Liang Qichao was a prominent figure in China’s modernization movement, widely recognized for his contributions as an intellectual, political activist, historian, and educator. He is considered one of the country’s flag bearers for modernization, and his legacy was celebrated at a symposium held at the National Library of China in Beijing on Thursday.
The event was attended by dozens of scholars, librarians, publishers, and delegates from Liang’s family, who gathered to pay homage to his life and work. Born in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, on February 23, 1873, Liang first gained nationwide recognition during the failed political movement of 1898, which called for a constitutional monarchy and political reforms during the Qing Dynasty’s later years.
Following the fall of the dynasty, Liang emerged as a leading advocate for enlightenment and modernization in social and cultural circles through his prolific and inspiring works. He also served as the director of several key libraries, including the predecessor of the current national library.
During the symposium, Xiong Yuanming, director of the national library, spoke of Liang’s exceptional contribution to the early-stage development of modern libraries in China. He highlighted that Liang’s academic studies, patriotism, and morals were remembered not only to honor him but also to inspire future generations to inherit his spirit and continue the lineage of Chinese literature.
Liang’s works were praised for their profound impact on Chinese society and culture. He was an influential figure in shaping China’s modernization movement, inspiring generations to embrace change and adopt new ideas. His insights and analysis of China’s history and culture were instrumental in advancing the country’s intellectual discourse and developing its cultural identity.
Liang’s commitment to education was also a crucial element of his legacy. He believed that education was essential to China’s progress, and he worked tirelessly to promote it throughout his life. His vision of education as a tool for social and cultural transformation continues to resonate today, and his advocacy for lifelong learning remains an inspiration to many.
In addition to his contributions to education and culture, Liang was a fierce political activist. He advocated for political reforms and democracy in China, which led to his exile in Japan in 1900. Despite this setback, he continued to write and publish influential works that challenged traditional ideas and called for social and political change.
Liang’s legacy remains a crucial element of China’s cultural and intellectual history. His ideas and vision for modernization continue to inspire scholars and leaders in China and beyond. As the country continues to grapple with the challenges of modernization and globalization, Liang’s insights and advocacy for change remain as relevant today as they were during his lifetime.
Cheng Zhangcan, a professor at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, highlighted Liang Qichao’s recognition of the pivotal role that libraries played in public service in China. He was among the first to appreciate the importance of libraries in promoting education and modernization in China. However, Liang maintained a balanced view towards traditional culture and was opposed to simply transplanting Western formats into China during the initial stages of modernization.
Chen Lai, a philosopher and director of Tsinghua Academy of Chinese Learning, noted that during the early 20th century modernization movement, there was a trend to criticize traditional Chinese culture represented by Confucianism. Liang, however, had a more insightful view and called for new methods of studying Confucianism while retaining the country’s cultural core during modernization.
Liang’s approach to cultural modernization was seen as crucial during his time, and he was hailed as one of the “four masters” at Tsinghua Academy of Chinese Learning in the 1920s. Although the academy only ran for four years, it was seen as a key milestone in the study of traditional Chinese culture in modern history, nurturing a long list of leading scholars in the humanities. The academy was re-established by Tsinghua University in 2009.
Liang’s vision for cultural modernization continues to inspire scholars in the new era today. As Chen explained, “His attitude of how to inherit the fine traditional Chinese culture still inspires scholars in the new era today.” Liang’s approach to cultural modernization was rooted in a deep appreciation of Chinese culture and a desire to incorporate new ideas and knowledge from the West while retaining the country’s unique cultural identity.
Liang’s approach was a departure from the prevailing trend of the time, which often dismissed traditional Chinese culture as outdated and irrelevant. Liang recognized the value of traditional Chinese culture and sought to integrate it into modern society. He believed that this would not only enrich China’s cultural identity but also contribute to its progress and development.
Liang’s insights and ideas about cultural modernization continue to influence scholars in China and beyond. His legacy remains an important part of China’s cultural and intellectual history, inspiring generations to embrace change while staying true to their cultural heritage.
As China continues to navigate the challenges of modernization and globalization, Liang’s approach to cultural modernization offers valuable lessons for scholars and leaders alike. His vision for integrating traditional Chinese culture with new ideas and knowledge from the West is an example of how cultural exchange and innovation can contribute to a country’s progress and development.
Liang’s legacy serves as a reminder of the importance of cultural identity and the need to preserve and promote cultural heritage in the face of rapid social and technological change. His approach to cultural modernization remains an inspiration to scholars and leaders in China and beyond, who continue to draw on his insights and ideas to navigate the complexities of modernization and globalization.
Xia Xiaohong, a professor at Peking University in China, believes that Liang Qichao made a significant contribution to the promotion of “common sense” among the Chinese public through education, enabling the spirit of reform to reach people from all walks of life. Liang Qichao was a prominent Chinese scholar and journalist who lived from 1873 to 1929. He was a key figure in the intellectual and political movements that shaped modern China.
To spread Liang’s ideas more widely, the National Library of China launched a digital library featuring his major works on Wednesday. Xiong, the library director, revealed that there are plans to hold an exhibition of documents related to Liang’s life later this year. This will provide people with an opportunity to learn more about Liang Qichao’s life and work.
Liang Qichao’s family played an important role in the development of modern China. His sons and daughters received a comprehensive and detailed education, which helped them become key figures in their respective fields. For instance, Liang Sicheng, his son, is regarded as a master architect who designed some of China’s most iconic buildings, as well as the national emblem of the People’s Republic of China. Another son, Liang Siyong, was a leading figure in the early days of modern Chinese archaeology.
Yu Guolin, the deputy editor-in-chief of the Zhonghua Book Company, announced that letters written by Liang Qichao and his family will be published, as well as his writings from his travels abroad. This will provide readers with a deeper understanding of Liang Qichao’s ideas and the context in which they were formed.
Commemorative events were also held on Thursday in Tianjin, where Liang Qichao once lived, and in his hometown of Jiangmen. These events provided an opportunity for people to come together and reflect on Liang Qichao’s life and legacy, as well as the impact he had on China’s intellectual and political landscape.
Liang Qichao was a significant figure in China’s history, and his contributions to the country’s development continue to be recognized and celebrated today. By promoting “common sense” among the public through education, Liang Qichao helped to create a more informed and engaged citizenry, which was crucial for China’s progress at the time. Through the digital library, exhibitions, and publications, people today can learn more about Liang Qichao’s ideas and legacy, and continue to be inspired by his work.
In addition to being a prominent intellectual and journalist, Liang Qichao was also a leading figure in the Chinese reform movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He advocated for political and social reforms that would modernize China and help it catch up with the Western powers. His ideas influenced many of the leading figures of the time, and his legacy continues to be felt today.
Liang Qichao’s commitment to education was another important aspect of his legacy. He believed that educating the public was crucial for China’s progress, and he advocated for universal education as a means of achieving this goal. His family’s commitment to education was also evident, as his children went on to become prominent figures in their respective fields.
The digital library launched by the National Library of China is an important resource for people interested in Liang Qichao’s life and work. It provides easy access to his major works, which were influential in their time and continue to be studied today. The planned exhibition of documents related to Liang Qichao’s life will also provide a valuable opportunity for people to learn more about this important figure in China’s history.
Overall, Liang Qichao’s legacy continues to be felt in China and beyond.