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Zhang Junmai (Chinese: 张君劢; Wade–Giles: Chang Chun-mai; 1886–1969), also known by his courtesy name Carsun Chang, was a prominent Chinese philosopher, public intellectual and political figure. Zhang Junmai was a social democratic politician.
A pioneering theorist of human rights in the Chinese context, Zhang established his own small "Third Force" democratic party during the Nationalist era.
Zhang supported German-style social democracy while opposing capitalism, communism, and guild socialism. He supported socialization of major industries such as railroads and mines to be run by a combination of government officials, technicians, and consumers. the development of a mixed economy in China, like that advocated by the Social Democratic Party of Germany under Philipp Scheidemann.
Equipped with the traditional Confucian degree of xiucai or "accomplished scholar", Zhang went on to study at Waseda University in Japan where he came under the influence of Liang Qichao's theory of constitutional monarchy. In 1918 he accompanied Liang’s tour of post-war Europe, later going to Germany to study philosophy for a short time at Berlin University. While in Germany he came under the influence of the teachings of Rudolf Eucken (1846–1926) and Henri Bergson (1859–1941). With Hans Driesch, who was formerly Eucken's student, Zhang travelled throughout China in the early 1920s, serving as Driesch's Chinese translator as he lectured on Eucken's philosophical vision. Appointed a professor of philosophy at Beijing University, he instigated polemics over science and metaphysics (known in Chinese as the "worldview controversy.") He wrote extensively on what now forms part of modern neo-Confucianism.
With Zhang Dongsun, he organized a National Socialist Party (not connected with the Nazis in Germany). In 1933 he and Huang Yanpei organized the China Democratic League, a Third Force party with strong commitments to liberal doctrines of separation of powers, freedom of expression and human rights. The political scientist Qian Duansheng criticized Zhang as "neither an organizer himself nor a man able to pick capable men to organize for him." John Melby, an American diplomat who knew Zhang during the war, felt that Zhang was as "unrealistic" as his brother, Chang Kia-ngau, was hard headed. As a scholar, Melby conceded, Zhang was "highly intelligent and well educated," but as a politician he was "utopian" and "ineffectual." After the war against Japan, Zhang became the chairman of the China Democratic Socialist Party.
Opposed to the Chinese communists, but also dissatisfied with Chiang Kai-shek's noncompliance with the constitution, Zhang Junmai went to the United States after 1949. The Democratic Socialist Party moved to Taiwan afterwards and continued resisting the implementation of a one-party dictatorship and oppression by the Kuomintang though its very survival in Taiwan was due to its tacit cooperation with the Kuomintang. Zhang Junmai reappeared in 1962 calling for the unity of the party, but returned to the United States before his death in 1969.
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