Xu Fuguan

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Xu Fuguan (Hsu Fu-kuan)
Born (1904-01-31)31 January 1904
Xishui County, Hubei, Qing Empire
Died 1 April 1982(1982-04-01) (aged 78)
Taipei, Taiwan
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Xu.
Xu Fuguan
Traditional Chinese 徐復觀
Simplified Chinese 徐复观

Hsu Fu-kuan or Xu Fuguan (Chinese: 徐復觀); 1902/1903 – 1982) was a Chinese intellectual and historian who made notable contributions to Confucian studies. He is a leading member of New Confucianism,[1] a philosophical movement initiated by Xu's teacher and friend, Xiong Shili. Other important members of the New Confucian Movement include Xu's two friends and professorial colleagues who also studied with Xiong Shili: Mou Zongsan and Tang Junyi.


Xu was born in 1902 or 1903[2] in a family of farmer scholars in Hubei Province, China. Hsu's father taught at a private school established for village children who showed academic promise and could sit the imperial examinations to become scholar officials. In his teen-age years, Xu made his way to the provincial capital Wuhan which was then the cultural center where foreign influences and trends abounded. Wuhan was also an important staging area for the 1911 Republican Revolution that ended China's 2000-year-old imperial rule. Xu spent fifteen years with the Nationalist army attaining the rank of senior colonel. Trusted by Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek, Xu was sent to Yan'an to discuss Nationalist and Communist cooperation against the invading Japanese. In Yan'an, Xu met senior Communist officials including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. After leaving the army, Xu then took various teaching positions, published a scholarly magazine, and then involved himself in politics, working as an advisor to Chiang Kai-shek until 1946. He then devoted himself to "the study of books" (editing,academic papers) on the island of Taiwan where the Nationalists had retreated in 1949. Between 1955 and 1969, he taught in the Chinese Department of Tunghai University. Because the university had no philosophy department, Xu welcomed students interested in philosophy into the Chinese Department. Many of these students, such as Tu Weiming, rose to academic prominence. Xu also taught at the New Asia Research Institute in Hong Kong.[3]

Xu was a prolific writer and thinker and his collected works run to several volumes. While in both Taiwan and Hong Kong, Xu wrote frequently for newspapers. Xu was the driving force behind the 1958 manifesto on Chinese Culture that is viewed by many scholars as a crowning achievement of New Confucianism. Regarding this manifesto, Xinzhong Yao states: "The first effort in reviving Confucianism in the 1950s was a document drawn up by Tang Junyi, Mou Zongsan, Zhang Junmai and Xu Fuguan and published on the first day of 1958, entitled 'A Declaration of Chinese Culture to the Scholars of the World' (wei zhongguo wenhua jinggao shijie renshi xuanyan 为中国文化敬告世界人士宣言). The declaration restates the authors' concerns about the direction of human development, the value of Chinese culture, and urges Western and Chinese scholars to understand Chinese culture, claiming that without a proper understanding of Chinese culture, the perception of China will be distorted and the Chinese will have no future."[4]

Xu died in Hong Kong in 1982.<5>


  1. ^ Bo Mou, ed. (2008). Routledge history of world philosophies : history of Chinese philosophy. Taylor & Francis. p. 539. 
  2. ^ Conflicting sources, cited by Mathias Obert
  3. ^ (French) Mathias Obert, "La pensée esthétique de Xu Fuguan (1902-1982)", in : Revue internationale de philosophie, 2/2005 (n° 232), p. 267-285. (online)
  4. ^ Hsin-chung Yao, An Introduction to Confucianism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 255


  • Lee Su-San, "Xu Fuguan and new Confucianism in Taiwan (1949-1969): a cultural history of the exile generation", ISBN 0-591-83212-7 summary
  • Xinzhong Yao, An Introduction to Confucianism, 2000