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Reviews 159 Ruth Hayhoe and Lu Yongling, editors. Ma Xiangbo and the Mind of Modern China, 1840-1939. Armonk and London: M. E. Sharpe, 1996. vi, 333 pp. Hardcover $65.95, isbn 1-56324-831-x. Ma Xiangbo should be better known than he is to historians ofmodern China. Born during the Opium War, Ma was ninety-nine—or one hundred sui in Chinese reckoning—when he died while fleeing the Japanese invasion in World War II. Although he never held any real political power, Ma collaborated with a remarkable range ofpolitical figures in his sixty-year political life, including Li Hongzhang, Yuan Shikai, Liang Qichao, Yan Fu, Cai Yuanpei, and Soong Chingling . He founded two of China's major private universities, Zhendan (Aurora) and Fudan, and was directiy involved in establishing a third, Furen. A lapsed Jesuit priest, Ma became reconciled to the Church and was modern China's most prominent Chinese lay Catholic. His writings reflect Ma's broad interests, extending to Latin grammar and mathematical theory. Ma Xiangbo and the Mind ofModern China, 1840-1939 will do much to rescue Ma from obscurity. This is a multinational effort, edited by Ruth Hayhoe, a Canadian, and Lu Yongling, a Chinese. Part 1 consists ofessays on Ma's political, religious, and educational thought. Translations ofeight ofMa's short essays and speeches constitute part 2, followed by a bibliography of252 ofMa's books, articles , translations, and letters, and 155 secondary works about him in Chinese. A useful glossary is appended—Ma wrote when new terms were entering the Chinese language. He coined several words that never caught on, and rejected many neologisms, taken from Japanese, that did. There is also an index, which is not always accurate. Zheng Weizheng's chapter on Ma's political thought comes closest to providing a biographical overview, although a more concise biography can be found (under Ma Liang) in the Biographical Dictionary ofRepublican China.' Zheng shows that Ma was both a liberal in the classical Western tradition and a nationalist . Ma, who probably had a more comprehensive Western education than any of his contemporaries, held a political outiook that was Western and liberal. Yet his French Jesuit colleagues considered him "antiforeign," and after leaving the Jesuit order he served in the Qing government. At the beginning ofhis political career he, with his more prominent brother Ma Jianzhong (1844-1900), became a protégé of Li Hongzhang. Ma was posted as an attaché in Japan, an advisor to the© 1997 by University Korean court, and head of an economic mission to the United States. He later beofHawai 'iPresscame a reformist, serving as secretary-general ofLiang Qichao's Political Society (Zhengwen She) in 1907. Ma joined fhe revolutionary cause in 1911, and served briefly as the republican mayor ofNanjing and governor ofJiangsu. He was ap- i6o China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 pointed a senator and senior advisor to Yuan Shikai. Despite claims to the contrary , he seems not to have resisted Yuan's monarchical ambitions. Ma did, however , oppose Yuan's attempts to establish Confucianism as a state religion. He was motivated not only by his Catholicism but also by a sincere beliefin religious freedom and separation of state and religion. Ma's 1918 essay, "A Mirror ofthe Mind of a Citizen offhe Republican State," shows that Ma by then had rejected constitutional monarchism for a republican liberal political philosophy, with a belief in inalienable rights and commitment to rule oflaw, equal rights before the law, and local self-government. Whether because ofhis age—by this time he was in his eighties—or because ofdisillusionment with politics, Ma was politically inactive in the 1920s. After the Japanese seizure of Manchuria, however, Ma advocated resistance and attacked Chiang Kai-shek's appeasement strategy. He also opposed Chiang's political repression and joined Soong Ching-ling and Cai Yuanpei's Civil Right Alliance. Zheng's essay is comprehensive and balanced, although occasionally marred by minor errors offact. Zheng does not idealize Ma; in fact at one point he characterizes Ma, unfairly I think, as "a political mediocrity" (p. 46). Ma was at most always on the margins ofpolitical power, and what Zheng calls Ma...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 159-161
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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