The May Fourth Movement

9 Dec, 2021 950 History of Asia

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the violent protests in China on 4th May 1919 over the nation’s humiliation in the Versailles Treaty after World War One. China had supported the Allies, sending workers to dig trenches, and expected to regain the German colonies on its territory, but the Allies and China’s leaders chose to give that land to Japan instead. To protestors, this was a travesty and reflected much that was wrong with China, with its corrupt leaders, division by warlords, weakness before Imperial Europe and outdated ideas and values. The movement around 4th May has since been seen as a watershed in China’s development in the 20th century, not least as some of those connected with the movement went on to found the Communist Party of China a few years later.

Play on BBC Sounds website

Guests

  • Rana Mitter 8 episodes
    Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford
  • Elisabeth Forster No other episodes
    Lecturer in Chinese History at the University of Southampton
  • Song-Chuan Chen No other episodes
    Associate Professor in History at the University of Warwick

Reading list

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    Timothy Cheek (Cambridge University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • The May Fourth Movement in Shanghai: The Making of a Social Movement in Modern China
    Joseph T. Chen (Brill, 1971) Google Books →
  • From the May Fourth Movement to Communist Revolution
    Xiaoming Chen (SUNY Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • Learning to Read Lu Xun, 1918-1923: The Emergence of a Readership
    Eva Shan Chou (The China Quarterly, 2002)
  • The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China
    Tse-tsung Chow (Harvard University Press, 1960) Google Books →
  • The Appropriation of Cultural Capital: China's May Fourth Project
    Milena Dolezelova-Velingerova and Oldrich Kral (eds.) (Harvard University Asia Center, 2001)
  • 1919 - The Year That Changed China: A New History of the New Culture Movement
    Elisabeth Forster (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2018) Google Books →
  • Lin Shu, Inc.: Translation and the Making of Modern Chinese Culture
    Michael Gibbs Hill (Oxford University Press, 2013) Google Books →
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    Jerome B. Grieder (Harvard University Press, 1970) Google Books →
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    Xiaobing Li and Qiang Fang (eds.) (Lexington Books, 2019) Google Books →
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    Rana Mitter (Oxford University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Modern China: A Very Short Introduction
    Rana Mitter (Oxford University Press, 2008) Google Books →
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    Shakhar Rahav (Oxford University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Reflections on the May Fourth Movement
    Benjamin I. Schwartz (Brill, 2020) Google Books →
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    Vera Schwarcz (University of California Press, 1986) Google Books →
  • Time for Telling the Truth Is Running Out: Conversations with Zhang Shenfu
    Vera Schwarcz (Yale University Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • A Curse on the Great Wall: The Problem of Enlightenment in Modern China
    Vera Schwarcz (Theory and Society, 1984)
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    Hu Shih (University of Chicago Press, 1934)
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    Jonathan D. Spence (Viking Press, 1981) Google Books →
  • The Search for Modern China
    Jonathan D. Spence (W. W. Norton & Company, 2001) Google Books →
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    Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom (Stanford University Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • The Power of Position: Beijing University, Intellectuals, and Chinese Political Culture, 1898-1929
    Timothy B. Weston (University of California Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun
    Lu Xun (trans. Julia Lovell) (Penguin, 2009) Google Books →
  • Provincial Passages: Culture, Space, and the Origins of Chinese Communism
    Wen-hsin Yeh (University of California Press, 1996) Google Books →
  • The Alienated Academy: Culture and Politics in Republican China, 1919-1937
    Wen-hsin Yeh (Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1990) Google Books →

Related episodes


Programme ID: m001282c

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001282c

Auto-category: 951 (China and adjacent areas)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. On May the 4th in 1919 in China, violent protests broke out over the Versailles Treaty, which had concluded the First World War.