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Zhejiang New Culture Movement
Post Time: 12/07/2018
 In June of 1919, Chen Wangdao returned from Japan, arriving in Hangzhou in summer. At the invitation of Jing Hengyi, president of Zhejiang First Normal School (ZFNS, now Zhejiang Hangzhou High School), Chen was appointed as a Chinese teacher there. 

In that year, something happened in the school on West Lake, reforming the teaching models, supporting new ideas, and starting progressive publications. Mr. Chen brought a new light, spreading through the cracks and illuminating the way in the hearts of students in a turbulent era. 


Center of the New Culture Movement

Zhejiang First Normal School evolved from Zhejiang Official Secondary Normal School. Many celebrities, including Shen Junru, Lu Xun, Xu Shoushang, and Ma Xulun, have taught here. ZFNS President Jing was a democratic educator who advocated schools following the trends of the times and discarding old ways of life in favor of the new. After the inception of the May Fourth Movement, the slogan “advancing with the times” proposed by Jing was recognized as a general policy for ZFNS, and drastic reforms began there. ZFNS gradually became the base of the Zhejiang New Culture Movement.

This wave of the May Fourth Movement came to Zhejiang when Chen became a teacher at ZFNS. After his arrival at the school, he actively engaged in the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal New Culture Movement with other teachers under the guidance of Jing.   


Propagandizing Communism

The New Culture Movement shaped a new generation of intellectuals. After the May Fourth Movement, the survival and stability of the nation was more important than enlightenment. Intellectuals in this era took action and explored ways of saving the nation and its people. As part of this, a large number of student publications came into being.

New Trends in Zhejiang was the most influential publication among those started by teachers and students at ZFNS. Edited by Chen Wangdao, it was regarded as a “guiding light” in Zhejiang during the May Fourth period. It was the first publication influenced by the October Revolution in the USSR to promote socialism in Zhejiang. 

The publication immediately attracted intellectuals nationwide because of its trendy ideas and well-written words. Chen Duxiu specially publicized an article, New Trends in Zhejiang: Youths, to praise its publication and the revolutionary spirit of the youth in Hangzhou.


Trailblazer in Political Unrest

On March 29, 1920, the students of ZFNS created political unrest to support the New Culture Movement with the slogan of keeping President Jing and protecting the school when the reactionary authorities wanted to displace Jing.

The vigorous development of the Zhejiang New Culture Movement angered the Beiyang government, which became desperate to stop it. They aimed at the source of the Zhejiang New Culture MovementZFNSto stop the development and spread of these ideas.

In the political unrest, the courage and loyalty of the teachers and students at ZFNS quickly gained nationwide support. Thanks to all of their efforts, they succeeded in their struggle.

The ongoing political unrest at ZFNS became a landmark of student movements and cultural movements in China at that time. It highlighted the key role of youth, democracy, and science, and reflected the strong social responsibility of that generation. (By Zhang Jingtian – Yiwu Shangbao, translated by Pan Yinghua, edited by Kendra Fiddler)


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