Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
China's experience with liberalism (in Chinese, zi you zhu yi ), understood broadly as a doctrine valuing individual autonomy, personal freedom, and limited government, began over a century ago when Chinese intellectuals identified these values as central to securing the “wealth and power” that enabled Western nations to dominate China militarily and intellectually. Often in tension with ruling ideology—first with the Confucian-dominated values of the imperial state and then with Maoist Communism—liberalism on the Chinese mainland remains primarily an intellectual preoccupation rather than an organizational principle for mainstream politics. Liberal principles continue, however, to inform political ideology in democratized Taiwan and in the former British colony of Hong Kong, and increasingly many contemporary Chinese intellectuals emphasize the similarities rather than tensions of liberalism with “traditional” worldviews like Confucianism. As a foreign ideology self-consciously imported into China by elites in the late nineteenth century, the term liberalism in China identifies (jingshi ...