits throughout his life. Believing that it was possible to read every book and "become a sage" he embarked on a quasi-messianic pursuit to save humanity.

Biography

Kang called for an end to property and the family in the interest of an idealized future Chinese nationalism, and cited Confucius as an example of a reformer and not as a reactionary, as many of his contemporaries did. He argued that the rediscovered versions of the Confucian classics were forged to bolster his claims. Kang was a strong believer in constitutional monarchy and wanted to remodel the country after Meiji Japan; These ideas angered his colleagues in the scholarly class who regarded him as a heretic.

Kang, along with his famed student, Liang Qichao, were important participants of a campaign to modernize China now known as the Hundred Days' Reform. The reform introduced radical change into the stale Chinese government, and angered conservatives who feared losing power due to the influence of the reformers. The conservative faction's most powerful member, Dowager Empress, ended the reforms and ordered Kang executed through death by a thousand cuts. Kang fled to Japan, where with Liang he organized the Protect the Emperor Society, travelled throughout the Chinese diaspora promoting constitutional monarchy and competing with the revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen's Revive China Society and Revolutionary Alliance for funds and followers.

After the Qing Dynasty fell and the Republic of China was established in 1912 under Sun Yat-sen, Kang remained an advocate of constitutional monarchy and with this aim launched a failed coup d'état in 1917. General Zhang Xun and his queue-wearing soldiers occupied Beijing, declaring a restoration of Emperor Puyi on July 1. This incident was a major miscalculation. The nation was highly anti-monarchist. Kang became suspicious of Zhang's insincere constitutionalism and that he was merely using the restoration to become the power behind the throne. He abandoned his mission and fled to the American legation. On July 12, Duan Qirui easily occupied the city.

Kang's reputation serves as an important barometer for the political attitudes of his time. In the span of less than twenty years, he went from being regarded as an iconoclastic radical to an anachronistic pariah without significantly modifying his ideology.

"Da Tongshu"

The best-known and probably most controversial work of Kang Youwei was the "Da Tongshu" (大同書). The title of this book derives from the name of a utopian society imagined by Confucius, although it literally means "The Book of Great Unity." The ideas of this books appeared in his lecture notes from 1884, and encouraged by his students, he worked on this book for the next two decades, but it was not until his exile in India that he finished the first draft. The first two chapters of the book were published in Japan in the 1900s, however the book wasn't published in its entirety until 1935, about seven years after his death. In it Kang proposed a utopian future world that would be free of political boundaries, ruled by one central government, but under democratic rule. In his scheme, the world would be split into rectangular administrative districts which would be self-governing under a direct democracy, although oddly still loyal to a central world government.His desire to end the traditional Chinese family structure defines him as an early advocate of women's independence in China. [http://www.iiav.nl/ezines/web/JournalofInternationalWomensStudies/2003/Vol5Nr1/bridgew/Jinghao.pdf] He reasoned that the institution of the family that had been practiced by society since the beginning of time was a great cause of strife. Kang hoped it would be effectively abolished. Replacing the family would be state-run institutions, such as womb-teaching institutions, nurseries and schools. Marriage would be replaced by one-year contracts between a woman and a man. Kang considered the contemporary form of marriage, in which a woman was trapped for a lifetime, to be too oppressive. Kang believed in equality between men and women and believed that there should be no social barrier barring women from doing whatever men can. From this point of view, Kang also advocated the idea that homosexuality should be permitted, as presumably there are no differences in love between a man and a woman and between two men or two women.

Kang saw capitalism as an inherently evil system and believed that government should establish socialist institutions to overlook the welfare of each individual. At one point he even advocated that government should adopt the methods of "communism", although it is debated what Kang meant by this term. He was surely one of the first advocates of Western communism in China. In this spirit, in addition to establishing government nurseries and schools to replace the institution of the family, he also envisioned government-run retirement homes for the elderly. It is debated whether Kang's socialist ideas were inspired more by Western thought or traditional Confucian ideals. Lawrence G. Thompsom believes that his socialism was based on traditional Chinese ideals. His work is permeated with the Confucian ideal of "ren", or "humanity". However Thompson also noted a reference by Kang to Fourier. Thus some Chinese scholars believe that Kang's socialist ideals were influenced by Western intellectuals after his exile in 1898.

Notable in Kang's "Da Tong Shu" was his enthusiasm and belief in bettering humanity with technology. This was unusual for a Confucian scholar during his time. He believed that Western technological progress had a central role in saving humanity. While many scholars of his time continued to maintain the belief that Western technology should only be adopted to defend China against the West, he seemed to full-heartedly embrace the modern idea that technology is integral for advancing mankind. Before anything of modern scale had been built, he foresaw a global telegraphic and telephone network. He also believed that technology would reduce human labor to the point where each individual would only need to work 3 to 4 hours each day, a prediction that will be repeated by the most optimistic futurists later in the century.

