by Ta Kung Pao
(This article was brought up by Boxun yesterday, but it was actually published last year around the Spring Festival. Still very relevant.)
1, After three decades of experience, the Spring Festival Celebration Show has become a national ceremony showcasing the “high, grand and noble”. In this ceremony, all kinds of political elements come to stage to exhibit directly or indirectly, and to shock or comfort audiences at the site and in front of the TV. These elements in the Spring Festival Celebration Show play the roles on constructing mainstream national ideology.
2, Spring Festival Celebration Show has ceased to become an entertainment for everyone, but it is rather a political tool. It has started to follow the mainstream and sing purple proses, and perform more political functions.
Talk of the publishing of the book Rereading Hu Shi, with Ren Jiantao, Xu Zhangrun and Gao Quanxi
Ren Jiantao 任剑涛 is a professor of Political Studies at Renmin University
He has a blog on Aisixiang.
1, Especially for us three who went to university in the end of the 1970s and experienced the whole history of the reform and open up, the cultural gene in our blood strictly speaking is very much influenced by the Cultural Revolution. Different from the extreme leftists of today, all the three of us are scholars who fight hard with our cultural gene of Cultural Revolution. Why do we exaggerate by using the word “fight”? It is because what is in our blood is from the Cultural Revolution. If we don’t fight with it, it is very easy for us to slip into the mud of extreme leftism and it would be difficult to get out. We grew up in the era of “singing the red and combating the black”.
2, People probably know that academic thinkers and leaders who are active nowadays were born mostly in the 50s. They have a clear vision, which is to provide answers about anything for everyone. They tend to say: “We are pursuing for the truth”. People in our generation tend to highlight that we are just clearing up our thoughts and mindsets. These are very different approaches. We don’t plan to provide any kind of easy answer. We just would like to clear up our thoughts from relevant “reflections”.
3, For today’s China, we are right at the crossroad of the rise of a huge country. It is very rare to find scholars like Mr. Hu Shi, who internally advocated that “tolerance is more important than freedom”, and externally examined China’s modern development with international perspective, beyond nationalism. It is also rare to find scholars like him who could investigate China from the layers of an individual country and the whole world, with an humanitarian perspective.
4, Hu Shi is a flag. This flag on one hand refuses radicalism; on the other hand refuses rigid political conservativism and cultural conservatism. This is a flag that is enough to encourage people to look at history and reality reasonably. What it reflects outward is that it demonstrates how to hold a more needed and rationale perspective to look at China. Especially how to have the basic ability to hold on rationalism but still manage to maintain our cultural traditions and still play a decisive role on the healthy development of China. This is the most proximate reason for us to show such deep respect of Mr. Hu Shi.
Xu Zhangrun 许章润 is a professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Law
(On why it is important to reread Hu Shi)
1, First, Like Mr. Liang Shuming, what Mr. Hu Shi concerned of in his whole life was the issue of cultural transformation. But deep down it was actually a “problem of China” that has been troubling Chinese for generations. In another word, for such a big and old country like China, it was weak and poor. It faced modern civilization initiated by aggressive Western countries. How to realize its cultural transformation and make itself strong again? During this process, particularly to fulfill the mission of the so-called “saving the country” and “building the country”, it has something to do with the “China-West conflict” and the contrast between the old and current.
2, Second, Mr. Hu Shi embodied intellectuals’ dignified beauty.
2, 第二, 胡适身上洋溢着知识分子的尊严美
3, Third, Mr. Hu Shi’s thinking during his whole life showcased a worldly attitude that was conscientious, middle-way, mild, rational, transparent and accessible.
3, 第三, 那就是适之先生的思考，终其一生，展现了一种审慎、中道、平和、理性的经世态度,通透，通达。
4, Fourth, Mr. Hu Shi had a good personality. He was kind, humble, genuine. He was good-mannered and respectable throughout his whole life. He never used obscene words, and didn’t have any bad habits. It sounds like bottom requirements, but it is actually a high achievement of character cultivation. In other words, we could say that good morality is often reflected as exterior elegance.
