The French and Modern Civilization

Contemporary Chinese Thought 31 (1):54-57 (1999)
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After a thorough classical education, Chen Duxiu went on to be a pioneering reform writer and activist, leader of the New Culture movement, Dean of the Arts and Sciences at Beijing University, and cofounder of the Chinese Communist Party. His writings are usually brief and polemical, and he rarely pauses to expound on the meanings of central theoretical terms. He is nonetheless an astute and coherent author, not easily pigeonholed as "nationalist," "individualist," "cosmopolitan," or any of the numerous other categories under which scholars have filed him. Prior to 1921 his writings regularly touched on rights and human rights; the following well-known essay provides a flavor of his concern for equality and individual self-determination. Chen moved away from talk of human rights during his career as a leader in the Chinese Communist Party, although he did return to the ideas of freedoms and rights later in life, after expulsion from the Party



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