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lunedì 13 giugno 2016

Anarchists from China

Anarchists from China

Ba Jin

Ba Jin (巴金) (traslitterato anche come Pa Chin e talora come Pa Kin), è il nome d'arte di 李堯棠T, 李尧棠S, Lǐ YáotángP, il cui nome di cortesia zi è Li Feigan (李芾甘) (Chengdu, 25 novembre 1904 – Shanghai, 17 ottobre 2005) è stato uno scrittore cinese, considerato uno dei più importanti scrittori cinesi del XX secolo.
Anarchico fin dalla giovane età, prese lo pseudonimo Ba Jin dalle iniziali cinesi dei cognomi di Michail Bakunin (Ba 巴) e Pëtr Alekseevič Kropotkin (Jin 金).


Nato a Chengdu (成都), nella provincia del Sichuan (四川), Ba Jin proveniva da una famiglia di letterati confuciani. Nel 1920 si iscrisse alla Scuola di Specializzazione in Lingue Straniere di Chengdu dove studiò inglese. Tre anni dopo si trasferì a Shanghai e quindi a Nanchino. In questo periodo si avvicinò all'anarchismo e all'esperanto, lingua con cui cominciò a scrivere pamphlet politici sulla Rivolta di Haymarket.
Nel 1927 viaggiò e studiò in Francia dove cominciò ad usare il suo pseudonimo per firmare la sua prima opera Miewang (灭亡, Distruzione) ambientata nei circoli anarchici rivoluzionari della Shanghai contemporanea. L'opera uscì a puntate in Cina con enorme successo. In Francia fu attivo nel movimento popolare volto a far pressione sugli Stati Uniti d'America per impedire la condanna a morte di Sacco e Vanzetti. Con Vanzetti Ba Jin scambiò anche un breve carteggio. Tornato nel 1928 a Shanghai si dedicò alla letteratura, sia scrivendo romanzi sia dedicandosi a riviste ed articoli, in particolare fu curatore della rivista esperantista La Verda Lumo.
Le sue opere più famose sono Famiglia (家, 1933 primo libro della trilogia “激流三部曲”, che comprende anche 春 e 秋) e la Trilogia dell'Amore (爱情三部曲) composta da Nebbia (雾), Pioggia (雨) e Lampo (电).
Il suo più importante contributo ideologico fu l'attacco all'istituzione familiare cinese tradizionale, vista come il maggiore ostacolo alla libertà dell'individuo nella Cina del suo tempo.
Durante la guerra sino-giapponese si dedicò all'attività di propaganda antigiapponese e antimperialista.
Nel corso della guerra di Corea si recò in Corea da dove scrisse reportage per la stampa cinese.
Venne perseguitato come controrivoluzionario durante la Grande rivoluzione culturale (文化大革命, Wenhua Da Geming). Riabilitato nel 1977 fu in seguito eletto in varie posizioni ufficiali in seno alle associazioni letterarie ufficiali cinesi.
Tra le influenze nelle sue opere si citano il francese Émile Zola, i russi Ivan Sergeevič Turgenev e Anton Čechov, gli esperantisti Vasili Eroshenko e Julio Baghy.
Dal 1981 e il 1984 fu presidente dell'Associazione degli Scrittori Cinesi. Nel 1982 l'Italia lo insignì del Premio Dante e l'anno successivo la Francia lo onorò del titolo di Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur.
Dal 1986 al 1989 fu presidente dell'Associazione Esperantista Cinese.
Dagli anni novanta Ba Jin soffrì di malattia di Parkinson. Morì dopo una lunghissima degenza a Shanghai. In Cina varie campagne cercarono senza successo di fargli ottenere il Nobel per la letteratura.

Opere tradotte in italiano

  • Famiglia Bompiani, 1980
  • Gelide notti Bompiani, 1980
  • Il giardino del riposo, Editori Riuniti, 1980
  • Il segreto di Robespierre, Trento: L'editore, 1989. ISBN 88-7165-005-0
  • Il drago, Milano: Libri Scheiwiller, 1993. ISBN 88-7644-186-7
 Ba Jin 1938

Li Yaotang (simplified Chinese: 李尧棠; traditional Chinese: 李堯棠; pinyin: Lǐ Yáotáng; Wade–Giles: Li Yao-t'ang, November 25, 1904 – October 17, 2005), courtesy name Feigan (Chinese: 芾甘; pinyin: Fèigān; Wade–Giles: Fei-kan), is considered to be one of the most important and widely read Chinese writers of the 20th century. He wrote under the pen name of Ba Jin (Chinese: 巴金; pinyin: Bā Jīn; Wade–Giles: Pa Chin), also known as Li Pei-Kan and Pa Kin, taking his pseudonym from Russian anarchists Bakunin and Kropotkin. Ba Jin started writing his first works in the late 1920s.


Early life and anarchism

Born in Chnegdu, Sichuan, Li was born into a scholarly family of officials. His paternal grandfather ruled the large, five generation-tiered household with an autocratic hand, which young Li found stifling, not unlike that depicted in his famous novel, The Family. As a child Li was taught to read and write first by his mother, and later by privately engaged house tutors. It was not until the death of this grandfather in 1917, causing a power struggle which ended with an elder uncle emerging victorious, that he was released to explore the world. As a youngster Li read widely and was deeply influenced by Piotr Kropotkin's famous pamphlet, An Appeal to the Young, which he read at age fifteen. Hugely impressed by Emma Goldman, whom he later referred to as his "spiritual mother", Li started a lifelong correspondence with her.
In 1920, Li enrolled, with an elder brother, in the Chengdu Foreign Language Specialist School to study English. It was there he first engaged in the organization of literary journal Crescent and wrote a number of vers libre. Joining an anarchist organization, the Equality Society, Li became its most prominent member, actively distributing propaganda leaflets.
Three years later, Li moved to Shanghai and subsequently to Dongnan University, Nanjing on the pretext of study, but mainly, as he put it, to escape the feudalistic (fengjian) influence of his family. There he managed to master Esperanto within one year of diligent study and took part in leftist socialist strikes, while remaining active in the anarchist movement, writing a pamphlet on the Chicago Anarchist Martyrs.

France (1927-8)

On graduation, he left on board a liner on February 15, 1927, with a friend for Paris, France, for further studies, where he lodged at the 5th arrondissement (three months at Rue Banville, then Rue Tournefort, No. 2). He described his life there as boring and monotonous, taking daily afternoon walks at the Jardin du Luxembourg and evening French lessons at Alliance Francaise. He recalled especially Rousseau's statue at the Panthéon ("I almost knelt before it...he whom Tolstoy described as the conscience of the 18th century"), the River Seine and the tollings of the Notre Dame.
"In spring 1927 I was living atop a five-storied apartment at Paris's Quartier Latin, a small lodging full of gas and onion smell. I was lonely, I felt pain, sunlight hardly shone into my room: I missed my homeland and my family." (一九二七年春天我住在巴黎拉丁区一家小小公寓的五层楼上,一间充满煤气和洋葱味的小屋子里,我寂寞,我痛苦,在阳光难照到的房间里,我想念祖国,想念亲 人。)
It was partly owing to boredom when Li began to write his first novel, Miewang (“Destruction”) on a jotterbook. In France, Li continued his anarchist activism, translated many anarchist works, including Kropotkin's Ethics, into Chinese, which was mailed back to Shanghai anarchist magazines for publication. Alexander Berkman was one of many anarchist leaders he met there.
The trials of Italian immigrants Sacco and Vanzetti filled the fervent writer with anger and Ba Jin worked tirelessly to champion their release. Vanzetti apparently was moved enough to reply to the young man from his American prison, with a package of anarchist texts for his readings. Their short correspondence ceased when Vanzetti was executed, along with Sacco, on August 23, 1927. Li published in late 1932 the short story The Electric Chair (电椅) to protest against their execution.

