Geremie Barmé is a historian, cultural critic, filmmaker, translator, and web-journal editor who works on Chinese cultural and intellectual history from the early modern period (1600s) to the present. In 2016, with the literary translator John Minford, he founded The Wairarapa Academy for New Sinology, which publishes China Heritage. Prior to that, he was Founding Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World and a Professor of Chinese History at The Australian National University (ANU).

Barmé is the author of Shades of Mao: The Posthumous Cult of the Great Leader (M.E. Sharpe, 1996), In the Red: On Contemporary Chinese Culture (Columbia University Press, 1999), The Forbidden City (Harvard University Press, 2008), and other books. His book An Artistic Exile: A Life of Feng Zikai (1898-1975) (University of California Press, 2002) was awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize for Modern China in 2004. Barmé was the Associate Director and main writer of The Gate of Heavenly Peace, a documentary for Frontline (1995). He was also the co-director and co-producer of the documentary film Morning Sun (2003), which the American Historical Association awarded the 2004 John E. O’Conner Film Award. In 2012, he founded The China Story Project, which produces a Yearbook on contemporary China.

After graduating from ANU, where he majored in Chinese and Sanskrit, Barmé studied at universities in the People’s Republic of China (1974-1977) and Japan (1980-1983) and spent long periods working as a journalist, freelance writer, Chinese essayist, and translator in Hong Kong and China.

Last Updated: September 4, 2018

Viewpoint

09.04.18

Peak Xi Jinping?

Geremie R. Barmé
The adulation of Xi Jinping, China’s State President, Party General Secretary, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, has yet to reach similar lofty heights as that of Mao Zedong. However, on September 3, the official Beijing media took a...

One Decent Man

Geremie R. Barmé from New York Review of Books
The thought of hearing back from Simon Leys filled me with dread. It was late 1976 and I was an exchange student at a university in Shenyang, in northeast China. I’d only recently learned that Pierre Ryckmans, the man who had taught me Chinese, was...

China’s Art of Containment

Geremie R. Barmé
On the evening of May 20, 1989, in response to weeks of mass demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government placed Beijing under martial law. The following morning, in Hong Kong, far to the south, Wen Wei Po, the main Communist-...

The True Story of Lu Xun

Geremie R. Barmé from New York Review of Books
1.Addressing an audience at the Hong Kong YMCA in February 1927, the writer Lu Xun (the pen name of Zhou Shuren, 1881–1936) warned that despite ten years of literary revolution and the promotion of a written vernacular language, Chinese people had...

Viewpoint

10.21.17

The Ayes Have It

Geremie R. Barmé
On April 1, 1969, delegates to the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convened in the Great Hall of the People on the western flank of Tiananmen Square. The hall had been constructed as one of the Ten Grand Edifices 十大建築 hastily...

Viewpoint

08.22.17

Burn the Books, Bury the Scholars!

Geremie R. Barmé
Chinese censorship has come a long way. During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor of a unified China, Ying Zheng, famously quashed the intellectual diversity of his day by ‘burning the books and burying the scholars’. He not...

Viewpoint

01.23.17

The Chairmen, Trump and Mao

Geremie R. Barmé
The January 13, 1967 issue of TIME magazine featured Mao Zedong on its cover with the headline “China in Chaos.” Fifty years later, TIME made U.S. President-elect Donald Trump its Man of The Year. With a groundswell of mass support, both men...

Features

09.02.15

Parading the People’s Republic

Geremie R. Barmé from China Heritage Quarterly
In light of the September 3, 2015, mega military parade held at Tiananmen Square in Beijing both to mark the seventieth anniversary of the end of Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945 and to acclaim the achievements of Xi Jinping, China’s Chairman of...

Sinica Podcast

05.10.14

Initial Impressions: Three First Trips to China, 1970s-1990s

Jeremy Goldkorn, Geremie R. Barmé & more from Sinica Podcast
In this show: dating tips for hooking up with your Marxist-Leninist thought instructor, advice on what modern music and seasonal vegetables to smuggle in from Hong Kong, the origins of China’s somewhat unorthodox driving customs, and instructions on...

Sinica Podcast

03.15.13

A Discussion with Geremie R. Barmé

Kaiser Kuo & Geremie R. Barmé from Sinica Podcast
On March 8, Kaiser Kuo hosted a conversation at Capital M in Beijing with Geremie R. Barmé, the well-known Sinologist and now Director of the Australian Centre for China in the World, as part of the Capital Literary Festival. This week on Sinica, we...

Sinica Podcast

03.02.12

China in the World

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, your hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are pleased to welcome Geremie R Barmé, the well-known Chinese historian, author, filmmaker, and translator, and the Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World at the...

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China Story
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China Story
11.04.12

In Yuan Peng’s 2012 repertoire of what are now popularly known as the ‘New Black Five Categories of People’ were identified as: rights lawyers, underground religious activities, dissidents, Internet leaders and vulnerable groups

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China Story
09.08.12

‘The Ten Grave Problems’ 十大文问题 forms the second section of a three-part feuilleton or ‘pamphlet’ (in its earlier rabble-rousing sense) by Deng Yuwen 邓聿文 titled ‘The Political Legacy of Hu-Wen’ 胡温的政治遗产. It appeared online in Caijing 财经 magazine in late August-early September. Although the author echoes the formal...

Topics: Politics, Society