chapter  3
Reforming the National Character and the Development of Chinese Civic Education in the Early Modern Period
Pages 13

In the latter part of the 19th century, the term “citizen” was fi rst introduced to China, but it was known only to a handful of polymaths who had learned about Western concepts. Thanks to the promotional eff orts of some insightful scholars like Yan Fu and Liang Qichao, civic education experienced a boom during the 1920s and 1930s. Both churches and the intelligentsia made great eff orts to advocate civic education. Afterwards, civic education deteriorated as a result of ideological control by the Nanjing National Government. During the 100 years prior to 1949, civic education in China had gone through various processes: enlightenment, which featured reform of national character and rescue of the nation; exploration of civic education, which focused on civic awareness and civic moral education; the May Fourth Movement (also known as the New Culture Movement), which featured the pursuit of individual emancipation, democracy, and human rights; Kuomintang party-oriented education implemented by the National Government in place of civic education; and the decline of the reform of national character.