When the book was first published it was received with mixed reactions. Due to Kang's support for the Guangxu Emperor, he is seen as a reactionary by many Chinese intellectuals. People of this camp believed that Kang's book was an elaborate joke, and that he was merely acting as an apologist for the emperor as to how utopian paradise could have developed if the Qing dynasty was not overthrown. Others believe that Kang was a bold and daring proto-Communist who advocated modern Western socialism and communism. Amongst those in the second school was Mao Zedong, who admired Kang Youwei and his socialist ideals in the "Da Tongshu". Modern Chinese scholars nowadays often take the view that Kang was an important advocate of Chinese socialism, and despite the controversy "Da Tongshu" still remains popular. A Beijing publisher included it on the list "One hundred Most Influential Books in Chinese History." [http://www.white-collar.net/wx_hsl/gdwx/book100/index.html] In the end, judgements of this remarkable individual may have been products of time and of place, and the future of Kang Youwei may take a form unknown to any of them.

Philosophical views

Youwei enumerated sources of human suffering, in a way similar to that of Buddhism.

The sufferings associated with man's physical life are: being implanted in the womb, premature death, loss of a limb, being a barbarian, living outside China, being a slave, and being a woman.

The sufferings associated with natural disasters are: famine resulting from flood or drought, epidemic, conflagration, flood, volcanic eruptions, collapse of buildings, shipwreck, and locust plagues.

The sufferings associated with the human relationship are: to be a widow, to be orphaned or childless, to be ill and have no one to provide medical care, to suffer poverty, and to have a low and mean station in life.

The sufferings associated with society are: corporal punishment and imprisonment, taxation, military conscription, social stratification, oppressive political institutions, the existence of the state, and theexistence of the family.

The human feelings which cause sufferings are: stupidity, hatred, fatigue, lust, attachment tothings, and desire.

The things which cause suffering because of the esteem in which they are held: wealth, eminent position, longevity, being a ruler, and being a spiritual leader.

He also imagined a hierarchy or religions, of which Christianity and Islam were the lowest, above them he placed Confucianism, then Taoism and Buddhism. He predicted that in the future the lower religions will disappear. [ http://www.theos-world.com/archives/show.php?NAME=tw200809&PATH=txt&DESC=September%202008%20Issue "The One-World Philosophy of K'ang Yu-Wei," by Shri O.K. Ghosh]

Death

Kang was poisoned in the city of Qingdao, Shandong in 1927. He was 69.

Kang's daughter, Kang Tongbi (康同壁) was a student at Barnard College.

References

#Jung-pang Lo. "K'ang Yu-wei: A Biography and a Symposium". Library of Congress number 66-20911.

See M. E. Cameron, The Reform Movement in China, 1898–1912 (1931, repr. 1963); biography ed. and tr. by Lo Jung-pang (1967).

