Why did China s intellectuals turn to Communism? Reflecting on China s encounters with modernity, Communism, and capitalism, Xiaoming Chen offers an explanation by using as a case study the life and work of influential Chinese writer Guo Moruo (1892 1978). Guo was dedicated to the May Fourth Movement, which sought to bring reform, republicanism, and modern Western ideas to China, but abandoned these ideals for Communism in the mid-1920s. While the hope of national salvation was a major factor in Guo s conversion, Chen suggests other reasons, including a desire to save the whole world, a goal that was consistent with the traditional Confucian call to not only manage the state but also harmonize the world. Chen also argues that despite the collectivist and totalitarian outcome of the Chinese Communist movement, Marx s initial promise of ultimate individual emancipation served as a major attraction to intellectuals like Guo, who came to view Marxist Communism as the most efficient and thorough way to fulfill their dream of individual freedom.
The book covers Guo s intellectual and personal transitions, how the fight against the Confucian family system became the Marxist emancipation of the individual from capitalism, and how the Confucian struggle against sexual desire ceded to a struggle against material desires. The various combinations of Western and Confucian thought that Guo adopted ultimately led to a synthesis of Confucianism and Marxism-Leninism."
From the May Fourth Movement to Communist Revolution
State University of New York Press
Guo Moruo and the Chinese Path to Communism