Posts Tagged: self-strengthening

The Hundred Days’ Reform

Defeat at the hands of Japan spurred another bout of self-strengthening in China. A new generation of reformers, led by Zhang Zhidong and Yuan Shikai, began to replace Li at the head of the ziqiang movement. Zhang coined what became the most famous phrase of the movement: “zhongxue weiti, xixue weiyong (中学为体, 西学为用) Chinese learning should remain the… Read more »


Feng Guifen and Wei Yuan, aware of each other through their connection to Lin Zexu, met in Beijing. Although Feng criticized Wei for the quality of his research on foreign powers, Wei was an important influence on the defining concept of Feng’s career, “self-strengthening,” or ziqiang (自强). Feng took Wei’s suggestion of studying the “barbarians” a… Read more »

Sun’s Letter to Li Hongzhang

Sun’s revolutionary zeal was ahead of his time. While reformers like Feng Guifen and Li Hongzhang were still arguing that China could be fixed from within, Sun argued for the overthrow of the Qing from very early in his career. His attitude may have been cemented when a letter he sent to Li Hongzhang in… Read more »