Shanghai and later life

On his return to Shanghai in 1928, Ba Jin continued writing and working on translations. His first novel, Destruction, was released serially by Fiction Monthly in 1929, a foremost literary magazine, and earned him many admirers.
During the next 10 years, Li acted as editor to several important publishing firms and periodicals, as well as composing the works which he is best known for – The Family (1931), The Love Trilogy Fog (1931), Rain (1933) and Lightning (1935), the novellas Autumn in Spring and A Dream of the Sea, the short story collection Mengya (“Germination”) and prose writings in Fuchou ("Vengeance") and Shen, Gui, Ren ("Gods, Ghosts and Men").
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ba Jin was actively involved in propaganda work against the Japanese invasion, working on the publication Nahan (“Outcries”, later renamed Fenghuo, “Beacons”) with Mao Dun. In the later stages of the war, Ba Jin completed the famous Torrents Trilogy — of which The Family (1931) was the first written — with Spring (1938) and Autumn (1940). Other works of the post-war period, like the short novels A Garden of Repose (1944), Ward Four (1946) and Cold Nights (1947), contain some of his strongest writings. He ceased fiction writing after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, choosing to concentrate on nonfiction instead.
During the Cultural Revolution, Ba Jin was heavily persecuted as a counter-revolutionary. His wife, Xiao Shan, died during the Revolution after being denied medical care, and the manner of her death traumatized Ba Jin for the rest of his life. He was rehabilitated in 1977, after which he was elected to many important national literary posts, including chairman of the Chinese Writers' Association (since 1983). The most significant work of his later years is probably the discursive writings in Suixiang Lu (translated as "Random Thoughts", five volumes, composed between 1978 and 1986), in which, among other things, he reflected on the Cultural Revolution in a painfully honest manner and asked specifically for a Cultural Revolution Museum to be set up as a deterrent for future generations.
He spoke and advocated Esperanto and in the 1980s was the vice-president of the Chinese Esperanto League.
Ba Jin's works were heavily influenced by foreign writers, including Émile Zola, Ivan Turgenev, Alexandr Herzen, Anton Chekhov, and Emma Goldman, and a substantial amount of his collected works are devoted to translations. His writing style, characterized by simplicity, avoids difficult, abstruse words, and making him one of the most popular of all modern Chinese writers.
Ba Jin suffered from Parkinson's Disease beginning in 1983, and the ailment almost completely debilitated him in his later years. The illness confined him to a hospital unable to speak and walk during the last few years of his life. Ba Jin died of cancer in Shanghai at the age of 100 (101 by Chinese reckoning) in 2005. His death marked the end of an era for Chinese literature, especially since he was the last major writer to live through the May Fourth Movement. He received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 1990.
Asteroid 8315 Bajin is named in his honour.


English translations

  • (1954) Living Amongst Heroes. Beijing: Foreign Language Press.
  • (1958) The Family. (trans. Sidney Shapiro) Beijing: Foreign Language Press.
  • (1959) A battle for life: a full record of how the life of steel worker, Chiu Tsai-kang, was saved in the Shanghai Kwangrze Hospital. Beijing: Foreign Language Press.
  • (1978) Cold Nights (trans. Nathan K. Mao and Liu Ts'un-yan) Hong Kong: Chinese University press.
  • (1984) Random Thoughts (trans. Germie Barm&ecute). Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Company. (Partial translation of Suizianglu)
  • (1988) Selected works of Ba Jin (trans. Sidney Shapiro and Jock Hoe) Beijing: Foreign Language Press. (Includes The Family, Autumn in Spring, Garden of Repose, Bitter Cold Nights)
  • (1999) Ward Four: A Novel of Wartime China (trans. Haili Kong and Howard Goldblatt). San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals, Inc.
  • (2005) "How to Build a Society of Genuine Freedom and Equality"(1921), "Patriotism and the Road to Happiness for the Chinese"(1921) and "Anarchism and the Question of Practice"(1927) in Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume 1: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE-1939), ed. Robert Graham. Montreal: Black Rose Books.
  • (2012) Ward Four: A Novel of Wartime China (trans. Howard Goldblatt). San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals, Inc. ISBN 9780835100007.

Ba Jin stories in collections

  • Arzybasheff, M.(1927). "Morning Shadows?" in Tales of the Revolution. Tr. Percy Pinkerton. New York Huebsch.
  • (1927). "Workingman Shevyrev." in Tales of the Revolution, tr. Percy Pinkerton. New York: Huebsch.


Short story collections
  • Vengeance 《复仇》,1931
  • Dog 《狗》,1931
  • Brightness 《光明》,1932
  • The Electric Chair 《电椅》, 1933
  • Wiping Cloth 《抹布》,1933
  • The General 《将军》,1934
  • Gods, Ghosts and Men 《神·鬼·人》,1935
  • Sinking 《沉落》,1936
  • The Story of Hair 《发的故事》,1936
  • Thunder 《雷》,1937
  • Resurrection Grass 《还魂草》,1942
  • Little People, Little Events 《小人小事》,1943
  • Heroic Tales 《英雄的故事》,1953
  • Pigs and Chickens 《猪与鸡》,1959
  • Li Da-hai 《李大海》,1961
  • Stories Outside the City,1992
Children's literature
  • The Immortality Pagoda 《长生塔》,1937
  • The Pearl and the Jade Concubine 《明珠和玉姬》,1957
Novels and novellas
  • Destruction 《灭亡》, 1929
  • The Dead Sun 《死去的太阳》, 1931
  • The "Love" Trilogy 《爱情的三部曲》 (1931-5)
    • Fog 《雾》, 1931
    • Rain 《雨》,1933
    • Lightning 《电》,1935
  • New Life 《新生》,1933
  • Miners 《砂丁》,1933
  • Germination 《萌芽》,1933
  • A Dream of the Sea 《海的梦》,1932
  • Autumn in Spring 《春天里的秋天》,1932
  • The "Torrents" Trilogy 《激流三部曲》
    • The Family 《家》,1933
    • Spring 《春》,1938
    • Autumn 《秋》,1940
  • Lina 《利娜》,1940
  • Fires 《火》(in three volumes),1940—1945
  • Stars 《星》(English-Chinese bilingual),1941
  • A Garden of Repose 《憩园》,novella,1944
  • Ward No 4 《第四病室》,1946
  • Cold Nights 《寒夜》,1947
Autobiography and memoirs
  • Ba Jin: An Autobiography 《巴金自传》,1934
  • I Remember 《忆》,1936
  • Thinking Back on Childhood 《童年的回忆》,1984
  • (coauthor)Anarchism and its Practical Problems 《无政府主义与实际问题》,1927
  • From Capitalism to Anarchism 《从资本主义到安那其主义》,1930
  • A Walk by the Sea 《海行》,1932
  • Travel Notes 《旅途随笔》,1934
  • Droplets of Life 《点滴》,1935
  • Confessions of Living 《生之忏悔》,1936
  • Brief Notes 《短简》,1937
  • I Accuse 《控诉》,1937
  • Dreaming and Drunkenness 《梦与醉》,1938
  • Thoughts and Feelings 《感想》,1939
  • Black Earth 《黑土》,1939
  • Untitled 《无题》,1941
  • Dragons, Tigers and Dogs 《龙·虎·狗》,1941
  • Outside the Derelict Garden 《废园外》,1942
  • Travel Notes 《旅途杂记》,1946
  • Remembering 《怀念》,1947
  • Tragedy of a Still Night 《静夜的悲剧》,1948
  • The Nazi Massacre Factory: Auschwitz 《纳粹杀人工厂—奥斯威辛》,1951
  • Warsaw Festivals: Notes in Poland 《华沙城的节日—波兰杂记》,1951
  • The Consoling Letter and Others 《慰问信及其他》,1951
  • Living Amongst Heroes 《生活书局在英雄们中间》,1953
  • They Who Defend Peace 《保卫和平的人们》,1954
  • On Chekhov 《谈契河夫》,1955
  • Days of Great Joy 《大欢乐的日子》,1957
  • Strong Warriors 《坚强的战士》,1957
  • A Battle for Life 《—场挽救生命的战斗》,1958
  • New Voices: A Collection 《新声集》,1959
  • Friendship: A Collection 《友谊集》,1959
  • Eulogies: A Collection 《赞歌集》,1960
  • Feelings I Can't Express 《倾吐不尽的感情》,1963
  • Lovely by the Bridge 《贤良桥畔》,1964
  • Travels to Dazhai 《大寨行》,1965
  • Ba Jin: New Writings,1978—1980
  • Smorching Smoke 《烟火集》,1979
  • Random Thoughts 《随想录》,1978-86
  • Thinking Back on Writing 《创作回忆录》1981
  • Exploration and Memories 《探索与回忆》,1982
  • Afterwords: A Collection 《序跋集》,1982
  • Remembrance: A Collection 《忆念集》,1982
  • Ba Jin: On Writing 《巴金论创作》,1983
  • Literature: Recollections (with Lao She) 《文学回忆录》1983
  • To Earth to Dust 《愿化泥土》,1984
  • I Accuse: A Collection 《控诉集》,1985
  • In My Heart 《心里话》,1986
  • Ten Years, One Dream 《十年一梦》,1986
  • More Thoughts 《再思录》,1995
  • To Our Young Friends Looking for Aspirations 《寻找理想的少年朋友》,1987
  • Snow and Dirt 《雪泥集》,1987
  • Collected Letters of Ba Jin 《巴金书信集》, 1991
  • A Battle For Life
  • Partial excerpt of English translation of Ba Jin's dedication to Emma Goldman
Bajin and Esperanto Movmento

