Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155624
Title: DYNAMICS BETWEEN A WEAK STATE AND STRONG STUDENTS IN EARLY REPUBLICAN CHINA: THE CASE OF PEKING UNIVERSITY
Authors: TAN YI NA YNEZ
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2019
Citation: TAN YI NA YNEZ (2019-04-22). DYNAMICS BETWEEN A WEAK STATE AND STRONG STUDENTS IN EARLY REPUBLICAN CHINA: THE CASE OF PEKING UNIVERSITY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the monumental May Fourth Incident – an anti-imperialist, anti-government protest against the unjust terms of the Versailles treaty. Although it began as a student protest, it eventually spread across 22 Chinese cities, galvanising many segments of society in a show of collective patriotism. Why were mere students able to succeed in a protest that was deemed illegitimate, and clamped down upon, by the state? This thesis examines the relationship dynamics that emerged between a “weak state” and “strong students” in the early years of Republican China. It focuses on the students in Peking University, which was the national university at that time. Although the scholarship on student activism and/or Peking University is well-established, little or no work thus far has examined student activism specifically from the lens of the actors involved. In this thesis, I adopt the framework of a triangular relationship dynamic to analyse the interactions between three actors: the state, students, and university administrators; as well as the ideas, beliefs and motivations that lie behind their actions. While the state sought to ensure that students remain apolitical and solely focused on their studies, Peking University students challenged such a top-down restriction by turning themselves into political actors, both within and beyond the campus. This blurred the boundaries between education and politics, much to the chagrin of the authorities. As a result, the dynamic between state and students was one fraught with tension and conflict. While the state initially depended on university administrators to deal with students on campus, when students later took their activism to the streets of Peking, a direct confrontation between state and students erupted. This was to have ramifications well beyond the educational arena.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155624
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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