The Chinese Human Rights Reader:

9. Self-awareness (1914)

Zhang Shizhao

Zhang Shizhao (1881–1973) was deeply involved in anti-Manchu revolutionary politics in the earliest years of the century. Between 1908 and 1911 he studied law, politics, and logic at the University of Edinburgh, during which time he became enamored of Western liberalism. After the 1911 Revolution, as before it, Zhang was closely associated with the revolutionary forces, but he never officially joined them. In founding The Tiger Magazine [Jiayin zazhi] in 1914, Zhang reinforced his reputation as a political independent, for in that journal he criticized China’s radicals and conservatives alike, calling for moderation and greater tolerance in public life. As is evident in the piece translated here, Zhang also took a strong stand in support of the rights of the individual, arguing that countries become strong not when they repress the rights of their citizens in the name of a strong state and unified society, but instead when they protect those rights (which he sometimes referred to as human rights, or renquan), thereby enabling the people to develop their full potential.

Last updated:11/30/01
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