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Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu 明夷待访录 – Top 100 Books in China

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Ideological enlightenment calling for democratic politics


Chinese Name: 明夷待访录

English Name: Waiting For The Dawn, Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu

Author: Huang Zongxi黄宗羲

Originally Published: 1663 A.D (the Ming dynasty明代)

Genre: Philosophy

Brief Introduction of Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu

Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu is a political work created by Huang Zongxi, an enlightenment thinker in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties.

Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu is a famous work with the nature of enlightenment criticizing autocratic monarchy and calling for democracy. It is 100 years earlier than Rousseau’s on the people’s covenant. Some people call it “another declaration of human rights”.

Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu 明夷待访录
Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu 明夷待访录

Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu waiting for a visit opposed autocratic monarchy and advocated civil rights, which had a great impact on the reform and reform movement in the late Qing Dynasty. It even affected patriots such as Sun Yat Sen, Zou Rong and Chen Tianhua during the revolution of 1911.

There are 21 public articles in Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu. Although this book does not fundamentally deny the establishment of monarch and minister, it advocates that the monarch should open up the constitutional system, strengthen the factor of equality, expand the social supervision power over the rulers, and has the thought of modern democratic politics. This thought is not influenced by Western civilization, but developed from Chinese traditional culture, so it is more valuable. This book was banned by the rulers of the Qing Dynasty and did not appear until the end of the Qing Dynasty. It was valued and praised by Tan Sitong, Liang Qichao and others.


Author of Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu

Huang Zongxi (September 24, 1610 – August 12, 1695), a native of Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, was a Confucian scholar, historian, thinker, geographer, astronomer and educator in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties. It has the reputation of “the father of Chinese ideological enlightenment”.

Huang Zongxi黄宗羲
Huang Zongxi黄宗羲

Huang Zongxi put forward the democratic thought of “the world is the main and the king is the guest”. It advocates replacing the emperor’s “family law” with “the law of the world”, so as to limit the monarchy and ensure the people’s basic rights. Huang Zongxi’s political proposition attacked the feudal autocratic monarchy, which was of great significance and played a positive role in the subsequent anti autocratic struggle.

Huang Zongxi has extensive knowledge, profound thoughts and rich works. He has written more than 50 kinds and more than 300 volumes in his life. Among them, the most important ones are the Case of Confucianism in the Ming Dynasty明儒学案, the case of learning in the Song and Yuan Dynasties宋元学案, Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu明夷待访录, and so on.

On August 12, 1695, Huang Zongxi died of a long illness.


Excerpts of Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu


From the beginning of life, people have their own selfishness and their own interests.


First there is a good legal system, and then there are capable people who govern according to law.


The world is so big, there are tens of thousands of people, so how can everything become one person’s private property?


I came out to be an official for the world, not for the monarch, for all the people, not for the surname of the monarch’s family.

Evaluation of Ming Yi Dai Fang Lu

It is actually the most powerful stimulant to stimulate youth

Liang Qichao梁启超

Huang Zongxi was the great master of the dynasty!

Kang Youwei康有为

The First Chinese Constitutionalist: Huang Zongxi

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