The first emergence of modern Chinese nationalism is usually placed in the A period just after China's defeat by Japan in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895. It was in 1895 that the youthful Sun Yat-sen made his initial revolutionary attempt to destroy the Manchu house. In the same year the nationalist-minded interpreter of Western political and social thought, Yen Fu, published a series of important essays which brought him for the first time before the public eye. Something of the spirit of the gathering tide of nationalism could be seen in the forceful editorials of Wang K'ang-nien (1860–1911) in Shih-wu pao (“The Chinese Progress”), a newspaper which he founded in August 1896 with Liang Chʻi-chʻao as chief editor. In one of his editorials (1896) Wang listed the components of China's national sovereignty that had been whittled away by the West and implored his countrymen to view this as the common shame of China's four hundred millions, rather than the shame of one or two persons alone. Wang struck a similar chord in another piece in which he argued that since the interests of all members of society were linked together, people should look upon the whole of society as one family and identify the common interest as their own.

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