Introduction

The series collects the epochal democracy magazines of public opinions forums published in Taiwan and Hong Kong from 1949 to 2010. It aims to digitize and represent anew these masterpieces that are landmarks of different generations but are vanishing from paper collections of libraries, so to review the grace of those opinion leaders’ thoughts in that era, and encourage alive people to learn from predecessors’ wisdom. The selection principles: (1) The magazine once initiated some valuable social climates and enlightened people in their generation, such as “ Wenxing Magazine”; (2) The magazine’s authors are all renowned sinologists or well-known writers of social sciences whose works always introduce/lead new thought trends, worth of being studied well but have never been collected completely for digitization, such as “Con-Temporary Monthly“. (3) The magazine possesses either or both features as above, but was published in Hong Kong, however its founder/authors have deep connections with Taiwan on ideology, political position, etc., such as Hsu Fu-kuan’s “ Democratic Review“, Li Yi’s “The Nineties”. (4) To include various ideologies, such as Chinese unification, Taiwan independence, and liberal schools, etc..

Wenxin Magazine (文星雜誌) was founded in 1957 as “an ideological, daily, artistic, and literary ” magazine. Its authors included many well-known figures in the literary world of the latter half of the twentieth century such as Yu Guangzhong, Zhang Xiuya, Liang Shiqiu, Su Xuelin, Yan Xian, Luo Fu, Yin Haiguang, Zhou Mengdie, Xia Zhiqin, Ye Jiaying, and others. In view of the fact that “Free China” had been banned, Wenxin Magazine advocated more curcuitiously for democracy and liberalization. Its covers featured predominantly western figures of contemporary literature, the arts, science, philosophy, and politics to inspire readers to open their minds. Wenxin Magazine introduced new trends of contemporary thought, presented critiques of tradition, and advocated an iconoclastic stance towards liberty, rationalism, and democratic reform. Wenxin Magazine was a genuine beacon for enlightening the younger generation of its day. Features such as the “Chinese and Western Cultural Debates” series with Xu Fuguan, Hu Qiuyuan, et al, and certain sensational articles (e.g. “The Elderly and the Stick”) startled Taiwan and brought the publication to international awareness. Accordingly, Wenxin Magazine became the most influential publication of Taiwan’s period of martial law after “Free China.” It always maintained the spirit of the May Fourth Movement even while its eschewment of traditional culture began to draw criticism. A total of 120 issues were published. Wenxin Magazine was forced to temporarily suspend publication in 1966 due to political circumstances, and was finally shuttered in 1988 due to a drop in circulation.

Founded in 1986 by former editor-in-chief of “China Times,” Jin Heng-wei, Contemporary Monthly (當代雜誌) was a comprehensive magazine “of humanist thought.” As stated in the article “The Contemporary and the Anti-Contemporary”: Contemporary Monthly’s founding principle was the aspiration to make knowledge an important tool for paricipation in modern society, through intellectual discourse and bridging the spheres of academic and cultural communication. In the period of its founding, Contemporary Monthly set the standard for an alternative liberalism and presented the writings of preeminent contemporary scholars of the humanities and social sciences. Among its contributors were authors from North America, Europe, and Hong Kong. Contemporary Monthly is the longest-running cultural/ideological review in Taiwanese history. Publication was twice halted and twice resumed, and Contemporary Monthly was awareded the Golden Tripod aware 10 times in its 25-yr. history. Since its second relaunch in 2010 under new president Chen Shi-meng, the magazine has a renewed focus on Taiwan’s democratic development, justice, and human rights.

Democratic Review (民主評論) was an anti-totalitarian publication funded by Chiang Kai-shek and launched in 1946 in Hong Kong by Hsu Fu-kuan (徐復觀). Democratic Review was most influential and robust in its initial decade, when principal contributors included Qian Mu, Mou Zong-zheng, Tang Jun-yi, and Zhang Jun-mai. The magazine asserted that, “the future of China rests on the establishment of culture and the sowing of thought.” Accordingly, Democratic Review was regarded as the “flagship publication of contemporary Neo-Confucianists.” The magazine preserved the complete writings of the greatest masters of Neo-Confucianism of the 1950s and 1960s and Wei Zheng-tong once described Hsu Fu-kuan’s driving spirit as “defending the Tao with traditionalism, discussing politics with liberalism.” Although “traditionalism” and “liberalism” are ordinarily anathema to one another, Democratic Review managed to act as a forge to merge them into a single alloy. Notably, Democratic Review’s demonstrated capacity for impartial criticism of the government of early sponsor Chiang Kai-shek also serves a testament to the character and incorruptability of its publisher, Hsu Fu-kuan.

The Nineties Magazine (九十年代) was the most influential forum for discussion of liberalization in the Chinese world in the period form 1970-1998. As a singular wall of democracy during the era of Chinese autocracy, The Nineties Magazine chronicled the seminal events of the last 30 years of the twentieth century in Greater China, including the evolution of Chinese political thought, the economic rise of Mainland China, the blossoming of democracy in Taiwan, the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China, and the heightening of tensions across the Taiwan Strait. The Nineties Magazine was originally founded in Hong Kong as The Seventies, in a period of intense polarization between the Left and Right characterized by acrid dispute and leftist violence. The Taiwan edition launched in May, 1990 as The Nineties. The archive presents nearly 8,000 articles by veteran journalists and renewoned political observers and cultural critics, with bold critiques of government on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. Many politically sensitive articles not publishable elesewhere appeared in its pages, such as the memoir of Lei Chen, Lin Yi-hsuing’s confidential memorandum on the Formosa Incident, and the writings of Liu Biyan, Wang Ci-zhe, and others. The Nineties is the indispensable chronicle of the central events of democractic development in greater China and is prized by Chinese intellectuals worldwide.

Information

  1. Gathering masterpieces of humanities and social sciences
  2. Containing articles of pro-unification, independence and liberal school
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