Gisling - Own work
Gisling - Own work

Li Shizeng

Li Shizeng (Goayang, Cina, 29 maggio 1881 - Taiwan, 30 settembre 1973) e' stato un militante anarchico e pedagogo cinese.


Figlio di un importante personaggio della Corte imperiale Mancie, Li Shizeng giunse in Francia nel 1903 per approfondire i suoi studi alla scuola pratica d'agricoltura di Montargis, dove rimarrà  per tre anni, prima di andare alla Sorbona e all'Istituto Pasteur, dove assiste ai corsi di chimica e di biologia.
Scopre le idee anarchiche che cercherà di far conoscere ai suoi compatrioti, ispirandosi in particolare al pensiero di Kropotkin e Proudhon che lo porterà a fondare, insieme a Wu Zhihui e Zhang Jingjiang, la Società per l'Avanzamento della morale ed in seguito il Gruppo anarchico di Parigi, che pubblicherà a partire da giugno 1907 un giornale anarchico in cinese: Xin Shiji («Nuovo secolo»).
Nel 1908, crea una piccola fabbrica di trasformazione della soia La Caséo-Sojaine a La Garenne-Colombes (vicino a Parigi), nella quale farà lavorare una trentina dei suoi concittadini, ai quali darà (con l'aiuto dell'insegnante anarchico Wu Zhihui), dei corsi serali. È così che nascerà, nel 1912, con l'appoggio delle nuove autorità cinesi il "Movimento lavoro-studio" che si svilupperà e permetterà a più di mille cinesi di venire a studiare in Francia e allo stesso tempo lavorando e quindi riuscendo a mantenersi da sé e potendo beneficiare di un quadro di mutuo appoggio, di cooperazione e di eguaglianza.
Nel 1914, Li Shizeng aprirà il primo ristorante cinese di Parigi. Nel 1915, fonda in Cina La Società del Lavoro Diligente e di Studi Economici e nel 1916 a Parigi, una scuola per i lavoratori cinesi. Ma il "Movimento lavoro-studio” incontrerà delle difficoltà del dopoguerra. Ciò spingerà, nel 1921, i studenti-operai ad organizzare molte manifestazioni, tra cui una marcia su Lione, dopo la creazione di un Istituto franco-cinese il cui accesso era riservato ai soli studenti selezionati in Cina.
Le autorità francesi temevano una contaminazione da parte degli elementi più sovversivi, e preferivano formare le elite piuttosto che di istruire dei lavoratori. Gli studenti-lavoratori occuperanno durante quest'occasione il Forte Fort St-Irénée (sede dell'Istituto), ma non otterranno soddisfazione e saranno arrestati, un centinaio di loro verrà espulso. In quanto a Li Shizen, proseguirà la sua azione pedagogica con, tra altre cose, la creazione dell'Università franco-cinese di Pechino, così come la Biblioteca sino-internazionale di Ginevra.
Nel 1945, dopo la sconfitta del Giappone, risiede a Shanghai, e nel 1949 si trasferisce in Uruguay, dove ha vissuto fino al 1955 e fondato la Biblioteca Cino Internazionale di Montevideo. Più tardi, nel 1956, s'è trsferito a Taiwan ed è stato il primo direttore generale del Palazzo Nazionale di Taipei. Nel 1966 ha fatto ritorno in Francia per rilanciare l'Istituto franco-cinese di Lione. Li Shizeng è morto nel 1973 all'età di 92 anni a Taiwan.

Li Shiceng (Li Shih-tseng) or Li Yuying (Li Yü-ying) (1881 - 1973)
Unknown; scanned by 天竺鼠 (talk) 17:20, 10 January 2011 (UTC) - (Shōwa 16 [1941]) Saishin Shina yōjinden [The Most Recent Biographies of Important Chinese People], Tokyo: Asahi Shimbun OCLC: 23310651.
 Li Shizeng (Chinese: 李石曾; Wade–Giles: Li Shih-tseng; 29 May 1881 – 30 September 1973) was an educator, promoter of anarchist doctrines, political activist, and member of the Chinese Nationalist Party in early Republican China.
After coming to Paris in 1902, Li took a graduate degree in chemistry and biology, then, along with his lifelong friends Wu Zhihui and Zhang Renjie, was a founder of the Chinese anarchist movement and a supporter of Sun Yat-sen's revolutionary activities. He organized cultural exchange between France and China, established the first factory in Europe to manufacture and sell beancurd, and created Diligent Work-Frugal Study programs which brought Chinese students to France for work in factories. In the 1920s, Li, Zhang, Wu, and Cai Yuanpei were known as the fiercely anti-communist "Four Elders" of the Chinese Nationalist Party.

Youth and early career

Li came from a long line of scholar-officials. Though his family was from Gaoyang County, Hebei, Li was brought up in Beijing. His father was Li Hongzao, a high official of the Qing dynasty. The family was open to new ideas and to the West, and Li was encouraged to study foreign languages and modern subjects. When Li Hongzao died in 1897, the government rewarded his sons with ranks which entitled them to hold middle-level office.
In 1900, the family fled the Boxer Uprising and invasion of the Allied Armies. After their return to Beijing, Li attended a banquet at the home of a neighboring high official who had been a friend of his father. There he met Zhang Renjie, the son of a prosperous Zhejiang silk merchant whose family had purchased him a degree and who had come to the capital to arrange a suitable office. The two quickly discovered that they shared ideas for the reform of Chinese government and society, beginning a friendship which lasted the rest of their lives. When Li was chosen in 1903 as an "embassy student" to accompany China's new ambassador Sun Baoqi to Paris, Zhang had his family arrange for him to join the group as a commercial attache. Li and Zhang traveled together, stopping first in Shanghai to meet with Wu Zhihui, by then a famous radical critic of the Qing government, where they also met Wu's friend, Cai Yuanpei.

Paris, anarchism, and Sino-French Friendship

At the time, most students who went abroad went on government scholarships to Japan or to the United States for study. France had the reputation of being the home of revolution and Chinese officials were reluctant to sponsor study there. Li and Zhang, however, were well connected, and arrived in France, December 1902, accompanied by their wives. Ambassador Sun was indulgent and allowed Li to spend his time in intense French language study, but Li soon resigned from the embassy to enroll in a graduate program in chemistry and biology at Ecole Pratique d'Agriculture du Chesnoy (de) in Montargis, a suburb south of Paris. In three years he earned his degree, then went to Paris for further study at the Sorbonne University and the Pasteur Institute. He announced that he would break with family tradition and would not pursue an official career. Zhang, meanwhile, began to make his fortune by starting a Paris company to import Chinese decorative art and curios. Li and Zhang persuaded Wu Zhihui to come to Paris from Edinburgh, where he had been attending university lectures. Li, Zhang, and Wu did not forget their revolutionary goals. On route back to China for a visit, Zhang met the anti-Manchu revolutionary, Sun Yat-sen and promised him extensive financial support. On his return to Paris in 1907, Zhang led Li and Wu to join Sun's Tongmenghui (Chinese Revolutionary Alliance).

