Renowned Scholar of Chinese Thought Ying-shih Yu dies at 91


He believed that the Chinese tradition was more diverse and tolerant than critics and some fans thought, and could be a vessel for enlightened values ​​and democratic progress in modern times. And he argued that intellectuals, as guardians of these ideas, have a responsibility to advance these ideals.

After the Chinese government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Princeton launched an initiative to recruit exiled Chinese intellectuals. Professor Yu was a strong supporter who talked to them about the importance of their cause.

“He was a prominent scientist, so his words carried more weight when he spoke,” Chinese journalist and documentary filmmaker Su Xiaokang, who was among exiles at Princeton, said in an interview. “No one doubted his scholarship, so when he spoke, the Chinese Communist Party could do nothing and dare not criticize him.”

After retiring from Princeton in 2001, Professor Yu continued to lecture, write and give interviews to voice his support for democracy in Taiwan. Room complained of recent brutal repression in Hong Kong. He visited mainland China in 1978 as part of a delegation, but never tended to return.

Among the survivors are his wife and two daughters, Judy and Sylvia Yu.

NS Library of Congress catalog It lists Professor Yu as the author of 102 books in English and Chinese, including editions published in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Professor Waley-Cohen said: “The humanistic kind of science he personified will always be held in high esteem, perhaps especially in some Chinese circles, but these days it is increasingly rare and sometimes rejected as not being ‘useful’.” “Who are we to presumably predetermine what ‘useful’ means?” he asked.

Liu Yi contributed to the research.


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