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Ying-shih Yu, Famend Scholar of Chinese language Thought, Dies at 91

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He believed that Chinese language custom was extra different and tolerant than critics, and a few admirers, thought it to be, and that in trendy instances it may very well be a vessel for enlightened values and democratic progress. And he maintained that intellectuals, as custodians of these concepts, had a accountability to advance these beliefs.

After the Chinese language authorities’s crackdown on the Tiananmen Sq. protests in 1989, Princeton started an initiative to absorb exiled Chinese language intellectuals. Professor Yu was a robust supporter who spoke to them concerning the significance of their trigger.

“He was a serious scholar, so his phrases carried extra weight when he spoke out,” Su Xiaokang, a Chinese language journalist and documentary filmmaker who was among the many exiles at Princeton, stated in an interview. “No person doubted his scholarship, so when he spoke out, the Chinese language Communist Social gathering might do nothing and didn’t dare criticize him.”

After retiring from Princeton in 2001, Professor Yu continued lecturing, writing and giving interviews to voice his assist for democracy in Taiwan. He additionally lamented the latest draconian crackdown in Hong Kong. He visited mainland China as a part of a delegation in 1978, however by no means felt inclined to return.

His survivors embrace his spouse and two daughters, Judy and Sylvia Yu.

The Library of Congress catalog lists Professor Yu because the writer of 102 books in English and Chinese language, together with editions revealed in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“The form of humanistic scholarship he personified will all the time garner monumental respect, maybe particularly in sure Chinese language circles, however it’s more and more uncommon today and typically dismissed as not ‘helpful,’” Professor Waley-Cohen stated. “He would in all probability ask, Who’re we to predetermine what ‘helpful’ means?”

Liu Yi contributed analysis.

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