The Paris Anarchists

The three young radicals had come in search of ideas to explain their world and of ways to change it. They soon discovered the fashionable doctrines of anarchism, which they saw as a scientific and cosmopolitan set of ideas which would bring progress to China. The key point of difference with other revolutionaries was that for them political revolution was meaningless without cultural change. A group of Chinese anarchists in Tokyo, led by Liu Shipei, favored a return to the individualist Daoism of ancient China which found government irrelevant, but for the Paris anarchists, as the historian Peter Zarrow puts it, "science was truth and truth was science." In the following years they helped anarchism to become a pervasive, perhaps dominant, strand among radical young Chinese.
The Paris anarchists argued that China needed to abolish Confucian family structure, liberate women, promote moral personal behavior, and create equitable social organizations. Li wrote that "family revolution, revolution against the sages, revolution in the Three Bonds and the Five Constants would advance the cause of humanitarianism." Once these goals had been accomplished, they reasoned, the minds of the people would be clear and political improvement would follow. Authoritarian government would then be unnecessary.
Although these anarchists sought to overthrow Confucian orthodoxy, their assumptions resonated with the idealistic assumptions of Neo-Confucianism: that human nature is basically good; that humans do not need coercion or governments to force them to be decent to each other; and that moral self-cultivation would lead individuals to fulfill themselves within society, rather than by liberating themselves from it. For these anarchists, as for late imperial Neo-Confucians, schools were a non-authoritarian instrument of personal transformation and their favored role was as teacher.
In 1906 Zhang, Li, and Wu founded the first Chinese anarchist organization, the World Society (世界社 Shijie she), sometimes translated as New World Society. In later years, before moving to Taiwan in 1949, the Society became a powerful financial conglomerate, but in its early phase focused on programs of education and radical change.
In 1908, the World Society started a weekly journal, Xin Shiji 新世紀週報 (New Era or New Century; titled La Novaj Tempaj in Esperanto), to introduce Chinese students in France, Japan, and China to the history of European radicalism. Zhang's successful enterprise selling Chinese art funded the journal, Wu edited it, and Li was the major contributor. Other contributors included Wang Jingwei, Zhang Ji, and Chu Minyi, a student from Zhejiang who accompanied Zhang Renjie back from China and would be his assistant in the years to come.
Li eagerly read and translated essays by William Godwin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Élisée Reclus, and the anarchist classics of Peter Kropotkin, especially hisThe Conquest of Bread and Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. Li was struck by their arguments that cooperation and mutual aid were more powerful than the Social Darwinist forces of competition or heartless survival of the fittest. Li was also impressed by conversations with the Kropotkinist writer Jean Grave, who had spent two years in prison for publishing "Society on the Brink of Death" (1892) an anarchist pamphlet.
Progress was the legitimizing principle. Li wrote in 1907 that
Progress is advance without stopping, transformation without end. There is no affair or thing that does not progress. That is the nature of evolution. That which does not progress or is tardy owes it to sickness in human beings and injury in other things. That which does away with sickness and injury is none other than revolution. Revolution is nothing but cleansing away obstacles to progress.
The Paris group worked on the assumption that science and rationality would lead toward a world civilization in which China would participate on an equal basis. They espoused Esperanto, for instance, as a scientifically designed language which would lead toward a single global language superior to national ones. Their faith in moral self-cultivation led Li to adopt vegetarianism in 1908, a lifelong commitment. Yet he also believed that individuals could not liberate themselves simply by their own will, but needed strong moral examples of teachers.
Xin Shijie even called for the reform of Chinese theater. Li regretted that reform had stopped at halfway measures such as introducing gas lights. He called for deeper reforms such as stage sets rather than bare stage and allowing men and women to act on the same stage. Li consulted several French friends before deciding to translate two contemporary French plays, L'Echelle, a one-act play by Edouard Norès (?-1904), which he translated at Ming bu ping, and Le Grand Soir by Leopold Kampf (1881-1913), which he translated as Ye wei yang.
By 1910, Zhang Renjie, who continued to travel back and forth to China to promote business and support revolution, could no longer finance both Sun Yat-sen and the journal, which ceased publication after 121 issues.

Soy factory and first Work-Study program

The anarchists Li and Zhang Renjie were practical entrepreneurs whose businesses financed their revolutionary activities. As Zhang expanded his import business, Li realized that he could put his scientific training to use in manufacturing soy products. He felt that beancurd (doufu), would appeal to the French public as characteristically Chinese.
In 1908 Li opened a soy factory, the Usine de la Caséo-Sojaïne, which was the world's first soy dairy and the first factory in France to manufacture and sell doufu (beancurd).
The plant, housed in a brick building at 46–48 Rue Denis Papin in the suburb of La Garenne-Colombes a few miles to the north of Paris, produced a variety of soy products. There was little market for bean-curd jam, soy coffee and chocolate, eggs, or bean-curd cheese (in Gruyere, Roquefort or Camembert flavors), but soy flour and biscuits sold well. The company offered free meals to Chinese students, who gathered also to discuss and debate revolutionary strategy. Sun Yat-sen visited the factory in 1909, and wrote: "My friend Li Shizeng has conducted research on soybeans and advocates eating soybean foods instead of meat."
Li planned the first Work-Study program as a way to bring young Chinese to France whose study would be financed by working in the beancurd factory and whose character would be uplifted by a regimen of moral instruction. This first Work-Study program eventually brought 120 workers to France. Li aimed to take these worker-students, who he called "ignorant" and "superstitious", and make them into knowledgeable and moral citizens who on their return would become models for a new China. The program instructed them in Chinese, French, and science and required them to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and gambling.
Li returned to China in 1909 to raise further capital for the factory. Again using family connections, he secured an interview with the governor of Zhili, Yang Lianpu, a friend of his father's, and secured a contribution. His father-in-law, Yao Xueyuan (1843–1914), head of the salt merchants of Tianjin, solicited the national community of salt merchants for investment. . In six months Li raised some $400,000. He arrived back in France with five workers (all from Gaoyang, his home district), and a supply of soybeans and coagulant.

Introducing soy products to France

In 1905, while he was still a graduate student, Li presented (in French) his first paper on soy at the Second International Dairy Congress in Paris, and published it in the proceedings of the conference. In 1910 he published a short treatise in Chinese on the economic and health benefits of soy beans and soy products, especially doufu, which he maintained could alleviate diabetes and arthritic pain, and then in 1912 Le Soja in French. At the annual lunch of France’s Society for Acclimatization (Société d’Acclimatation), in keeping with its tradition of introducing new foods from little-known plants, Li served a meal of vegetarian ham (jambon végétal), soy cheese (fromage de Soya), soy preserves (confitures de Soya, such as crème de marron), and soy bread (pain de Soya).
Together with his partner L. Grandvoinnet, in 1912 Li published a 150-page pamphlet containing their series of eight earlier articles: Le soja: sa culture, ses usages alimentaires, thérapeutiques, agricoles et industriels (Soya – Its Cultivation, Dietary, Therapeutic, Agricultural and Industrial Uses) (Paris: A Challamel, 1912). The soy historians William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi call it "one of the earliest, most important, influential, creative, interesting, and carefully researched books ever written about soybeans and soyfoods. Its bibliography on soy is larger than any published prior to that time."
Li and the factory engineers developed and patented equipment for producing soymilk and beancurd, including the world’s first soymilk patents. Shurtleff and Aoyagi comment that their 1912 patent was "packed with original ideas, including various French-style cheeses and the world’s first industrial soy protein isolate, called Sojalithe, after its counterpart, Galalith, made from milk protein." Li claimed that Sojalithe could also be used as a substitute for ivory.

