The perseverance and integrity of scholars


The perseverance and integrity of scholars

——Mr. Wang Qingcheng, a memoirist

Author: XIA Chuntao (Director and Researcher, Institute of Historical Theory, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of Historical Theoretical Research)

The study of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom is a science of world influence that has lasted for a century. Xiao Yishan, Guo Tingyi, Jian Youwen, Luo Ergang and other predecessors, Yanlu Lanyi, are the first generation of scholars with outstanding achievements in this field in modern academic history. The second generation of scholars who grew up after the founding of New China is shining brightly, and Mr. Wang Qingcheng is one of the representative scholars.

Mr. Wang is proficient in the study of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, and in his later years, he also had a lot of research experience in the fields of rural areas in northern China in the late Qing Dynasty and the canonical system of the Qing Dynasty, and launched many masterpieces; in addition to personal research, he also made many contributions to the construction of disciplines and the promotion of Academic exchanges between China and the West. Mr. Wang was my supervisor when I was pursuing my PhD 34 years ago. As a senior disciple who entered the house, Ping Su had more opportunities to contact Master Wang, and felt a little deeper. Four years ago, Wang Shi drove the crane to the west. When a person is quiet, I often think of Master Wang. His figure is still so kind and clearer in my heart.

The perseverance and integrity of scholars

Biography of scholars

Wang Qingcheng (1928-2018), a native of Shengxian County (present-day Shengzhou City), Shaoxing, Zhejiang, is a historian and a member of the Honorary Faculty of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He graduated from Nanjing University in 1951 and worked in the Central Propaganda Department and new construction magazine, and was transferred to the Institute of Modern History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences at the end of 1977. He once served as the deputy director and director of the Institute of Modern History, the president of the Beijing Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Historical Research Association, and the secretary general and vice president of the Chinese Historical Society. His academic specialties are the history of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and the history of the late Qing Dynasty. He is the author of "History and Thought of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom", "Documents and History of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom- Overseas New Literature Publications and Documentary History Research", "Rare Qing Dynasty Historical Materials and Interpretation", "Late Qing Dynasty North China Villages" and so on.

Images courtesy of the author

Embark on an academic life with a wealth of experience

Wang Shi's hometown was Shengxian County (present-day Shengzhou City) in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, where Yue opera originated. In 1928, he was born in Shengxian County to a well-off family, his grandfather had more than 20 acres of land, and his father graduated from the Department of Economics of Peking University. In 1942, when the Japanese invaded eastern Zhejiang, Wang Shi and his mother took refuge in the mountains, and the family's house was burned down. He recalled: "This escape, the kindness of the mountain farmers, the beautiful scenery of the mountain village, and the acquaintance with the neighbors left an unforgettable impression on me." The following year, his mother died of illness in fear, and Wang Shi, at the age of 15, ventured with his sister and his young siblings on a long journey and stayed overnight, traveling for several months to guilin, Guangxi, to meet his father, who abandoned politics and business. Master Wang has told me about the past many times, and some details have been said more than once, which shows the depth of my impression.

At the beginning of 1944, Wang Shi was in high school in Guiyang. Stimulated by the current situation, coupled with the fact that through reading history, he had a good impression of Ban Chao and Zhang Qian, so he chose "Frontier Reclamation" when filling in the column of ambition, which effectively ordered the aspiration of the frontier. In the autumn and winter of the same year, when the Japanese army invaded Qian, Wang Shi was forced to flee to Meitan and Zunyi, dropping out of school for more than half a year. The following summer, he went to Chongqing to attend high school and experienced the carnival scene of the people after the Japanese surrender. Wang Shi recalled: "A large number of people gathered into a sea of people who could not see the edge, and snack bars and beverage shops on the street could eat and drink at will. Like everyone else, I went crazy. The special experience of this turbulent year has enabled Wang Shi to increase his experience and understanding of society and life, and has stimulated the feelings of home and country.

