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Zhang Junmai 张君劢 (1886-1969, also transliterated as Chang Chun-mai), also known by his courtesy name Carsun Chang), was a prominent Chinese philosopher, public intellectual and political figure. Zhang Junmai was a major exponent of Chinese liberalism.

A pioneering theorist of human rights in the Chinese context, Zhang established his own small "Third Force" democratic party during the Nationalist era.

Equipped with the traditional Confucian degree of xiucai or "accomplished scholar", Zhang went on to study at Waseda University in Japan where he came under the influence of Liang Qichao's theory of constitutional monarchy. In 1918 he accompanied Liang’s tour of post-war Europe, later going to Germany to study philosophy fpr a short time in Berlin University. While in Germany he came under the influence of the teachings of Rudolf Eucken (1846-1926) and Henri Bergson (1859-1941). With Hans Driesch, who was formerly Eucken's student, Zhang travelled throughout China in the early 1920s, serving as Driesch's Chinese translator as he lectured on Eucken's philosophical vision. Appointed a professor of philosophy at Beijing University, he instigated polemics over science and metaphysics (known in Chinese as the "worldview controversy.") He wrote extensively on what now forms part of modern neo-Confucianism.

With Zhang Dongsun, he organized a National Socialist Party (not connected with the Nazis in Germany). In 1933 he and Huang Yanpei organized the China Democratic League, a Third Force party with strong commitments to liberal doctrines of separation of powers, freedom of expression and human rights. After the war against Japan, Zhang became the chairman of the China Democratic Socialist Party.

Opposed to the Chinese communists, but also dissatisfied with Chiang Kai-shek 's (also spelled Jiang Jieshi) noncompliance with the constitution, Zhang Junmai went to the United States after 1949. The Democratic Socialist Party moved to Taiwan afterwards and continued resisting the implementation of a one-party dictatorship and oppression by the Kuomintang (Guomindang) though its very survival in Taiwan was due to its tacit cooperation with the Kuomintang. Zhang Junmai reappeared in 1962 calling for the unity of the party, but returned to the United States before his death in 1969.

See also

References

  • Roger B. Jeans, Jr., Democracy and Socialism in Republican China: The Politics of Zhang Junmai (Carsun Chang), 1906-1941, Lanham (Maryland) and Oxford (UK): Rowman & Littlefield, 1997
  • Xinzhong Yao, ed., RoutledgeCurzon Encyclopedia of Confucianism. London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003, Vol. 2, pp. 799-800.
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