This article contributes to the study of the cultural politics of Thirdspace in modern China, which exerted a far-reaching influence on Chinese intellectual history, literature, and culture. Although the term the third space was coined by Homi K. Bhabha, the leading figure in postcolonial theoretical studies, as a new form of discourse to go beyond dualistic categories such as the colonizer/colonized opposition, it has much broader cultural meanings in the modern Chinese context. One of the prominent Chinese intellectuals, Zhang Dongsun, intentionally created a critical interface of Thirdspace through which to ensure a spirit of tolerance, independence of individuals, and freedom of criticism. The article investigates Zhang Dongsun's philosophical system, his political thought and commentary, and his cultural criticism in the Republic of China, discussing the motivations that compelled him to undertake the third route, as he attempted to transcend binary oppositions, which ultimately led to his downfall in the New China. The case of Zhang Dongsun, who exemplifies a group of liberal Chinese intellectuals, not only indicates the predicament of the discourse of Thirdspace in modern China but also adds new insights to our understanding of the divergent spiritual journeys that Chinese intellectuals have taken in response to the national crisis.

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