Later, Wang Shi finished high school in Nanjing, then entered the university, and graduated from Nanjing University in the summer of 1951. At this time, New China had just been founded for more than a year, and there was a lot of waste to be rebuilt, and it was urgent to need it. Wang Shi was assigned to Beijing to study in the cadre training class of the Central Propaganda Department, serving as the leader of the first group of the second class, studying the "History of the United Communist Party (Brazzaville)" and so on. Two years later, he was assigned to the Theoretical Propaganda Department of the Central Propaganda Department and worked in Zhongnanhai District B, mainly to draft theoretical manuscripts under the leadership of Guangyuan and Wang Huide. In early 1958, he was sent to Dingxian County, Hebei Province, to participate in rural labor.

The perseverance and integrity of scholars

The History and Thought of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

By Wang Qingcheng

Social Science Literature Publishing Co., Ltd.

After the founding of New China, the materialist view of history occupied a guiding position, and the study of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom ushered in a major turning point and received unprecedented attention. Wang Shi used his spare time to do research and wrote many articles. However, with the ups and downs of the country's political life, it is still difficult to achieve anything in one's own work, and amateur research is even more intermittent. In February 1959, Wang Shi was transferred to the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (the predecessor of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) and served as the head of the historical editorial team of New Construction Magazine. During the Cultural Revolution, he was not guilty of major crimes, but he was also criticized. The manuscript of "Shi Dakai" written by him was clearly arranged, which coincided with the rise of a political movement in China to criticize Li Xiucheng, and its publication was shelved. In 1975, he was seconded to the Heritage Publishing House. It was not until 1977 that he was transferred to the Institute of Modern History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences that his work stabilized. Wang Shi then wrote a number of original Articles on the "Left" bias in the historical study of Qingyuan and Acupuncture, which are greatly related to his personal experience and thinking.

Bai Juyi Youyun: "Articles are written for the times, and songs and poems are written for things." The study of modern Chinese history was not originally regarded as "learning", and the research team was sparse, and fundamental changes only took place after the founding of New China. Wang Shi's choice of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom study conforms to the general trend, reflecting the pursuit of changes through ancient and modern times and his concern for reality. In his later years, he engaged in rural research in northern China in the late Qing Dynasty, and changed from studying the history of peasant wars to studying modern rural society, which is the continuation and development of this research interest.

The wealth of experience is of great help to humanities scholars, especially historians. Wang Shi grew up in the countryside of eastern Zhejiang, fled and studied in the great southwest during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, and was sent to the rural areas of North China to exercise labor in his youth, and these experiences were of great help to his research on modern farmers and rural areas. Wang Shi attaches great importance to examination evidence, and is good at theory and has been an editor, which is his advantage, thus forming a broad-minded and speculative style of governance. Professor Zhang Kaiyuan once said in an interview: "I admire Wang Qingcheng the most, and his analysis is very accurate. A Su Shuangbi and a Wang Qingcheng are both analyzing the current situation, and many things look good later, especially Wang Qingcheng is very brainy. The trend of historical development, the prospects of China's development, everyone has done a lot of discussion, but it has not been written into an article, it is all a clear talk. ”

At present, the academic circles have studied Guo Moruo, Fan Wenlan and other historians such as the "Five Elders of Marxism-Leninism" and Hu Sheng, Liu Danian, Rong Mengyuan and other predecessors in a relatively in-depth manner. Wang Shi, together with Dai Yi, Jin Chonghe, Zhang Kaiyuan, Gong Shuduo, li Wenhai, and others, belonged to a generation of historians who grew up in the education of the materialist view of history in New China, and played an important role in the study of the history of prosperity and development. We should strengthen our research on this group.

