Chinese Humanism: From Revolution to Redemption

Abstract: In 1980s, humanism and human rights gained political momentum among reform-minded intellectuals within the Chinese Communist Party, who tried to incorporate the discourse into cultural and political projects they envisioned for the Party, which was operating under a reformist agenda. This project has been largely forgotten today, because it had failed politically. But as a cultural project it survived and changed the Chinese culture of the self. This paper revises the notion that the 80s was a period of cultural enlightenment that failed politically. Rather, the 80s marked a period of political redemption that survived culturally. The 80s, as a result, is a redemption for the Cultural Revolution.

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