5, Five: Hu Shi and Jiang Jieshi - the relationship between intellectuals and power. Nowadays in China, liberalist intellectual groups actually maintain a relatively independent attitude from political power. They do not lack critical stance and embody the integrity of traditional academics. To the contrary, some leading Neo-Confucians start to show the trend of kowtowing to politics. In terms of the new-leftists, especially the leftist theorists, they always seem to be in the “conservative league”. I think they really need to learn from Mr. Hu Shi and try to absorb some resources from his legacy!
6, Six, intellectuals’ integrity and control in this big era. In a turbulent time that Mr. Hu Shi lived in, he pursued both politics and academia with humble and studious attitude. He had power but never abused it. He seeked his path but never settled on the fixed. It was a complicated process of self-control and self-cultivation. He set a model for Chinese intellectuals who pursue politics.
7, Seventh, Hu Shi’s spiritual guidance to contemporary academics.
Few people were born and managed to survive in the year of 1962 because of the famine. Scholars of the generation of 1962 like to pride themselves as inheriting the spirit of Hu Shi, who passed away in 1962. Actually they are trying to figure out the holistic pursuits of how to live, how to pursue academia, how to build a country in the big historical juncture of “ancient, contemporary, East and West”. We try to demonstrate the multi-dimensionality of China’s academic ecology.
Xu Zhangrun: An interview with Nanfang People Magazine in 2013
Xu Zhangrun’s Five aspirations for the New Year
This is part of the “New Year’s Aspirations” Seminar held by Unirule Institute of Economics and China-Review.com
1, First, within the Republic that is based on the Constitution and democracy, there are no enemies, just criminals who commit crimes. Therefore the country should not use the enemy mindset or fighting philosophy. They need to deal with the relations among citizen communities and criminals based on the rule of law.
2, Second, in the past two years, there are lots of campaigns on anti-corruption and rule of law to supervise officials to become less corrupted and more disciplined. It advocates a kind of uplifted national spirit and elegant way of life. It is positive and deserves applauses.
3, However, they should not forbid the “three obscenities” with public power. They should not oppress or reject people’s ordinary lives of market consumption based on life needs. They need to tolerate ordinary people’s taste and nurture and advocate high culture. The ordinary and the “obscene” needs to be be given back to ordinary people; the elegant and noble needs to be maintained in temples.
4, Speaking of happiness, it is people’s nature to pursue happiness. “A life of happiness” is a beautiful concept. However, the so-called “people’s happiness” is more of a general, overall vision. It is particularly a propaganda term.
5, Deep down, happiness is a private concept. It means in an equal social and political condition with rule of law, individuals have the freedom of pursuing a happy life. It has something to do with personal values and concepts. It is impossible to be provided by public power, let alone be categorized with a model provided by the government.
6, It is impossible for public power to determine what is happiness -- you must be happy or how to be happy. Civilians and citizens should not ask the government to provide happiness, etc.
7, This year is the 70th anniversary of the AntI-Fascist war. It is also the 70th anniversary of the anti-Japanese war. There will definitely be large-scale commemorative events. These events will be good opportunities for China to showcase its intentions to realize its friendly political resolutions and demonstrate a “modern China”. It is better to co-operate with others than flexing its individual muscles.
8, Fourth, I hope CCTV could set up a “Channel for the People’s Congress”, where they could broadcast their meetings live all the time, with their discussions, inquiries and debates.
9, Fifth, I have another hope, about China’s university education… I hope it would follow the modern university management path to gradually slim down Party organizations and personnel in universities, and eventually get rid of systemized Party organizations in universities.
9, 第五，我还有一个期许，关乎当下中国的高等教育。... 在此，希望循沿现代大学制度思路，逐步精简高校党团体系及其就业人员，最终取消建制化的党团体系。