By Michael Twohey (auth.)

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187-8). Xunzi reasoned that a hierarchical state structure, rather than Mozi's egalitarian system, would defend an equality that safeguarded the people equally by delivering them from the fight for resources, and by promising them wealth, regardless of social position (Xzmzi, Vol. 2, p. 117). If wealth were not redistributed, according to Xunzi, if the lower classes were relegated Xzmzi and Ancient Chinese Authority 23 to a state of poverty, then they would not be able to contribute to the state surplus.

Kang's turn toward a reform programme that was guided by strong authority strengthened the argument among Chinese Conservative reformers that he never sincerely believed that Confucius was a reformer and a democrat and that he used this argument merely to ward off his opponents (Ye, 1898, p. 1). This could be true, and could lend support to the argument that Kang was a follower of Xunzi rather than of Confucius. But it is also important to note how Kang's thinking changed over time. He did indeed believe between 1888 and 1898 that administrative reforms could act as a prelude to a democratic system that transformed itself from aristocratic politics to constitutional government.

This view was voiced by one Conservative critic after the 1911 Revolution when he said,' ... as long as the emperor had shown benevolence toward the people and ruled the country in a humanitarian and just way, China would have inevitably strengthened its position [without a revolution]' (Li, 1911, p. 2). Of course, this response may have also represented a genuine fear that change would destroy the Conservatives' vested interests, which included considerable landholdings and several provincial governorships (Li Huaxin, 1988, p.

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Authority and Welfare in China: Modern Debates in Historical by Michael Twohey (auth.)
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