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By Susan L. Glosser

On the sunrise of the 20 th century, China's sovereignty used to be fragile at most sensible. within the face of foreign strain and household upheaval, younger city radicals--desperate for reforms that might store their nation--clamored for switch, championing Western-inspired family members reform and selling unfastened marriage selection and financial and emotional independence. yet what got here to be often called the hot tradition flow had the unwitting impact of fostering totalitarianism. during this wide-reaching, engrossing publication, Susan Glosser examines how the hyperlink among family members order and nationwide salvation affected state-building and explores its lasting outcomes. Glosser successfully argues that the alternative of the authoritarian, patriarchal, nuclear family constitution with an egalitarian, conjugal family members used to be a manner for the kingdom to maintain an important parts of its conventional tradition. Her accomplished examine indicates that during the tip, relations reform cleared the path for the chinese language Communist occasion to set up a deeply intrusive nation that undermined the legitimacy of person rights.

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The population accepted and even welcomed these policies because it believed they were necessary for China’s survival. In using national strengthening as their justification for reform, New Culture radicals struck a Faustian bargain with the powers and logic of Glosser, Chinese Visions 9/11/02 1:15 PM Page 18 18 Introduction rhetoric. The rationale of national salvation allowed them to swiftly dismantle long-lived structures of authority and dominance. They themselves benefited from the new freedom and power that the reforms promised young men.

53 Although historians scrupulously record the perpetuation of gender bias, they share their subjects’ belief that these views of women derived from Chinese tradition. 55 Their interpretation of the nature of family tradition applies equally well to China. The “traditional” woman’s role promoted by the participants in the family-reform debate, whether New Culture intellectuals, Nationalists, entrepreneurs, or Communists, had undergone significant transformations. 56 In the iconography of good mothers, even single mothers took a fairly passive role in their children’s education.

Benjamin Schwartz affirms Yan Fu’s observation that liberal values were connected to the rationalization of the socioeconomic “machinery” of the modern nation-state—the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the military, and industrialization. 68 My goal in this study is to understand the logic of the choices Republican Chinese made and their consequences. It is not my intention to blame the Chinese for plac- Glosser, Chinese Visions 9/11/02 1:15 PM Page 21 Introduction 21 ing national survival above all else or champion the West for its valorization of individualism.

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