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The dependable standpoint on the division of Chinese ancient culture and Chinese modern culture is the outbreak of Opium War (1839-1842) between Empire of UK and China under the administration of Qing Government(1636-1911). This milestone of cultural classification signs the coming of Chinese modern culture, which is consistent with Chinese modern history impressed with abasement in culture and spirit and invasion in territory and interior affairs. China as an independent nation was in danger of collapse. Many professionals believed China since then gradually became a semi-colony and semi-feudal country and the glories China created were gone and could not be helpful. Hence, a mass of elites thought that Chinese ancient culture was out-of-date and useless and agreed that the ancient culture was not seasoned with the change of current situation. A new type of culture should be used to replace the so-called degenerated and corrupted ancient culture, and this new-born culture was widely named modern culture for differing entirely from ancient culture.

Chinese modern culture is a mixed-blood baby under the cooperative upbringing of Chinese traditional culture and western culture. But seemingly, Chinese modern culture is more featured of westernization in life and academics, because majority of cultural elites used to learn overseas and grow under the influence of western culture. Hu Shi(1891-1962), well known as Father of Chinese Modern Renaissance and Backbone of Chinese Colloquial Literature Movement, was an absolute Americanized academic master all the life maintaining the pragmaticism and liberalism although he was also nurtured a lot by Chinese traditional culture. Hu Shi was graduated from Cornell University and Columbia University and learnt from his teacher, John Dewey, a world-famous philosopher and educationalist. Chen Yinque(1890-1969), an authoritative academic master understanding dozens of western languages, used to study in Europe for a long time. Lu Xun(1881-1936), a friend of Chinese Communist Party and influential realistic literature master, used to learn medicine and literature in Japan, so did his young brother, Zhou Zuoren(1885-1967). All these outstanding cultural masters are all affected mostly by western culture. Chinese modern culture in this way is the process of westernization and denationalization of Chinese traditional culture, but objectively speaking, the reform and renewal of Chinese culture from ancient type to modern type are still more or less based on the tradition all the way.

In the circumstances, let us focus on the westernizing process of Chinese modern culture. Since the exterior power both in military affairs and cultural influence intervened China including the slow infiltration of missionary represented western culture since mid period of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the direct military invasion since late period of Qing Dynasty, Chinese ancient culture graducally became unbalanced. For rebalancing the culture, Chinese culture beguns a hard and flexuose reconstruction. A series of refoms were implemented. Studying Overseas Movement, Yangwu Movement (1861-1894), Weixin Movement (just lasted roughly 100 days in 1895), Xinhai Revolution (took place in 1911and overthrew the reign of Qing Government), May-Fourth Movement (appealing for freedom and democracy incited by the ideology of science and democracy of western culture in 1919) and Foundation of New China (means the re-independence of China under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party). All of these reformative and radical movements were directly or indirectly influenced by western culture and rebuilt Chinese culture. Chinese history in the past 100 years mainly aimed at transferring Chinese ancient culture to Chinese modern culture, but has not completed yet. Today China is still in the process of this great transfer. China modern culture inherits a lot of Chinese ancient culture and western culture. From succession to digest and assimilation, more time will be spent, and it is the must!



 

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