Perry Link is Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies at Princeton University and Chancellorial Chair for Teaching Across Disciplines at the University of California at Riverside. He has published widely on modern Chinese language, literature, and popular thought, and is a member of the Princeton China Initiative, Human Rights Watch/Asia, and other groups that support human rights. He has authored, among others, the books The Uses of Literature: Life in the Socialist Chinese Literary System (Princeton University Press, 2000) and Evening Chats in Beijing: Probing China’s Predicament (Norton and Co., 1992); coauthored Chinese course books; and edited several books including Two Kinds of Truth: Stories and Reportage from China by Liu Binyan (Indiana University Press, 2006). He coedited, with Andrew J. Nathan, The Tiananmen Papers: The Chinese Leadership’s Decision to Use Force Against Their Own People—In Their Own Words by Zhang Liang (Public Affairs Press, 2001). His published essays include “Corruption and Indignation: Windows into Popular Chinese Views of Right and Wrong” for the American Enterprise Institute’s De Tocqueville on China project in 2007, and “Whose Assumptions Does Xu Bing Upset, and Why?” in Persistence and Transformation: Text as Image in the Art of Xu Bing (Princeton University Press, 2006). His latest book is An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics (Harvard , 2013).

Last Updated: August 23, 2016

Conversation

12.07.13

Will China Shut Out the Foreign Press?

Winston Lord, Paul Mooney & more
Some two dozen journalists employed by The New York Times and Bloomberg News have not yet received the visas they need to continue to report and live in China after the end of this year. Without them, they will effectively be expelled from the...

How to Deal with the Chinese Police

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
A casual visitor to China today does not get the impression of a police state. Life bustles along as people pursue work, fashion, sports, romance, amusement, and so on, without any sign of being under coercion. But the government spends tens of...

China: “Capitulate or Things Will Get Worse”

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The massacre of protesters in Beijing on June 4, 1989, and the harsh repression during the months immediately following put China into a foul mood. Among ordinary Chinese, the prestige of the Communist Party, whose leaders had ordered the brutal...

Censoring the News Before It Happens

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Every day in China, hundreds of messages are sent from government offices to website editors around the country that say things like, “Report on the new provincial budget tomorrow, but do not feature it on the front page, make no comparisons to...

Viewpoint

04.04.13

‘Hi! I’m Fang!’ The Man Who Changed China

Perry Link
In China in the 1980s, the word renquan (“human rights”) was extremely “sensitive.” Few dared even to utter it in public, let alone to champion the concept. Now, nearly three decades later, a grassroots movement called weiquan (“supporting rights”)...

Viewpoint

01.24.13

China at the Tipping Point?

Perry Link & Xiao Qiang
Of all the transformations that Chinese society has undergone over the past fifteen years, the most dramatic has been the growth of the Internet. Information now circulates and public opinions are now expressed on electronic bulletin boards with...

Out of School

12.24.12

Politics and the Chinese Language

Perry Link
The awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Chinese novelist Mo Yan has given rise to energetic debate, both within China’s borders and beyond. Earlier this month, ChinaFile ran an essay by Chinese literature scholar Charles Laughlin...

Does This Writer Deserve the Prize?

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
On October 11 Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2012 will go to the fifty-seven-year-old Chinese writer Guan Moye, better known as Mo Yan, a pen name that means “...

Beijing’s Dangerous Game

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Over the past few days, angry crowds in more than thirty Chinese cities have trashed Japanese stores, overturned Japanese cars, shouted “Down with Japan,” and carried banners that demand Chinese sovereignty over the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands in the...

Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The Chinese Communist Party has always put great emphasis on smooth surfaces, maintaining political “face” through a decorous exterior. Men at the top dye their hair black and every strand must be in place. But sometimes there are cracks in the...

Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The Chinese Communist Party has always put great emphasis on smooth surfaces, maintaining political “face” through a decorous exterior. Men at the top dye their hair black and every strand must be in place. But sometimes there are cracks in the...

On Fang Lizhi (1936–2012)

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Fang Lizhi, a distinguished professor of astrophysics, luminary in the struggle for human rights in contemporary China, and frequent contributor to The New York Review, died suddenly on the morning of April 6. At age seventy-six he had not yet...