The perseverance and integrity of scholars

Documents and History of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

Taiping Heavenly Kingdom research a big one

Wang Shi studied sociology at the university, and in 1957 he wrote an article to participate in the discussion of the restoration of sociology, advocating the establishment of a Marxist sociological discipline. His interest in the history of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom stemmed from the fact that on the eve of graduating from university, he stumbled upon Mr. Luo Ergang's book "The Original Manuscript Of the Autobiography of Li Xiucheng, the King of Zhongwang", in a bookstore. He recalled: "This book has been with me since then, decentralization in 1958, and going to the 'May Seventh' cadre school in 1970, it is one of the few books I carried with me." Since then, although my job position has changed several times, reading books about the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and studying the history of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom has always been my main amateur interest, and I have become a 'scattered soldier and warrior' on the front line of the history of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. ”

His transfer to the Institute of Modern History was a major turning point in Wang Shi's academic career, and he jokingly said that he had since changed from "scattered soldiers and brave soldiers" to regular troops. With the opening of the curtain of reform and opening up, the whole country was renewed, and Wang Shi also entered the peak period of academic research, and published seven or eight important papers in "Historical Research" within a few years, "On Hong Xiuquan's Early Thought and Its Development" is one of the famous articles. The article re-analyzes the trajectory of Hong's thought in light of his writings and activities, arguing that Hong's early thought has undergone a development process from pursuing fame and transforming the hearts of the world's Taoist people with moral preaching means to being determined to oppose the Qing Dynasty, and questions the popular view that the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was the first time in Chinese history to put forward the revolutionary movement of political, economic, ethnic, and equal sex, pointing out: "If we believe that Hong Xiuquan has already put forward this idea of equality, and it has become the theoretical basis of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Revolution, Then we cannot explain the history of Hong Xiuquan and the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, nor can we explain the history of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom for more than a hundred years. In May 1979, he used this article to participate in the International Symposium on the History of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom held in Nanjing, which was described by Mr. Luo Ergang as "throwing a bombshell at the seminar." The article was published in the form of a series in the eighth and ninth issues of "Historical Research" in the same year, which attracted the attention of the academic community, and its main arguments were adopted by domestic textbooks and related works. In 1979, the American Delegation of Ming and Qing Historians visited China in detail in its visit report; Professor Ke Wennan, an expert in the history of the British Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, published the full text of it in English.

The perseverance and integrity of scholars

"Rare Qing Dynasty Historical Materials and Interpretation"

Wang Qingcheng, ed., Wuhan Publishing House

In 1985, the book "History and Thought of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom" published by the Zhonghua Book Company totaled 470,000 words, which also caused a lot of repercussions. The book deals mostly with gaps or doubts in the study of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, including a pioneering study of the religion of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, which is creative and ideological, and beautifully written. Some scholars once talked about their impressions of Wang Shi's articles, believing that they were written beautifully, and some paragraphs were like prose. In his preface, Mr. Luo Ergang praised him as "a man of careful thought" and "has subtle skills and a certain cultivation in theoretical exercise, so that he can study problems in a subtle way and at the same time understand them from the subtleties." Luo Lao also had such words as "his subtle kung fu is no less than that of the ancient scribes of the mainland" and "he surpassed his predecessors", which Wang Shi did not dare to bear and deleted it when he published it. In 1989, Luo Lao published the "Series of Sleepy Studies", which was included in the preface and still used its original manuscript.

After the fall of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, its books and documents were destroyed, but fortunately some of them were brought back to China by Western missionaries, diplomats, etc., and were preserved. During the Republic of China, scholars such as Cheng Yansheng, Xiao Yishan, and Wang Chongmin searched for and brought back a large number of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom documents in Europe, providing valuable first-hand information for research. After the reform and opening up, this long-interrupted work was resumed. Wang Shi has been the most diligent and contributed the most in this regard, he has been paying attention to overseas searches since 1983, and has obtained a total of 43 kinds of 240 volumes of original engravings of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, more than 100 documents, many of which have not been seen before, of which the "Holy Will of the Father" and "The Holy Will of the Heavenly Brother" found in the British Library are the most precious. The "Holy Will" transmitted by Yang Xiuqing and Xiao Chaogui in the name of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Brother is the supreme instruction of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. According to Wang Shi, when he found these two books and opened the cover to see the first page, he "couldn't help but shake his hands so excitedly that he couldn't open the second page." In 2004, Wang Shi's "Twelve Kinds of Documents of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom" was published, editing and photocopying eight kinds of printed books and four kinds of documents, which has high cultural relics and historical value. Dr. Wu Fangsi, director of the Chinese Collection Department of the British Library, said in the preface to the book: In the British Library, the Dunhuang documents and the Scattered Volumes of the Yongle Canon are valued by Chinese and Western scholars, while the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom documents are underestimated; without Professor Wang Qingcheng's academic experience, some of these documents, especially the mutilated "Holy Will of the Heavenly Father", may never be known.

