Liang Qichao

  • Michael Twohey
Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


Kang Youwei confirmed the necessity of maintaining Xunzi’s philosophy if China were to implement a modern authoritarian strategy. Liang Qichao seemed to support this view. But beyond this, Liang argued that authoritarian rule would not function successfully in China until the people were taught why an emphasis on collective interests was a better guarantee of their own welfare than an emphasis on individual interests. Liang also justified this argument according to Xunzi’s principles. This chapter examines these principles and shows how they informed and confirmed Liang’s political conviction that Chinese development required Chinese solutions. Liang did not reach this position without seeking Western alternatives. No other mainland Chinese scholar this century has given more serious attention to Western political theory or written more prolifically about it than has Liang. But his readings of figures like Mill, Rousseau, Montesquieu and Bentham convinced him that Western liberal democracy would sow dissension and disorder in China, and that it would hamper Chinese rulers’ abilities to push development forward.


French Revolution Authoritarian Rule Social Revolution Foreign Power Authoritarian Leadership 
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© Michael Twohey 1999

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  • Michael Twohey

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