The Newsletter 54 Summer 2010

The second encounter between Confucianism and Christianity

Ya-pei KUO

On June 19, 1898, in the midst of China’s intense Hundred Days’ Reforms, Kang Youwei, the leading advocate for fundamental changes according to the Western model, submitted a memorandum to the Manchu emperor calling for a statesanctioned church (jiaohui) of Confucianism. The proposal never came to fruition. By the end of the summer, the conservative faction in the court re-established control, revoked all the directives of institutional change and divested the reform-minded young emperor of executive power. Kang Youwei fl ed to Japan and many of his associates were executed. As Ya-pei Kuo reveals, however, the idea of a state-sanctioned religion based on ‘Confucianism’ did not die.

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