Scholars and Morality
Chapter 2 considers the circle of concerned Chinese men who were not privy to the intimacies of the birth chamber but still advocated the prevention of female infanticide in the wider public, through philanthropic endeavors within their communities. Female infanticide was most frequently described in male-authored Chinese texts as a deplorable local custom, and managed on a local or regional scale. Our guide in this chapter is Yu zhi (1804-74), a little-known country schoolteacher, who devoted himself to the practice of good works and the improvement of moral behavior at all levels of society. Exhorting one’s fellow man not to commit female infanticide was but one small part of a typical portfolio of mid-nineteenth-century philanthropy, especially in the aftermath of the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64).
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