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Hu Shi


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First Response essay

In this response essay, I will firstly be analyzing the various concepts put forward by Hu Shi. I will then attest to these arguments before evaluating the article as a whole. Hu Shi’s article “The Significance of The New Thought” in his book China’s response to the West provides an interesting and rational perspective regarding the attitudes displayed in the May fourth movement. Hu Shi actually alludes the May fourth movement to that of a ‘Chinese renaissance’ and bases the overall mindsets as one of criticism and reflection. In practice, this attitude identifies the existing flaws of the current status quo and innovates new ideas and improvements to the system. For example, throughout the movement many controversies were put forward such as the problem of Confucianism and technological development, vernacularism and the classical language, and our ethical practices to name a few. This stance to challenge encourages people to introduce new academic theories, to which it is developed and adjusted. To a substantial extent, I agree with Hu Shi’s interpretation of the May fourth movement. After all, it appears that throughout history, society tends to replace traditional institutions through a process of reflection and creative destruction.

In concordance with Chiang Monlin’s interpretation, Hu Shi views the May fourth movement as an “emancipating movement”. The movement was an era of challenge. Tradition was challenged by reason, authority was challenged by freedom, and suppression was challenged by humanist values. The movement was faced with a surge of radicalized idea’s many of whom were influenced by western politics. Communism was born with the downfall of the Russian Tsar Nicholas ll in 1917, and nationalism was born out of foreign imperialism. Culturally, china was previously dominated by Confucianism values, which was not only

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