The perseverance and integrity of scholars

Wang Qingcheng and his wife are with the American sinologist Shi Jingqian (center).

In 1993, Wang Shi published the book "Documents and History of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom - Overseas New Literature Publications and Documentary History Studies", a total of 7 chapters and 400,000 words, written very thickly and with new ideas. In 1998, he published "Rare Qing Dynasty Historical Materials and Interpretation", in which the "Rebel Documents" examined and interpreted 30 Taiping Heavenly Kingdom documents one by one. In addition, he co-edited the "Continuation of the Series of Materials on Modern Chinese History, Taiping Heavenly Kingdom", which is divided into three parts: Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Documents, Qing Fang Records, and Outsider Records, totaling 10 volumes and 3.52 million words, published in 2004, and is the culmination of new materials published and unpublished in the past 40 years.

In the 21st century, the study of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom has gradually changed from a "cold study". Wang Shi said: "Although the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom has made great achievements through the study of several generations, there is still a lot of room for further deepening. In terms of the general laws of the development of scientific research, many problems can be re-studied. As long as those with lofty ideals make full use of historical materials, expand their research horizons, and strengthen theoretical thinking, a wealth of new topics and achievements will be in front of them. ”

Wang Shi particularly emphasized improving theoretical thinking ability. He analyzed: "Of course, the study of history depends on historical materials, but no matter how rich the historical materials are, it is impossible to record everything that happened in the past, not to mention that the historical materials on some important issues are very poor. To study history with local historical materials, it is necessary to give full play to the role of thinking and analysis, and to give history the correctest possible interpretation. On the other hand, it is precisely because the historical records of the past are incomplete that historians have a broad space to give full play to their talents and gallop in the field of history. ”

Wang Shi has also made achievements in other research areas. The former quotation "Rare Qing Dynasty Historical Materials and Interpretation" counts 460,000 words, a total of more than 190 Qing Dynasty historical materials (pieces) obtained from overseas searches, from Shunkang to Tongguang, most of them are unknown and unseen secret books by domestic scholars before, divided into seven categories of economic, religious, administrative, Chinese and foreign relations, military, rebel documents, and society. In addition, he published papers such as "Changes in the Academic and Political Official System in the Qing Dynasty" in the Journal of Yanjing, which are newly selected topics. Among them, the "Early Qing Dynasty Patrol According to the Imperial History" published the "Yanjing Journal" new 11 issues, about 40,000 words. After retiring at the age of 75, Wang Shi focused on the study of rural areas in northern China in the late Qing Dynasty, and successively published papers such as "Villages in North China in the Late Qing Dynasty", "Population of Villages and Towns in North China in late Qing Dynasty", and "Bazaars and Bazaar Circles in Late Qing Dynasty and North China".

Life goes on, learning is endless, strings and songs are endless, and Master Wang has always lived a very full and high quality.

Wang Shi is dedicated to learning, but he is by no means a nerd, and he has also shown his ability and sense of responsibility in organizing and planning scientific research. In 1978, he participated in the preparation of the Beijing Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Research Association, and in 1981, he became the president, organized academic activities with sound and color, presided over the compilation and printing of more than 40 issues of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Research Newsletter, and edited the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Academic Journal and the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Translation Series, of which the Academic Journal published a total of 5 series, published authoritative papers by Chinese and foreign scholars, and became an important window reflecting the research dynamics in this field.

