Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article: A1290-W906


Release Date: May 16, 2020


Topic: The Experiences and Lessons of the May 4th Movement in China (Part 2) -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:五四运动的经验与教训(之二) -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)


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The Experiences and Lessons of the May 4th Movement in China (Part 2)

-- Wei Jingsheng



After my previous commentary "The Experiences and Lessons of the May 4th Movement (part 1)" was published, I saw many sincere comments on Twitter. Some comments give me the sense that the materials used are still derived from the historical education of the Chinese Communist Regime. From the Communist era in Yan'an, Mao Zedong paid great attention to making up history to control people's thinking. This was precisely due to the inspiration from the May 4th Movement. This work of fabricating history also started with the May Fourth Movement, or the New Culture Movement. By the way, this trend of learning from the West has many kinds of expression. The modern convention is from the Westernization Movement to the May 4th Movement, including the New Culture Movement.


The Westernization Movement was mainly to learn Western science and technology, with the goal of enriching the country and strengthening the military. But the richest country in the world that could buy one of the most powerful navies in the Pacific in a short time still lost its battles against the weak soldiers of a small Japan. This problem stimulated enthusiasm for learning Western ideas and systems. Thus the gestation period of the May 4th Movement, or the New Culture Movement, began.


Science has relatively rigid concepts and indicators, and it is not easy to lose shape after learning. The movement to learn science has continued in China until now, with few deviations and counter-currents. The practicality of science is required by any social system. From the most authoritarian to the most free system, they all need science and technology to maintain production and life. Yet thoughts and systems are relatively vague and without so-called hard indicators. Unless there are consequences, there is also no hard evidence to distinguish them from good or bad.


There is also an accidental reason that the most active and largest group who studied the ideas and systems were students who studied overseas. Yet they are scholars from the classroom to the dormitory, without an understanding of the society. They only obtain ideas and systems from books, thus it is hard to avoid their understanding being inevitably biased. Further, those who tend to be most interested in the more fashionable tend to deviate from the essence to a greater extent. This is a common phenomenon in the third world countries where foreign students establish democracy. I remember watching Ma Ying-jeou (former President of the Republic of China) sending police to rescue domestic cats in the trees on Taiwan TV.


The advocates of ideological and institutional reforms at that time mostly were fashioned by studying from Japan. Most important Chinese revolutionary leaders were also mostly students and scholars who studied in Japan. The most extreme Complete Westernization faction among the Chinese secessionist groups that wanted to depart from Asia to join Europe that were imported from Japan lead to one of the most important ideological trends during the May 4th Movement. As Mao Zedong said: a blank paper can draw the most beautiful painting. This is the common perception of Chinese public intellectuals during that period.


In order to corroborate the theories they had copied from the West, these intellectuals even fabricated a so-called feudal society for China, which still guides the thinking pattern of the Chinese intellectual community today. A major feature of this book-copying revolution was that it did not look at social reality and did not know the reasons for the systems of various countries, and only chose the direction of revolution from the written description. Therefore, communism, which was described in a tumultuous excitement, became the first choice of the radical revolutionary youths of that era.


The burning of the Mansion of the Zhao Family on May 4th was a masterpiece of radical youths of that era, and also a turning point for the entire movement of learning from the West. Smashing Chinese culture completely and introducing Western culture thoroughly became the mainstream of people's thoughts after that. The Cultural Revolution in China, from its name to its action, is the continuation and expansion of thoughts and behaviors of that era. It can be said that when the May 4th Movement is narrowly defined, it is the beginning of China's erroneous learning from the West.


There were two main factions in China at that time: the pro-Europe/American faction and the pro-Soviet fraction. These two factions had been greatly developed and balanced in the Guangzhou government and the Huangpu Military Academy that were supported by the Soviet Union. Stalin's assessment was actually right: In China, a country of more than two thousand years of market economy, the basis of the communist revolution was very weak. During the Northern Expedition War and the competition followed, the pro-Soviet faction clearly failed to gain the support of the broad masses in China, and quickly was defeated. Without the help of playboy Zhang Xueliang, it was almost wiped out.


However, under the guidance of the distorted New Cultural Movement in China, it was still very easy for young people to accept the big lie of Communism. This is why Mao Zedong paid great attention to re-making history during the Yan'an era. Thought is the basis for guiding social action. History is the material for people to think about issues. Making up history or misinterpreting history is the most effective way to mislead the whole society. Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party deserve the title as a group of well-thought-out scammers. However, in the other direction, who deceived them? Then we come to the main experiences and lessons of that era.


(This English version is translated by Ciping HUANG, without any compensation. Wei Jingsheng and the Wei Jingsheng Foundation appreciate her decades of contribution, especially for allowing the use and distribution of her translations of these commentaries.)


Original link of the commentary broadcasted by Radio Free Asia:



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:


(Written and recorded on May 14, 2020. Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia on May 15, 2020.)


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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article: A1290-W906


Release Date: May 16, 2020


Topic: The Experiences and Lessons of the May 4th Movement in China (Part 2) -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:五四运动的经验与教训(之二) -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)








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