Xinqingnian 新青年 La Jeunesse (New Youth)

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The Xinqingnian 新青年 “La Jeunesse (New Youth)” was a periodical published by Chen Duxiu 陈独秀 in Shanghai. Its first issue came out as a monthly periodical on September 15, 1915 with the title of Qingnian zazhi 青年杂志. From the second issue on it bore the name of Xinqingnian. It is probably the most famous newspaper of Republican China and reflected a very widespread intellectual current among young Chinese intellectuals. The two main objectives held high by Chen Duxiu and the authors were “democracy” (minzhu 民主) and “science” (kexue 科学). Influenced by Western philosophy of the state and society the authors suggested changing traditional China in order to strengthen her politics, moral, education and thinking. Old ways of thinking, as embodied in Confucianism, and the old style of literature, using the classical language, should be abolished.

From late 1917 on the periodical begann to be inclined to Marxism and advocated not only change but revolution instead. Especially Li Dazhao 李大钊, one of the founders of the Chinese Communist party, wrote Marxist articles in which he stressed that the common people and the Bolsheviks had to be victorious, and in which he tried to explain what Marxism acutally is or what he understood Marxism to be. He used the Marxist terminology and introduced the theories of materialism and scientific thinking. From the issue of September 1920 the periodical became the mouthpiece of the precursors of the Communist party. In 1922 no issue was published, and from 1923 on it became a three-monthly periodical. The last issue came out in July 1926.

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