The Role of the Guangbao in Promoting Nationalism and Transmitting Reform Ideas in Late Qing China
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What is it about?
The Guangbao, published in Guangzhou between 1886 to 1891, and founded by Kuang Qizhao, was one of China's earliest native-owned newspapers. The newspaper was the only source of daily information in the city, and operated at a particularly interesting time as a number of officials, reformers, and future revolutionaries were in the area and just beginning to formulate their ideas. This article provides the background on the Guangbao's establishment, its impact, and how the paper may have sown some of the seeds for the nationalism that would become a powerful force after the Sino-Japanese War in 1895. The article also describes the variety of reform ideas promoted by Kuang Qizhao--ideas that he formulated from his experiences in the USA as part of the Chinese Educational Mission.
Why is it important?
This article provides evidence that newspapers during the self-strengthening period played an important role in promoting nationalism and reforms. The Guangbao promoted a variety of nationalistic and reform ideas (universal education, women's equality, free trade, entrepreneurship) well before 1895, many years before the more famous reformers and revolutionaries began their advocacy. The contents of the newspaper suggests that more was going on during the self-strengthening period than is currently assumed, and provides additional evidence against the narrative that the period was a 'failure'.
The following have contributed to this page: Sam Jake Leong Wong