China Institute Convenes Thought Leaders to Mark the 100th Anniversary of “China’s Enlightenment,” known as the May 4th movement

May 1, 2019
This pivotal time in China’s storied history and intellectual life is brought to light and explored in context of China’s current, global ascendency.

NEW YORK, April 2, 2019 – On Sunday May 5, China Institute will recognize the 100th anniversary of one of the most significant periods in Chinese history in an afternoon of programming and explorations of culture, feminism, literature, and what it means to be a public intellectual in China yesterday and today.

Scholars today view May Fourth as one of the most significant turning points in modern Chinese history. What began with student protests in 1919 over the government’s weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, exploded into a national movement which called for a rejection of traditional Chinese values in an effort to strengthen the Chinese nation and modernize Chinese society.

In the years since its establishment, the movement helped establish the Chinese Communist Party, making the movement an important chapter in the history of the modern state while simultaneously generating democratic ideas and other new ways of thinking that helped inspire a new wave of powerful student protests, which later came to fruition in June 1989.

Our symposium running from 1:00 – 5:00 PM will connect the May 4 spirit to today, through three panel discussions, on literature and the public intellectual, the birth of feminism, and the challenge of facing history. Helping bring these topics to light are a range of scholars, authors and China experts including Leta Hong Fincher, Gail Hershatter, Lydia Liu, Ha Jin, Viren Murthy, Zhang Xudong, Andrew Nathan, Bill Kirby, and Li Chenjian.

Dorinda Elliott, Program Director at China Institute, noted: “This is a landmark event for China Institute examining one of the most influential times in China’s history as the implications of the May 4 movement continues to make an indelible impact on Chinese culture and society 100 years after it began. Our event will explore the echo effect including its impression on the lives of Chinese women, student protests in China, how nations confront and rectify complicated parts of their own history and so much more. This will be one of the most important public events of 2019 with far-reaching conclusions sure to shape China for the next century.”

China Institute’s 100 Anniversary of the May 4 movement takes place on May 5, 2019 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM at our space on 100 Washington Street (enter at 40 Rector Street).

More information available online at:

About China Institute
China Institute advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, art, and business. China Institute is the go-to resource on China—from ancient art to today’s business landscape and its rapidly shifting culture. Our programs, school, and gallery exhibitions bring to life the depth, complexity and dynamism of China. Founded in 1926 by Chinese reformers Hu Shi, K.P. Wen, and John Dewey, China Institute is the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in America to focus exclusively on China.

Jeremy Willinger
China Institute
212-744-8181 x106

*For Immediate Release

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