2012 New History
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On the Study of the Ching-shih Idea in Post-War Taiwan

Eugene W. ChiuYun-tsung Chang

Department of History, Tunghai University

In terms of ideological structure, the ideas of “hsiu-shen(self-cultivation) and or “ching-shih(statesmanship) were, taken together, a pair of important concepts in the Confucian system. From a comparative view on which ideas best represented the character of Confucianism, the idea of ching-shih, which stressed social participation and this-worldly activism, was far more important than the idea of hsiu-shen, which was characterized by a sort of “asceticism”. Unlike PRC China, which harshly continued its severe criticism of Confucianism from the foundation of the Communist regime in 1949 until the declaration of Teng Hsiao-ping’s new “Open-door Policy” in the late 1970s, Taiwan, in contrast, showed her enthusiasm for the study of Classical and Neo-Confucianism in the past half century. Among the touched subjects within the field of Confucian studies, the study of the ching-shih idea has become, indeed, one of the most absorbing issues in the study of Confucianism in Post-War Taiwan. This intellectual phenomenon became possible mainly because of the promotion of this very subject by two eminent professors in the 1970s: K. C. Liu and Hao Chang. Thanks to Liu and Chang’s pioneering work, as well as original contributions, the study of the ching-shih idea in Taiwan reached its zenith in the 1980s in terms of quantity and quality. However, research on the ching-shih problem in Taiwan currenty seems to be losing its momentum, especially since the beginning of the 1990s. This paper therefore, attempt to examine some basic aspects, characteristics, and contributions or the study of the ching-shih idea in Post-War Taiwan. Although this paper intends to examine the study of the ching-shih idea in Taiwan after the late 1940s, the focus of the current study is the 1970s, when the idea of ching-shih became an important part or academic discourse.


Key Words: Ching-shih, K. C. Liu, Hao Chang, Huan-ch’ao ching-shih wen-pien, late Ming and early Ch’ing, late Ch’ing