With a fragmented nation dominated by warlords and a panting Beiyang government exploited by foreign powers nowadays, I am glad young people like us, awakened by the sweeping nationalism, try to find a way to better our homeland. Confucianism eclipsed by Western steamships and trains, yet these machines covered by cold layers of iron cannot completely fuel our nation's drive towards a better end. We should indeed take the cream and reject the dross of both traditional Confucian values and Western ideals to reshape China's politics and culture.
Crashed by powerful Western values and technology in an increasing globalized world, a modern China cannot keep practicing the rigid doctrine taught by Confucius, a philosopher lived in more than two thousand year ago, but to think independently. First, individual independence is the theme of this modern world, which Confucianism failed to adapt to. According to Chen Duxiu, modern life is based on economic, which is the result of individual independence. Whereas in Confucianism, the teachings are based on ethical norms, individuals possess "neither personal individuality nor personal property".1 Moreover, led by Hu Shi, literary reforms drastically changed the old way of writing, the classical Confucian literary language, to further motivate independent thinking. One major point brought up by Hu Shi is that we should write with substance rather than superficiality. He uses the matchless examples such as essays and poems of writers like Zhuangzi, Tao Qian, and etc. to contrast with the inflexible "eight-legged" prose style, and also promotes the national speech in literature so that everyone can "speak what you want to say and say it in the way you want to say it".2 This freedom in literary expression allows people to think independently and stirs up individualism in China. Therefore, independent thinking, spread from the West, should be the key to unchain Chinese people from the handcuff of feudal Confucianism.