In 1986, the State Council approved the establishment of the National Social Science Foundation and the establishment of the National Philosophy and Social Science Planning Leading Group, and Wang Shi concurrently served as the leader of the discipline group of modern Chinese history, leading the formulation of the "Seventh Five-Year Plan" for the discipline. In view of the inertial thinking of setting topics mainly with political history as the main line, Wang Shi put forward new ideas, believing that attention should be paid to the study of modern rural areas, cities, frontiers, ideology and culture. The initiative was unanimously endorsed, and the Seventh Five-Year Plan was designed according to this line of thinking, thus greatly changing the traditional pattern of modern Chinese history research and opening up a new world for the discipline. Since then, the study of modern social history has become a common practice, and the four cities of Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuhan, Chongqing and the rural studies of Jiluyu have been included in the planning, and excellent results have been published later.

Academic exchanges between China and foreign countries under the tide of reform and opening up are a win-win cooperation and promote academic development. Since 1983, Master Wang has visited Europe, america, Japan and Australia many times, and also searched for historical materials. After presiding over the work of the Institute of Modern History, the Institute opened up a new situation in foreign academic exchanges, and from time to time invited well-known foreign scholars to visit and give academic lectures, such as Professor Wei Feide, Kong Feili, Professor Shi Jingqian of the United States, Professor Ke Wennan of the United Kingdom, and Professor Jinji Koji of Japan, etc., forming a benign interaction and forming a deep friendship with each other. In 1986, Wang Shi took the lead in cooperating with the China Social Science Publishing House to edit the "Translation Series of Modern Chinese History Research", and successively launched more than ten monographs such as Wei Feide's "Stranger at the Gate", Kong Feili's "The Rebellion of the Late Chinese Empire and Its Enemies", and Fei Weikai's "Early Industrialization in China", which provided convenience for domestic researchers to understand the research results of first-class overseas scholars. Wang Shi painstakingly selected books for the series of books, and wrote a "preface" for a variety of Chinese translations, expounding the reference significance of the book in the research field and research methods. Later, I also joined the editorial board, and I was named as the standing editorial board of the translation series.

The perseverance and integrity of scholars

Mr. and Mrs. Wang Qingcheng took a group photo with seven doctors in their apartment in 1997 (the first left in the front row is the author of this article).

"Flawless Personality Purified in Jade"

"Flawless personality is pure in jade, good article is like a fairy" is a painting given by Master Wang, which I think is very appropriate.

Wang Shi is indifferent to fame and fortune, and his heart is frank. In 1983, he was granted a visiting scholar at Michigan State University in the United States and received $1,050 a month. Once, it was found that the check given by the school was written with an extra zero, the amount of which was 10,500 US dollars, and it was immediately returned. The other party smiled and asked: Give you money, why not? Before returning to China, the school held a reception and praised Wang Shi, calling him "a Chinese ambassador who left a very good impression." When he joined the Party at the Institute of Modern History, Tang Dihua, a member of the party committee and the wife of General Huang Kecheng, spoke highly of Wang Shi, quoting Lenin as saying that he was a "real man."

Wang Shi served as director of the Institute of Modern History for 5 years. At the beginning of his tenure, he spent nearly a month talking with the staff of the institute to understand the views on the strengths and weaknesses, and then formed a medium- and short-term work vision. In the past, the institute mainly engaged in collective projects and wrote general history books, such as modern Chinese history, history of Sino-foreign relations, and history of imperialist aggression against China, etc. In the past, the research was insufficient before and during the writing of books, and the discussion or debate on book manuscripts was mostly some formulations and terminology issues. Some people have teased that most of the arguments are "in front of the temple" or "the temple is behind the tree". Wang Shi vigorously advocated special research, although it did not touch the original book writing project, but advocated writing books on the basis of special topic research, which had some positive impact.

