In ancient times in our country, Wang Ch'ung was an eminent materialist and a brilliant atheist, a progressive thinker who opposed the orthodox feudal thought. This has gone basically unquestioned. This year the February 21 issue of Kuang-ming jih-pao printed in its philosophy section an article by Comrade T'ung Mo-an, "Is Wang Ch'ung a Peasant Class Thinker?" The article is an evaluation completely denying this. T'ung believes that the purpose of Wang Ch'ung's works was "to uphold the rule of the (...) Han," "ardently and unconditionally to sing the praises of the Han ruler and court," "to make sacred the rule of the Han," "to get the populace to live quietly, forever in a servile position," and "to view inimically and to slander peasant uprisings." "Wang Ch'ung was an orthodox thinker of the landlord class," "a thinker produced in the interests of the rule of the landlord class who confirmed the feudal orthodoxy." Although I myself am not praising Wang Ch'ung as a peasant class thinker or denying that in Wang Ch'ung's thought there are negative elements, I am completely unable to agree with the basic viewpoint that the author puts forward. (shrink)
Having read the works of Wang Ch'ung [A.D. 27-c. 100], I realized that they need to be recapitulated. Here I shall evaluate Wang Ch'ung and his thought and present what I feel to be the real significance that Wang Ch'ung's thought still has today.