Revolution in China and friendship with France

On the eve of the 1911 revolution Li joined Zhang Renjie in Beijing (they may have taken part in a plot to assassinate Yuan Shikai, who had edged out Sun Yatsen from the presidency of the new republic). Wu Zhihui borrowed money from Sun to join them and other of the Paris anarchists such as Zhang Ji. Wang Jingwei, who had been jailed for an assassination attempt on a Manchu governor in 1910, was freed by the new government. These anarchists took advantage of the new political openness to practice what one historian calls "applied anarchism".
Soon after their return, the group organized The Society to Advance Morality (進德會 Jinde hui), also known as the "Eight Nots", or "Eight Prohibitions Society" (八不會 Babu hui). True to its anarchist principles, the Society had no president, no officers, no regulations or means to enforce them, and no dues or fines. Each level of membership, however, had increasingly rigorous requirements. "Supporting members", the lowest level, agreed not to visit prostitutes and not to gamble. "General members" agreed in addition not to take concubines. The next higher level further agreed not to take government office—"Someone has to watch over officials"—not to become members of parliament, and not to smoke. The highest level promised in addition to abstain from alcohol and meat. These moral principles had a wide appeal among the new intelligentsia which was forming in cities and universities, but Li, in light of the Society's prohibition on holding office, turned down Sun Yat-sen's request that he join the new government, as did Wang Jingwei.

Diligent Work-Frugal Study Movement

In April 1912, still excited by the prospect of the new-born Republic of China, Li, Zhang Renjie, Wu Zhihui, and Cai Yuanpei founded in Beijing the Association for Frugal Study in France (留法儉學會 Liufa jianxue hui), also known as the Society for Rational French Education (la Societé Rationelle des Etudiants Chinois en France). In contrast to his own experience on the 1902 program as an "embassy scholar", which involved only a handful of students from privileged families, Li hoped to welcome hundreds of working-class students into the program.  For Li, work-study continued to have a moral as well as an educational function. In addition to making workers more knowledgeable, work-study would eliminate their "decadent habits" and transform them into morally upright and hard-working citizens
Yuan Shikai's opposition closed the program down. In September 1913, after Yuan violently suppressed Sun's "second revolution", Li and Wang Jingwei took their families to France for safety. Wang lived with Li in Montargis and lectured to the Work-Study students. The bean-curd factory began to do better. Over the first five years, bean-curd sales averaged only 500 pieces (cakes) per month but increased to 10,000 a month in 1915, sometimes to more than 17,000 pieces a month. In 1916, however, wartime conditions forced the factory to close (it re-opened in 1919, when post-war milk shortages made soy milk more attractive).
The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 led the French government to recruit Chinese workers for their factories. By the end of the war, the Chinese Labor Corps in France brought more than 130,000 workers, mostly from North China villages. In June 1915, Li and his friends in Paris took advantage of this opportunity to provide schooling and training for those working in French factories. They renewed the Work-Study program, though on a different basis, involving less educated workers rather than students. By March 1916 their Paris group, the Societe Franco-Chinoise d'Education (華法教育會 Hua-Fa jiaoyuhui) was directly involved in recruiting and training these workers. They pressed the French government to give the workers technical education as well as factory work, and Li wrote extensively in the Chinese Labor Journal (Huagong zazhi), which introduced Western science, the arts, fiction, and current events.
In 1921, after Li had returned to China, leaders of riots in Lyons against the leadership of the program were expelled from the country. The younger generation of students then became angry critics who dismissed anarchism and rejected older leaders. The Sino-French Institute did not became central to Sino-French relations.

Nationalist Party and anarchism in the 1920s

In 1919 Li returned to Beijing to accept Cai Yuanpei's offer to teach science at the forward looking Peking University and to also become president of the Sino-French University just outside the city.
Although the basic slogan of the New Culture Movement was "Science and Democracy", Li was one of the few influential intellectuals to have professional training in a hard science. In keeping with anarchist opposition to religion, Li continued to use science to attack religion as superstition. When he became president of the Anti-Christian Movement of 1922 Li told the Beijing Atheists' League: "Religion is intrinsically old and corrupt: history has passed it by." He went on to make clear that as a cosmopolitan he did not oppose Christianity because it was foreign, but all religion as such:
Why are we of the twentieth century... even debating this nonsense from primitive ages? ... As Western scholars often say, "Science and religion advance and retreat in reverse proportion"... Morality is the natural power for goodness. Religious morality, on the other hand, really works by rewards and punishment; it is the opposite of true morality.... The basic nature of all living creatures, including the human race, not only nourishes self-interest but also unfolds as support of the group. This is the root of morality.
The former Paris Anarchists became a force in Sun Yat-sen's Nationalist Party as it rose to national power in the early 1920s. Zhang Renjie's Shanghai stock-market earnings made him a major financial supporter of the party and an early patron of Chiang Kai-shek. After Sun's death in 1925 and the initial success of Chiang's Northern Expedition, the Nationalists split into left and right factions. In 1927, Li Shizeng, Wu Zhihui, Cai Yuanpei, and Zhang Renjie became known as the party's Four Elders (yuan lao). As members of the Central Supervisory Committee in April 1927 they strongly supported Chiang Kai-shek over the leftist Wuhan government headed by their old colleague, Wang Jingwei, and they cheered the expulsion of all Communists and the bloody suppression of the communists and the left in Shanghai.
The Four Elders had never established an independent power base within the party but relied on their personal relations, first with Sun, then with Chiang Kai-shek, in their efforts to make the Nationalist Party the instrument for their anarchist ambitions. In 1927, Li and Wu Zhihui were appointed as Chairmen of the party, Cai Yuanpei accepted a series of offices in the new government, and Zhang Renjie was one of the powers behind Chiang's takeover after Sun's death. They encouraged their young anarchist followers to join the party, organize labor, and work for revolution. Many of these young anarchists did so but others sharply pointed out that Li had originally made the renunciation of political office a key principle; the defining goal of anarchism was to overthrow the state not join it. One critic wrote that "the moment Li and Wu entered the Guomindang they as good as stopped being anarchists."