Master Wang supervised 7 doctoral students before and after. On how to guide students, he once borrowed the words of Mr. Yan Zhongping to quip: Graduate students are not easy to bring, how to guide dissertations? The problems that have been studied by themselves do not need to be done by the students; how can they guide the students if they have not studied the problems? My doctoral dissertation was on the taiping heavenly kingdom religion, and Wang Shi was an authority in this regard, and in the case of a bottleneck in the study of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Wang Shi's wisdom enabled me to "break through", thus determining my research direction for more than ten years. The paper was published in 1992 and reprinted in 2006 with more than 100,000 words and won many awards. Master Wang wrote the preface twice and said some words of encouragement. Without the guidance of Master Wang, I could not have dabbled in this research, and the relationship between cause and effect and inheritance is very clear.

After I graduated with my Ph.D., I stayed in the institute, became a colleague with Master Wang, and later in the same office, the opportunity to accept his ear to face life increased. The first task I accepted was to participate in the compilation of the "Continuation of the Series of Materials on Modern Chinese History: Taiping Heavenly Kingdom", responsible for (supplementing) translation and foreign language materials. I published my first paper in "Historical Research", visited the Yenching Society at Harvard for one year, and undertook the writing of the sixth volume of the National Qing History Revision Project "Tongji", all of which were related to Wang Shi's strong recommendation. Wang Shi was invited to hang out in the National Qing History Compilation Committee and received a monthly salary. He was worried that the name did not match the truth, sorry for the money he received, politely declined, but still paid attention to the progress of the revision of history. In a small talk, I talked about the repeated stress of my superiors that the history of the Qing Dynasty was a national project, which must represent the national level and become a work passed down from generation to generation, and I felt a lot of pressure. Wang Shi smiled and asked, "Then what do you say is the national level?" A light sentence is encouraging me and getting me out of my embarrassment.

The teacher-student relationship is divided into elegant and customary. In my opinion, the so-called "ya" means that it is neither disrespectful nor vulgar, and can communicate with the heart. In my impression, Master Wang never speaks official language, is very introverted, affectionate, tired of personnel entanglements, and rarely denies characters, and occasionally talks about it to the point. For the corrupt winds, inflammatory and powerful people, quite contemptuous, occasionally or comment one or two, in the wind and clouds to highlight the bleeding and wind bones.

After retirement, Wang Shi had more calm and calm. At the end of each year and the beginning of the year, the disciples gathered with Master Wang and Master's mother without moving, and they were happy and harmonious. Ping Su also often talked unfettered, and Master Wang's wisdom made us feel like a spring breeze. Master Wang's children have settled abroad, so he and his mother regularly go overseas to reunite with them. Once the old couple goes abroad, they will hand over the house keys, real estate deeds, salary cards, passbooks, etc. to me for safekeeping as usual. Every time he returned to China with his master and mother, our brothers and sisters picked up the airport as usual and gathered to talk freely. In the autumn of 2010, Wang Shi, who was over eighty years old, said with a bitter smile: This is probably the last time to return to China, and after that, he will eventually grow old and foreign. He and his master and mother visited relatives and friends, and also deliberately returned to their hometown in Zhejiang for a few days, which was a farewell. Since then, teachers and students have been separated from each other for an indefinite period of time. In order to celebrate the 80th birthday of Master Wang, we had planned to compile a collection of articles, and I drew up a list of appointments, a letter of appointment, and done some contact work. When Wang Shi found out, he stopped, saying that most of the people in China who had deeper seniority than him or had the same seniority did not do so, and it was too much to make a movement and it was inappropriate. I failed to convince Master Wang, so I had to give up.

In August 2018, Wang Shi died of illness at the age of 91. As the secretary of the party committee of the Institute of Modern History, I examined and approved the "life of Comrade Wang Qingcheng", with mixed feelings and infinite regret. The editing and publication of Wang Shi's multi-volume collection of essays, signed by me as a publishing contract, is currently being promoted. I think that if the old man knew about the spirit of heaven, he would definitely smile.

Guangming Daily ( 2022-04-04 05 edition)

Source: Guangming Network - Guangming Daily

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