This chapter examines Kang Youwei’s influence on the changing pattern of political authority in late nineteenth-century China. The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part surveys Kang’s contemporaries, their criticisms of Qing authority and their arguments for and against modernizing this authority. It finds that all agreed on the intrinsic problems of old authority but that none produced a clear programme which would either adapt or eliminate this to suit the needs of modernization, as Kang’s proposals did. This is not an entirely new perspective on Kang. The majority of Sinologists inside and outside of China agree that his role as a reformer was, and remains, more significant than that of other Chinese intellectuals from the period.3
KeywordsEconomic Reform Reform Programme Administrative Reform Chinese Intellectual Strong Authority
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