Print and Politics: ‘Shibao’ and the Culture of Reform in by Joan Judge

By Joan Judge

Print and Politics deals a cultural heritage of a past due Qing newspaper, Shibao, the main influential reform day-by-day of its time. Exploring the simultaneous emergence of a brand new print tradition and a brand new tradition of politics in early-twentieth-century China, the booklet treats Shibao as either establishment and textual content and demonstrates how the newshounds who wrote for the paper tried to stake out a “middle realm” of discourse and practice.

Chronicling the function those reporters performed in academic and constitutional organisations, in addition to their involvement in significant problems with the day, it analyzes their essays as political records and as cultural artifacts. specific awareness is paid to the language the reporters used, the cultural constructs they hired to constitution their arguments, and the a number of assets of authority they appealed to in advancing their claims for reform.

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Extra resources for Print and Politics: ‘Shibao’ and the Culture of Reform in Late Qing China

Sample text

Jiang Ruizao, Shibao, March 16, 1909 S hibao's history began by dictate from the exiled reformists in Tokyo. l In April of that year Liang Qichao risked visiting Shanghai in order to guide these preparations. Forced to remain under cover, he changed his name and took up residence on the third floor of the Japanese Tigers' Den hotel in the Hongkou section of the city. During his approximately three-week stay, he met frequently with Di, who was to become the future publisher of Shibao, and Luo, who was to serve as general editor.

32 Edicts ordering the closing of newspapers and the arrest of journalists multiplied thereafter, causing many newspapers in the interior either to cease publication or to move to the foreign concessions in Shanghai. Students, who the government realized were the most avid newspaper readers, were also targeted by newly drafted school regulations. It was prohibited for students to buy any literature besides textbooks, to depart from the "way of the classics," or to become journalists or correspondents.

Even so, Shibao's circulation in particular, and the readership of the early-twentieth-century press in general, were infinitesimal in relation to the Chinese population. 36 The numbers cannot fully represent the sociopolitical effect of the new medium, however. First, it is important to consider how dramatically the political press had expanded during this period, radically altering the reading culture and intellectual habits of a generation of literate elites. Newspapers that had a circulation of a few hundred copies in the mid-1890s were now reaching hundreds of thousands of readers.

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