The Labor University, Palace Museum, and French university model

Li indeed had on principle refused government office but he did accept cultural positions. In November 1924, Feng Yuxiang, the Nationalists' rival, captured Peking and evicted the Manchu former emperor, Puyi, from the Forbidden City. When the Palace Museum was set up to oversee the vast art collections left by the emperors, Li was appointed Director General, and his protegee and distant relative Yi Peiji was made curator. Deciding the disposition and even the ownership of these former imperial treasures was a challenge since many had already been sold by the eunuchs or impoverished imperial household staff. By the mid-1920s, many intellectuals and nationalists had come to recognize and strongly oppose the depredation of China's artistic heritage and the export of art by Chinese and foreign dealers. Therefore, the handling of the imperial collections in the Forbidden City was both a cultural and a political problem. The Palace Museum was opened on October 10, 1925, the anniversary of the Republican revolution. Li was forced to flee in fear for his life in 1926 when he was accused of communist sympathies but returned when GMD troops took the city in June 1928. Li served as chair of the Board of Directors until 1932 and also became sponsor of the Academia Sinica.
In 1927, following bloody suppression of the communists and the left in April, Li gained preliminary support for a National Labor University (Laodong Daxue) in Shanghai. The National Labor University was to be the cornerstone of anarchism and the training ground for new leaders who would rise within the GMD. Drawing on the anarchist Work-Study experience in Europe, Li's aim was to produce a labor-intellectual who would embody the fusion in school slogan: "turn schools into fields and factories, fields and factories into schools.”
Yet the result was mixed.The GMD Central Political Council approved the proposal in May and the University opened in September. Two factories had been set up by the Shanghai municipal government several years earlier, one for juvenile delinquents and homeless youth and another to provide jobs for the urban poor, but they had been shut down when the Chiang's troops took the city, leaving six-hundred young workers with no work. The new university re-opened these factories and welcomed workers and peasants to attend classes free of charge. Li, Cai Yuanpei, Zhang Renjie, Chu Minyi and seven others were appointed to the Board, and Yi Peiji, who had fled Beijing with Li, became president.
The Charter for the university announced that its mission was to be the "educational organ of the laborers," and that it would be an "experiment in social-welfare and conduct surveys into working conditions." The Charter continued that students would be sent to factories and fields to "cultivate manual skills and to learn to respect hard work." That is, as one historian observes, the school was based on the assumption that "revolution should be contained in an evolutionary process" and that the goal was "cultivating personal revolutionary virtues," not social or political revolution. Even if Li had intended the school to be a revolutionary training ground, in the anti-leftist atmosphere the actual practice of the university was limited and subdued. The university was closed down in 1932.
For many years Li had used his connections in France and China to build cultural relations. In 1917 Li had first urged France to return her portion of the Boxer Indemnity Fund to be used for cultural activities and educational exchange. In 1925, after long negotiations, the two governments signed an agreement. The money was funneled through Li, ensuring him a role of power for the next several decades. He may well have devoted a portion of it, together with money from his family, to support his own projects. Chief among these projects was the Sino-French University in Beijing, which Li had started in 1920 as a counterpart to the Sino-French University in Lyon, also started in 1920. The Sino-French University in Beijing at one point was so well-funded that it gave Peking University substantial help in repaying its debts.
In 1927 the new Nationalist government appointed Cai Yuanpei head of a board of universities which would replace the ministry of education. Li and Cai had been impressed with the rational organization of the French system of higher education in which, instead of random groupings, the country was divided into regional districts which did not overlap or duplicate each other's missions. Peking University was renamed Beiping University and reorganized to absorb other local universities. In 1928, Cai made Li head of the district for Beiping, but there was general resistance to the new scheme and the two old friends had a falling out. The new system was abandoned.
By 1929 the anarchist attempt to prosper within the GMD reached a dead end. The Labor University, conclude historians Ming Chan and Arif Dirlik, added another dimension and constituency to the ideal of labor-learning which Li and the Paris anarchists had introduced into the revolutionary discourse, but they argue that by the 1920s the concept had been adopted by a wide range of revolutionaries, including their rivals, the Marxists. The Four Elders had relied on personal relations with Chiang Kai-shek but lost traction when Chiang shifted his support to other factions, as Chiang often did when one faction became too strong. Dirlik also suggests that activist Chinese now felt, fairly or not, that the anarchist agenda was theoretical and long term, so could not compete with Communist or Nationalist programs of immediate and strong organization needed to save China. Li continued to work and write freely, but many of his activist followers were suppressed or put in jail.

Later years

Accusations about the handling of Palace Museum finances began to dog Li and his protegee, Yi Peiji. To pay for ambitious cataloging and publication projects Yi had sold off gold dust, silver, silk, and clothing without government approval. In October 1933, after several years of investigations which Li had fought, a procurator brought formal charges against both men, with another round of indictments a year later and further charges against Yi in 1937. Yi fled to the Japanese concession at Tientsin and Li could move about in Shanghai and other coastal concessions only in disguise.
In 1932, Li traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to organize the Chinese delegation to the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation sponsored by the League of Nations. While at Geneva he established the Sino-International Library.
During World War II, Li lived for most of the time in New York, with trips to Chongqing and Kunming. After the 1941 death of his first wife in Paris, he was reported to have a relation with a Jewish woman named "Ru Su" ("Mrs. Vegetarian"?), but they did not marry. He served as a cochairman of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, an offshoot of the Bergson Group, which lobbied the US government and took out advertisements in newspapers urging American intervention to save European Jews. In 1943 and 1944 he was a featured speaker at the Committee's Emergency Conferences to Save the Jewish People of Europe.
Following the war, Li returned once again to China. As Rector of the National Peiping Research Academy Li was a delegate to the First Soya Congress in Paris, March 1947. The Congress was organized by the French Bureau of Soya (Bureau Français du Soya), the Laboratory of Soya Experiments (Laboratoire d'Essais du Soya), and the France-China Association (l'Association France-Chine). As communist armies approached Beijing in 1948, Li moved to Geneva, where he and his wife remained until 1950, when Switzerland extended recognition to the People’s Republic. He then moved to Montevideo, Uruguay. After his wife died there in 1954, Li established a second home in Taiwan and resumed his role as national policy advisor to Chiang Kai-shek and a member of the Central Appraisal Committee, which superseded the Central Supervisory Committee.
In 1958, one of Li's last public acts was to dedicate a middle-school in Tainan named in honor of his friend, Wu Zhihui.
Li died April 3, 1973 in Taipei, aged 92. He was given a large funeral ceremony and buried there.

Family and personal life

In 1897, at the age of 17, Li married Yao Tongyi, his older cousin, who died in Paris in 1941. They had two children. Li Zongwei, a son, born in 1899 in China, who married Ji Xiengzhan. He died in 1976. Their daughter, Li Yamei (called "Micheline"), was born in 1910 in Paris. She married Zhu Guangyi, and had two sons, Dayang and Eryang, and one granddaughter Ailian.
In 1943, Li met a Mrs. "Ru Su", who is described as a Jewish woman who lived in New York. She became his partner but they did not marry. On February 14, 1946, Li married Lin Sushan in Shanghai. She died in Montevideo in 1954. Li married for the third time in 1957, to Tian Baotian in Taibei, when he was age 76-77 and she was 42.

Major works

  • Li, Shizeng and Paraf-Javal Kropotkin Petr Alekseevich Eltzbacher Paul Cafiero Carlo (1907). 新世紀叢書. 第壹集 (Xin Shi Ji Cong Shu. Di Yi Ji). Paris: Xin shi ji shu bao ju.
  • Li, Yu-Ying, Grandvoinnet L. (1912). Le Soja: Sa Culture, Ses Usages Alimentaires, Thérapeutiques, Agricoles et Industriels. Paris: A. Challamel.
  • —— (1913). 法蘭西敎育 (Falanxi Jiao Yu). Paris: 留法儉學會 Liu fa jian xue hui.
  • —— (1961). 石僧筆記 (Shiseng Bi Ji). [Taibei?]: Zhongguo guo ji wen zi xue kan she.
  • —— (1980). 李石曾先生文集 (Li Shizeng Xiansheng Wenji). Taibei: 中國國民黨中央委員會黨史委員會 Zhongguo Guomindang zhongyang weiyuanhui dangshi weiyuanhui.
  • Biblioteca Sino-Internacional (Montevideo, Uruguay), 黄淵泉, 國立中央圖書館, 中國國際圖書館中文舊籍目錄, 國立中央圖書館, 1984
  • Zhongguo wuzhengfu zhuyi he Zhongguo shehuidang [Chinese Anarchism and the Chinese Socialist Party]. Nanjing: Jiangsu renmin chubanshe, 1981.
Wu Zhihui, Zhang, and Li Shizeng, Leaders of the Xin Shijie Society
unknown (Life time: unknown) - Original publication: unknown Immediate source:
Wu Zhihui Zhang Jingjiang Li Shizeng Xin Shijie Society Leaders Other information depicts leaders in Paris, which they left before 1911

Li's Beancurd Factory, Usine de la Caséo-Sojaïne
Lü Ou jiaoyu yundong - Le mouvement d’éducation en Europe, Tours, 1916

Li in Paris
Archiv - Institut Pasteur

Doufu Factory Nightschool 1916
Lu Ou jiaoyu yundong Tours 1916 -
Beancurd Factory Nightschool

Li Shizeng (Li Shih-tseng) or Li Yuying (Li Yü-ying) (1881 - 1973)
Unknown; scanned by 天竺鼠 (talk) 17:34, 11 May 2011 (UTC) - Who's Who in China 4th ed, The China Weekly Review (Shanghai), 1931, p.244

In 1907, a group of Chinese anarchists created the Society for the Study of Socialism in Tokyo. Two of the Society’s founders, Liu Shipei (1884-1919) and Zhang Ji (1882-1947), were in contact with Kôtoku Shûsui, who introduced them to the ideas of Kropotkin and the anarcho-syndicalists. Liu, Zhang and Kôtoku all spoke about anarchism at the Society’s founding meeting (Scalapino & Yu). Zhang contributed to Balance, a Chinese anarchist journal published in Tokyo, which in 1908 ran a series of articles calling for a peasant revolution in China and “the combination of agriculture and industry,” as proposed by Kropotkin in Fields, Factories and Workshops (Dirlik: 104). Following Kôtoku’s example, Zhang also translated Nacht’s pamphlet on The Social General Strike into Chinese.

