Research in Chinese Traditional Studies: Hard-Pressed in the 1990s

Contemporary Chinese Thought 29 (4):35-49 (1998)
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On August 16, 1993, the People's Daily devoted an entire page to a signed article entitled "Traditional Chinese studies quietly on the rise at Yanyuan" [Yanyuan is the name of the ancient park in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing, where Beijing University is currently located.—Tran.]. Based on the first volume of Guoxue yanjiu , which was edited and published by the Beijing University Chinese Traditional Cultural Studies Center, the article carried a report on the current status and results of studies in Chinese traditional culture by scholars at the university. Since this was the first time since 1989 that the People's Daily had devoted extensive space to a report on Beijing University, the article drew positive reactions there. Later, due to active participation by the media, the view has naturally emerged in other circles and abroad to the effect that a "Chinese Traditional Studies Heat" is springing up on the Chinese mainland. Today, the impression that a Chinese Traditional Studies Heat is sweeping China is further strengthened as people look back at the great increase, since the 1990s, in the number of publications related to traditional culture, as well as the two grandiose activities commemorating Confucius in 1989 and 1990. But, in fact, there has been no extensive Chinese Traditional Studies Heat of a nationwide scale, and the media's frequent use of the term "heat" is no more than a formulation used in news propagation



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Lai Chen
Tsinghua University

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