#CHANG HAO: "Intellectual change and the reform movement, 1890-1898", in: Twitchett, Denis and Fairbanks, John (ed.): The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 11, Late Ch’ing, 1800-1911, Part 2 (1980). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 274-338, esp. 283-300, 318-338.
#FRANKE, WOLFGANG: "Die staatspolitischen Reformversuche K’ang Yu-weis und seiner Schule" (1935). (Ph.D.).
#HOWARD, RICHARD C., “"K’ang Yu-wei (1858-1927): His Intellectual Background and Early Thought"”, in A.F. Wright and Denis Twitchett (eds.): Confucian Personalities. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962, pp. 294-316 and 382-386 (notes).
#HOWARD, RICHARD C.: "The early life and thought of K’ang Yu-wei, 1858-1927" (1972). Ph.D. Columbia University.
#HSIAO, KUNG-CHUAN: "A Modern China and a New World – K`ang Yu-wei, Reformer and Utopian, 1858-1927" (1975). Seattle and London: University of Washington Press.
#KARL, REBECCA and ZARROW, PETER (Hg.): "Rethinking the 1898 Reform Period – Political and Cultural Change in Late Qing China" (2002). Cambridge/Mass.: Harvard University Press, esp. pp. 24-33.
#TENG, SSU-YÜ and FAIRBANK, JOHN K.: "China’s response to the West – a documentary survey 1839-1923" (1954, 1979). Cambridge/Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp. 147-164 (chapter about Kang Youwei).
#THOMPSON, LAURENCE G.: "Ta t´ung shu: the one-world philosophy of K`ang Yu-wei" (1958). London: George Allen and Unwin, esp. pp. 37-57.
#ZARROW, PETER: “"The rise of Confucian radicalism"”, in Zarrow, Peter: China in war and revolution, 1895-1949 (New York: Routledge), 2005, 12-29.
#W. Franke, Die staatspolitischen Reformversuche K'ang Yu-weis u. seiner Schule. Ein Beitrag zur geistigen Auseinandersetzung Chinas mit dem Abendlande (in Mitt. des Seminars für Orientalische Sprachen, Bln. 38, 1935, Nr. 1, S. 1–83). –
#R. C. Howard, K'ang Yu-wei (1858–1927): His Intellectual Background and Early Thought (in Confucian Personalities, Hg. A. F. Wright u. D. Twitchett, Stanford 1962, S. 294–316). –
#K'ang Yu-wei. A Biography and a Symposium, Hg. Lo Jung-pang, Tucson 1967 (The Association for Asian Studies: Monographs and Papers, Bd. 23). –
#G. Sattler-v. Sivers, Die Reformbewegung von 1898 (in Chinas große Wandlung. Revolutionäre Bewegungen im 19. u. 20. Jh., Hg. P. J. Opitz, Mchn. 1972, S. 55–81). –
#Chi Wen-shun, K'ang Yu-wei (1858–1927) (in Die Söhne des Drachen. Chinas Weg vom Konfuzianismus zum Kommunismus, Hg. P. J. Opitz, Mchn. 1974, S. 83–109). –
#Hsiao Kung-chuan, A Modern China and a New World: K'ang Yu-wei, Reformer and Utopian, 1858–1927, Seattle 1975. –
#Kuang Bailin, Kang Youwei di zhexue sixiang, Peking 1980. –
#Wuxu weixin yundong shi lunji, Hg. Hu Shengwu, Changsha 1983. –
#Tang Zhijun, Kang Youwei yu wuxu bianfa, Peking 1984. – Ders., Wuxu bianfa shi, Peking 1984. –
#Chang Hao, Chinese Intellectuals in Crisis. Search for Order and Meaning (1890–1911), Berkeley 1987.

Kang youwei Grandson :Kang Ta siang (Live in Indonesia)

ee also

*Gongche Shangshu movement

External links

* [http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0827007.html Infoplease.com Profile]
* [http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Kang_Yu-wei.aspx K'ang Yu-wei on Encyclopedia.com]


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  • Kang Youwei — Kāng Yǒuwéi (chinesisch 康有為 / 康有为; * 19. März 1858 in der Nähe von Kanton, Provinz Kanton; † 31. März 1927) war ein führender chinesischer Reformer, Pädagoge und Philosoph …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kang Youwei — Kang Youwei. Kang Youwei o K ang Yu wei (19 de marzo de 1858, Foshan (Guangdong) 31 de marzo de 1927, Qingdao) fue un académico chino, una figura clave en el desarrollo intelectual de la moderna China. Destacó en el campo de la caligrafía y… …   Wikipedia Español

  • KANG YOUWEI — [K’ANG YEOU WEI] (1858 1927) L’exégèse des classiques confucéens, une mystique inspirée du bouddhisme et du taoïsme et l’influence de la pensée occidentale ont contribué à faire de ce fils d’une famille de fonctionnaires des environs de Canton,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Kang Youwei — Kang Youwei,   chinesischer Gelehrter und sozialpolitischer Reformer, * Nanhai (bei Kanton) 19. 3. 1858, ✝ Tsingtau 31. 3. 1927; bemühte sich im ausgehenden 19. Jahrhundert um eine Erneuerung Chinas, das nach dem japanischen Vorbild der… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Kang Youwei — Portrait de Kang Youwei Kang Youwei, ou K ang You wei (chinois traditionnel : 康有為; chinois simplifié : 康有为), né en 1858 à proximité de Canton (Guangdong) et mort en 1927, était un lettré, calligraphe et théoricien politique chinois …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kang Youwei — or K ang Yu wei born March 19, 1858, Guangdong province, China died March 31, 1927, Qingdao, Shandong Chinese scholar, a key figure in the intellectual development of modern China. In 1895 Kang led hundreds of provincial graduates to protest the… …   Universalium

  • Kang Youwei — o K ang Yeu wei (19 mar. 1858, provincia de Guangdong, China–31 mar. 1927, Qingdao, Shandong). Humanista chino, figura clave en el desarrollo intelectual de la China moderna. En 1895 encabezó a cientos de estudiantes de provincia para protestar… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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