Zhang Ji (Chang Chih, Chang Ki) (1882 - 1947)
Unknown; scanned by 天竺鼠 (talk) 23:23, 22 August 2009 (UTC) - (Shōwa 16 [1941]) Saishin Shina yōjinden [The Most Recent Biographies of Important Chinese People], Tokyo: Asahi Shimbun OCLC: 23310651. 
Zhang Ji (Chang Chih, Chang Ki) (1882 - 1947)
Unknown; scanned by 天竺鼠 - Who's Who in China 4th ed, The China Weekly Review (Shanghai), 1931, p.4

He Zhen (anarchist)

Il Movimento Anarchico nella Cina Pre-Repubblicana e Repubblicana
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He Zhen
Unknown -
He Zhen (chinois : 何震 ; pinyin : Hé Zhèn), née vers 1884, morte vers 1920, est une féministe et anarchiste chinoise.

He Zhen (Chinese: 何震, ca. 1884 – ca. 1920) was an early 20th century Chinese feminist and anarchist. Born He Ban in Yizheng, Jiangsu, she married the noted scholar Liu Shipei in 1903 and went with him to Tokyo. She then took the name He Zhen (He "Thunderclap") but signed her published writings He-Yin Zhen (何银珍) in order to include her mother's maiden name. She published a number of strong attacks in anarchist journals on male social power which argued that society could not be free without the liberation of women.



Born into a prosperous Jiangsu family and apparently given a good education in the Confucian classics in spite of being female, she and her sister were married to brothers. She married Liu Shipei in 1903, and soon she and Liu moved to Shanghai, where she continued her education at the Patriotic Women's School run by Cai Yuanpei. She and Liu moved to Tokyo in 1904.  She was a mainstay of the Chinese anarchist group in Tokyo and a major contributor to the journal Tianyee (Tianyi) (Natural Justice), which published in the two years 1907-1908, as well as to the Paris journal, Xin Shiji (New Century or New Era), edited by the anarchist group there led by Li Shizeng and Wu Zhihui. She and her husband both wrote under pen-names, and many of her articles were misattributed to Liu. He Zhen also founded the Women's Rights Recovery Association (Nüzi Fuquan Hui), which called for the use of force to end male oppression of women as well as resistance to the ruling class and capitalists while endorsing traditional values such a perseverance and respect for the larger community.
In 1909, after a falling out with the conservative but deeply anti-Manchu scholar Zhang Taiyan, she and Liu returned to China to work with the Manchu government. After the Revolution of 1911, Liu worked with the new government, then was a faculty member at Peking University.
The end of He Zhen's life is still in mystery. Following Liu's death from tuberculosis in 1919, she was rumored to have become a Buddhist nun and ordained under the name Xiao Qi, but there were also reports that she died of a broken heart or mental disorder.


Her essay "On The Question Of Women's Liberation," which appeared in Tianyi in 1907, opens by declaring that "for thousands of years, the world has been dominated by the rule of man. This rule is marked by class distinctions over which men -- and men only -- exert proprietary rights. To rectify the wrongs, we must first abolish the rule of men and introduce equality among human beings, which means that the world must belong equally to men and women. The goal of equality cannot be achieved except through women's liberation."
"On The Question Of Women's Labor," published in Tianyi in July 1907, traces the exploitation of women's labor from the times starting with the "well field system of ancient days, especially decrying the tragedies of prostitution, female infanticide, and concubinage of recent times.  "Economic Revolution And Women's Revolution" "On The Revenge Of Women," asks the women of her country: "has it occurred to you that men are our archenemy?"  "On Feminist Antimilitarism," and "The Feminist Manifesto" were also powerful indictments of male social power.

