Publication Date



Vera Schwarcz


College of Social Studies


English (United States)


The thesis traces the intellectual journey of Liang Qichao, a modern Chinese political thinker and journalist. Certain parts of the thesis discuss Liang's concept of nationalism and civic virtue in “his key essay ’New Citizens’ and the role of language and various new lexicons that shaped key political ideas in 20th century. The thesis also address Liang's own practice of civic virtue through journalism and in his political career by contrasting him with other major political intellectuals, including Hu Shi,’ Lu Xun and Mao Zedong. Moreover, this project is not solely about Liang. It analyzes the process through which civic virtue has been instrumentalized into a vicious and depthless concept by the gradually simplification of language and expression since the 1920s. This simplification, as the thesis shows, has evolved into a mechanism for the manipulation of public life in China today. By honoring Liang Qichao's modern political thought and his public-concerned personality, Ni Zheyan’s thesis provides a ’spiritual canvas ” for the possibilities of Chinese democracy.

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