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Prof. Jiang Mei's Students Won the Third Prize of 12th National Challenge Cup

BY Catharine Lee

The final competition of 12th Challenge Cup national undergraduate curricular academic science and technology works by race has just ended in Dalian University of Technology. Gu Qiongmin and Li Yue won the third prize for their academic thesis on World View of the Intellectuals of Constitutional Reform and Modernization in late-Qing period –centered on advantages and disadvantages based on the comparison between China and West, which was under supervision of Prof. Jiang Mei in GHC. This work describes the various recognition conflicts of advantages and disadvantages based on the comparison between china and west by intellectuals of Constitutional Reform and Modernization in late Qing period, and focuses on probing the thought characters of world view and China awareness of academic circle at that time. It is reported that this work also won the Special Class Award of 6th Beijing ?? Challenge Cup?? undergraduates curriculum academic and technological works competition, which led to a recommendation to the 12th national Challenge Cup competition. This award is of national level, and is the highest award that students in GHC have won.


The late-Qing period witnesses the great changes of china's foreign relations. China gradually involved in the modern world development dominated by Euro-America and was peripherized. The traditional view of ??land under heaven?? collapsed. It became an inevitable issue for the intellectuals to construct a new world view, find the right place of China in the new world setup, and how to apply the traditional civilization with Confucianism as the main part in the new world setup, based on a comparison of advantages and disadvantages between China and west.

The author holds that the collapse of land under heaven represents the collapse of traditional civilization view. The intellectuals of late-Qing period had changed their world view based on their reflections of supreme Chinese civilization. They admitted that Chinese civilization was not the only form of civilization, the westerners had their own civilizations, and reevaluated the advantages and disadvantages of Chinese civilization and western civilization.

In the author's view, the intellectual elites of late-Qing period were self-contradictory in their evaluation of China and west. Both The nation-state recognition and modernization which was influenced by western civilization, and Chinese cultural recognition and universalism which was inherited in Chinese tradition exist in the minds of the intellectual elites of late-Qing period. Therefore, their world view is full of conflict–a division between the real world recognition and future world expectation: in the perspective of reality, they accepted the western ideas, new ??world views?? and civilization orders; as far as future is concerned, they resisted the peripherization of China hoping a transfer of civilization to china.

On one hand, the intellectual elites chose to clarify the reality and compared China and west with a utilitarian approach, and admitted that China is behind the west at that time. On the other hand, the traditional value make them not abandon the erosion part of Chinese civilization, and advocated the western knowledge and ideas originated in China, in order to prove that China is only lag behind in some phase and would catch up with and even surpass the west in future. These things give rise to the complicated thought and unique characters of intellectual elites in that time.

In general, facing the strong western advantages, intellectual elites of Late-Qing period was brave to admit that China lag behind the west, at the same time, they also were optimistic and confident to believe that China would be an important role in future world as long as China drew the advantages of western modernization. This attitude is neither humble nor arrogant, which is helpful to the anti-eurocentrism nowadays, and can consolidate our faith to an independent development of China. It also provides a knowledge background for us to better solve the multi-civilization conflicts in the globalization period. This work shows a perspective of global history and strong theory argument, which is of some academic value.