Liu Shi-fu

Nel luglio del 1914, l'Associazione dei Compagni Comunisti Anarchici di Shanghai pubblica i suoi principi in un documento che si conclude con questa risoluzione: "la realizzazione del comunismo anarchico dipende dalla forza del nostro partito. Se vogliamo dare più forza al nostro partito, il nostro compito più importante oggi è essere uniti come un corpo solo ed avanzare insieme. Dovunque si trovino, i nostri compagni dovrebbero unirsi con coloro con i quali condividono gli stessi scopi al fine di costituirsi in gruppi liberamente associati". L'esponente chiave di questo gruppo era un anarchico cinese conosciuto come Shifu che sarebbe poi morto solo 9 mesi dopo. Sebbene il gruppo avesse proseguito le attività anche dopo la morte di Shifu, i concetti chiave di quella risoluzione non saranno mai messi in pratica.
Shifu, Soul of Chinese Anarchism ("Shifu, l'anima dell'anarchismo cinese", ndt) scritto da Edward S. Krebs è uno studio sulla vita e sulla politica di Liu Shaobin, l'uomo che avrebbe poi preso il nome di Shifu. Come tanti dei rivoluzionari repubblicani cinesi delle prime generazioni, egli era nato in una famiglia benestante ed iniziò a fare politica come nazionalista radicale coinvolto pure in omicidi politici. Dopo una insurrezione prematura a Hong Kong, finì in carcere nel 1907, ed iniziò a leggere "Nuovo Secolo", un giornale pubblicato da un gruppo di anarchici cinesi in esilio a Parigi.
Il suo approdo all'anarchismo non fu immediato e dopo essere uscito di prigione nel 1910 ritornò agli attentati omicidi di stampo nazionalista. Nell'ottobre 1911, il suo gruppo ebbe un ruolo chiave nella rivoluzione repubblicana quando assassinarono il generale Fengshan con una bomba enorme collocata sulla strada di Canton [Guangzhou] e, tempo due settimane, Liu scorazzava per la città con un esercito di 10mila rivoluzionari.
La rivoluzione repubblicana mise fine alla secolare dinastia Manchu, ma, come molti altri rivoluzionari, Liu perse rapidamente ogni illusione sul nuovo regime. Come era già accaduto alla precedente generazione di repubblicani di sinistra in Europa, anch'egli ed altri ruppero i ponti col repubblicanesimo e diventarono anarchici. Assunse il nome di Shifu, dando corso alla rottura insieme ad un gruppo di compagni durante la ritirata dal Lago Occidentale in Hangzhou, per formare la Conscience Society.
Questa organizzazione si collegò al Partito Socialista ed al Partito Socialista Cinese, entrambi organizzazioni di massa con un programma in buona parte anarchico, cosa che si può vedere anche nel programma della Conscience Society, in cui si delineavano le regole per essere buoni rivoluzionari, dal mangiare carne all'aderire ad un partito politico. Questa preoccupazione nasceva dai casi di corruzione visti tra i rivoluzionari a capo del nuovo regime, ma anche dal fatto che nel decennio precedente gli anarchici avevano sottoposto a critica la cultura tradizionale delle classi dominanti cinesi ed avevano lanciato in pochi anni il Movimento per la Nuova Cultura. La prima sortita di Shifu fu quella di aprire una polemica sulla vera natura del socialismo con i dirigenti del Partito Socialista e in seguito, con il monaco buddhista Taxiu, cercò di portare verso l'anarchismo uno dei più grandi monasteri, di riformare il movimento buddista del periodo pensando di portare grandi masse a grandi risorse al movimento anarchico. Taxiu fu una figura significativa perchè egli era uno dei pochi rivoluzionari di quel periodo che proveniva da una famiglia proletaria, mentre la maggior parte dei rivoluzionari erano figli dell'elite cinese.
Nell'estate del 1912, Shifu organizzò la Società dei Galli che Cantano al Buio (o Società Canto del Gallo) nella provincia di Guangzhou ed iniziò una fase di azione di propaganda e di formazione più ampia, con la pubblicazione di antologie di scritti anarchici in 5.000 copie, e pure lezioni di Esperanto. A quel tempo Guangzhou aveva un governo repubblicano molto radicale che aveva abolito il bendaggio dei piedi ed il suo esponente principale, Jiongming, era molto influenzato dalle idee anarchiche. Il post-rivoluzione repubblicana e le grandi dimensioni della Cina permettevano ai governi locali di portare avanti sperimentazioni radicali almeno fino a quando giunsero le imposizioni dello Stato centrale e poi le incursioni dei signori della guerra misero fine a quel periodo. Sebbene Jionming avesse proibito a Shifu di diffondere stampa anarchica antimilitarista tra i soldati, la sua tolleranza permise al gruppo un certo spazio d'azione, almeno fino alla sua destituzione nel 1913 ed alla nomina di Long Jiguang, uomo di fiducia del governante repubblicano Yuan Shikai.
La politica del gruppo ebbe un rapido sviluppo in questo periodo ed il primo "Cock Crow Record" venne pubblicato nell'estate del 1913, indicando quali suoi scopi il comunismo, il sindacalismo, l'antimilitarismo, la religione e la famiglia, il vegetarismo, l'unità linguistica e la fratellanza mondiale . Parti della Cina si trovavano all'epoca sotto occupazione straniera e Shifu era sostenitore di una rivoluzione popolare mondiale che mettesse fine all'imperialismo occidentale, insistendo sul fatto che una rivoluzione nazionale contro l'imperialismo non avesse la priorità.
Dopo l'insediamento di Long, il gruppo di Shifu si spostò a Shanghai nel febbraio 1914, dove costituirono l'Associazione dei Compagni Comunisti Anarchici. Qui incontrarono l'anarchico statunitense Alexander Berkman e l'anarchico giapponese Yamaga Taiji. A Shanghai, l'Associazione pubblicò "La Voce del Popolo" in cui si definivano scopi e metodi del Partito Comunista Anarchico , un programma comunista anarchico completo per la nuova società.
Nelle pagine del "Voce del Popolo" Shifu indicava i metodi necessari per arrivare alla nuova società. Insisteva sulla produzione di propaganda per diffondere la conoscenza dell'anarchismo e contemporaneamente puntava sul coinvolgimento anarchico in azioni di "resistenza", quali gli scioperi, ed in azioni di "disturbo" come moti ed insurrezioni. Questi metodi avrebbero dato velocità ad una "grande rivoluzione di popolo", e quindi ad una "grande rivoluzione mondiale." Shifu immaginava che la rivoluzione sarebbe iniziata in un paese europeo, possibilmente la Russia, prevedendo che "I sindacati sciopereranno, gli eserciti faranno ammutinamento, ed i governi europei cadranno uno dopo l'altro; anche i nostri popoli nel nord e nel sud dell' America ed in Asia insorgeranno in rapida successione" .
Nell'ottobre del 1914, "Voce del Popolo" pubblicava le notizie sugli scioperi a Shanghai, e sebbene Shifu fosse ammalato e morisse l'anno dopo, i suoi compagni portarono avanti la lotta, così "Voce" divenne la voce degli scioperi delle fonderie e del tessile a Shanghai nel 1916. Agli inizi del 1917, i membri del gruppo trovarono lavoro nella manifattura del tabacco e nei cantieri navali, sia per poter entrare nel movimento sindacale che per esigenze economiche (4). Liang Bingxian fondò nel 1918 il giornale "Lavoro" in cui dichiarava "Dovrebbero essere i lavoratori stessi ad organizzarsi, dalla base verso l'alto, dal livello locale a quello più ampio. Non ci dovrebbero essere capi, solo quelli che si prendono cura degli affari correnti; dovrebbe essere in vigore il principio di uguaglianza. L'organizzazione dei lavoratori dovrebbe avere come scopo ultimo la rivoluzione sociale e non la conquista del potere politico".
Shifu viene considerato un personaggio che ha influenzato quel Movimento per la Nuova Cultura che sbocciò all'indomani della Prima Guerra Mondiale e ciò viene confermato dal fatto che nel programma di quel movimento le idee più importanti fossero proprio quelle di Shifu e di altri anarchici cinesi. Persino Mao lo ha riconosciuto citandolo nel 1919. Tuttavia, lo scopo del 1914, quello di unire tutti gli anarchici con un medesimo obiettivo, non si è mai realizzato. Il numero degli anarchici cinesi crebbe a livelli di massa, ma essi rimasero divisi in gruppi piccoli e più o meno informali che non furono in grado di combattere la rapida ascesa del Partito Comunista a partire dal 1923 e molti anarchici finirono per scegliere i due maggiori gruppi organizzati, i nazionalisti del Kuomintang ed i leninisti del PCC, quando ci fu la sanguinosa scissione del 1927.
Testo di Andrew Flood

Liu Shi-fu, a Chinese anarchist that died in 1915.

Liu Shifu (Chinese: 劉師復; 1884 – 27 March 1915) was an influential figure in the Chinese revolutionary movement in the early twentieth century, and in the Chinese Anarchist movement in particular. He was a key figure in the movement, particularly in Canton province, and one of the most important organizers in the Chinese Anarchist tradition.
He began his radical career as a member of the China Assassination Corps, an anti-colonial movement which was strongly influenced by the tactics of the Russian Nihilist movement and advocated revolutionary terrorism and the assassination of criminal elites. Upon conversion to Anarchism he denounced these tactics as counter-productive and switched his focus to grass-roots organizing among peasants and workers in order to build a revolutionary mass movement. He was one of the first Chinese Revolutionaries to seriously advocate Peasant organizing as a key element of his revolutionary strategy.
In 1912 Shifu founded the Society of Cocks Crowing in the Dark (a.k.a. Cock-Crow Society), whose journal, People's Voice, was the leading organ of Chinese anarchism in the 1910s. Shifu was a skilled expositor of anarchist doctrine and his polemical exchanges with the socialist leader Jiang Kanghu helped to popularize anarchism as a “pure socialism” and to distinguish it from other currents in socialist thought.
The Cock-Crow Society, also known as the "Guangzhou Group", is usually described as being “led” by Shifu, and this is generally accurate insofar as we understand it as leadership by example since he was never granted any formal position or coercive authority by the group. Their most significant contributions at this stage were the foundation of “an alliance between intellectuals and workers” and their propaganda work which set out to differentiate anarchism from all the other socialisms that were gaining in popularity; and in so doing crystallized for the first time exactly what Anarchism was. The Guangzhou group used positive assertions of rights and workers, women, peasants, and other oppressed groups to outline their vision of an Anarchist society. Noticeably absent was any mention of Ethnic minorities, since a basic part of their platform was the elimination of Ethnic, Racial, and National identities in favor of an internationalist identity that placed primary importance on loyalty to humanity as a whole, instead of to ones ethnic or racial group.
It is important to recognize that this position was formulated in response to the primacy placed on ethnicity by the Anti-Manchu movement, which sought to assert the illegitimacy of the Qing dynasty based in part on the fact that its members were part of an ethnic minority out of touch with the Han majority, a position which Anarchists of all four major groups decried as racist and unbefitting a movement that claimed to be working for liberation. Their position, therefore, was that ethnicity-based organizing promoted Racism, and had no place in a Revolution that sought liberation for all of humanity.
He was very active in the movement for the international language Esperanto, in which he used the pseudonym Sifo.

Further reading

  • Chan, Pik-Chong Agnes Wong. Liu Shifu (1884–1915): A Chinese Anarchist and the Radicalization of Chinese Thought. Berkeley, Ph.D. 1979.
  • Krebs, Edward S. Shifu, Soul of Chinese Anarchism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 1998. ISBN 0-8476-9015-6.
  • Dirlik, Arif. Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution. University of California Press, 1993. ISBN 0-520-08264-8

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