Jian Bozan (simplified Chinese: 翦伯赞; traditional Chinese: 翦伯贊; pinyin: Jiǎn Bózàn; April 14, 1898 – December 18, 1968) was a Chinese scholar and Marxist historian of Uyghur descent. Born in Taoyuan County, Hunan province, Jian became an early supporter of the Communist Party of China. From 1952 to his death, he was Vice President of Peking University. Like many authoritative academic figures of his generation, he was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution over a perceived divergence between his own ideas and that of dominant Maoist orthodoxy of the time. Unable to bear torture, Jian committed suicide in 1968.
Family and Ancestor
Jian Bozan traces his ancestry to the present-day Xinjiang region of China. He was a direct descendant of a Uyghur General (哈勒巴士) who served the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in quelling a Miao Rebellion in southeastern China. The Emperor rewarded his family with the surname "Jian" (翦), and married him to his god-daughter, the Duyi Princess. Jian Family then settled in Taoyuan County for generations. They gradually integrated into Han Chinese culture over years. "Jian" (翦) is very unusual surname in China.
Early years and education
In 1916, he entered school in Beijing, where he studied and conducted research about Chinese economic history. His graduation thesis was a 50,000-character study of the history of China's currency system. Believing that industry was China's savior, he travelled to the University of California in 1924 to research economics. During this time, he studied Anti-Dühring, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, The Communist Manifesto, and other famous Marxist works. He returned to China in 1926. Jian was a patriot, and participated in the protests leading up to the March 18 Massacre of that year. He published his first Marxist interpretation of Chinese history during the 1930s, and joined the Communist Party of China in 1937. In 1934, while serving as secretary to Qin Zhen, deputy head of the Judicial Yuan, Jian went on a tour of numerous countries around the world. As a close ally of the Communist Party, Jian became professor of history at Peking University after the party's rise to power in 1949, and later served as dean of the faculty of history and vice-president of the university.
During the Cultural Revolution
Jian became a target of struggle during the early stages of the Cultural Revolution. During the early 1960s, Jian began to advocate historical accounts that combined the methodology of class analysis and historicism. For this, Mao Zedong criticized Jian at the end of 1965. Qi Benyu, a prominent Maoist figure of the time period, also criticized Jian on four counts: opposing the theory of class struggle, denigrating peasant revolutions, praising emperors and kings, and applauding conciliatory policies. Jian also suffered from severe torture and was lynched at the hands of radicals. The ill treatment drove Jian to commit suicide. Jian, along with his wife, took an overdose of sleeping pills and died on December 18, 1968.
Abridged list of publications
- Treatise on Chinese History (中国史论集)
- Discussions of Historical Questions (历史问题论丛)
- Anthology of Historical Works by Jian Bozan (翦伯赞历史论文选集)
- Historical Data and the Study of History (史料与史学)
- Recent Capitalist Economy of the World (最近之世界资本主义经济)
- A Course in the Philosophy of History (历史哲学教程)
- An Outline of Chinese History (中国史纲)
- History of the Qin and Han Dynasties (秦汉史)
- Timeline of Chinese and Foreign History (中外历史年表)
- General Reference on Chinese History (中国通史参考资料)
- Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Susanne (1996). "On Shi and Lun: Toward a Typology of Historiography in the PRC". History and Theory. Blackwell Publishing. 35 (4): 74–95. doi:10.2307/2505445. JSTOR 2505445.
- Wang, Youqin (1997). "The Second Wave of Violent Persecution of Teachers: the Revolution of 1968". 35th International Congress of Asian and North African Studies.
- Wang, Changpei; Zhou, Wenjiu (2009). "The Characteristics of Chinese Marxist Historiography——Focusing on the Works of Guo Moruo, Fan Wenlan, Jian Bozan, Lü Zhenyü, and Hou Wailu". Journal of Historiography (in Chinese). 2: 68.
- Wang and Zhou, 68
- "Chinese Ancient Classics Net - Jian Bozan" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- Munro, Robin (1980). "Settling Accounts with the Cultural Revolution at Beijing University 1977-78". The China Quarterly. 82 (82): 308–333. doi:10.1017/S030574100001239X. JSTOR 653067.