Beijing’s Bold New Censorship

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Authoritarians, in China and elsewhere, normally have preferred to dress their authoritarianism up in pretty clothes. Lenin called the version of dictatorship he invented in 1921 “democratic centralism,” but it became clear, especially after Stalin...

Conversation

03.22.17

China Writers Remember Robert Silvers

Ian Johnson, Orville Schell & more
Robert Silvers died on Monday, March 20, after serving as The New York Review of Books Editor since 1963. Over almost six decades, Silvers cultivated one of the most interesting, reflective, and lustrous stables of China writers in the world, some...

Books

02.01.17

Unlikely Partners

Julian Gewirtz
Unlikely Partners recounts the story of how Chinese politicians and intellectuals looked beyond their country’s borders for economic guidance at a key crossroads in the nation’s tumultuous 20th century. Julian Gewirtz offers a dramatic tale of competition for influence between reformers and hardline conservatives during the Deng Xiaoping era, bringing to light China’s productive exchanges with the West.When Mao Zedong died in 1976, his successors seized the opportunity to reassess the wisdom of China’s rigid commitment to Marxist doctrine. With Deng Xiaoping’s blessing, China’s economic gurus scoured the globe for fresh ideas that would put China on the path to domestic prosperity and ultimately global economic power. Leading foreign economists accepted invitations to visit China to share their expertise, while Chinese delegations traveled to the United States, Hungary, Great Britain, West Germany, Brazil, and other countries to examine new ideas. Chinese economists partnered with an array of brilliant thinkers, including Nobel Prize winners, World Bank officials, battle-scarred veterans of Eastern Europe’s economic struggles, and blunt-speaking free-market fundamentalists.Nevertheless, the push from China’s senior leadership to implement economic reforms did not go unchallenged, nor has the Chinese government been eager to publicize its engagement with Western-style innovations. Even today, Chinese Communists decry dangerous Western influences and officially maintain that China’s economic reinvention was the Chinese Communist Party’s achievement alone. Unlikely Partners sets forth the truer story, which has continuing relevance for China’s complex and far-reaching relationship with the West. —Harvard University Press{chop}

Once a Voice of Young China, Han Han Stakes Out a Different Path

Karoline Kan
New York Times
Han Han discusses his writings, the turns his life has taken and what people in the West fail to understand about China

On China’s Constitution Day, Book on Constitutionalism Largely Disappears

KIKI ZHAO
New York Times
China held its second-ever National Constitution Day on Friday.

China’s Think-Tank Great Leap Forward

Yanzhong Huang
Council on Foreign Relations
Governments, universities, and non-governmental actors have all jumped on the bandwagon of growing and creating think tanks.

How to Be a Chinese Democrat: An Interview with Liu Yu

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Liu Yu is one of China’s best-known America-watchers. A professor of political science at Tsinghua University, she lived in the U.S. from 2000 to 2007 and now researches democratization in developing countries, including her own. The thirty-eight-...

Sinica Podcast

03.07.14

Wealth and Power: Intellectuals in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by David Moser and Orville Schell. While long-time listeners will of course know of David Moser as one of our favorite resident sinologists, if you haven’t also heard of Orville Schell we think you should have...

A Chill, Ill Wind Blows Across China

Elizabeth Economy
Council on Foreign Relations
Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign against public intellectuals and corrupt officials—while widely heralded by the official Chinese media—seems like one destined for short-term gain but long-term pain. 

Books

05.15.13

China Dreams

William A. Callahan
After celebrating their country’s three decades of fantastic economic success, many Chinese now are asking, “What comes next?” How can China convert its growing economic power into political and cultural influence around the globe? William A. Callahan's China Dreams gives voice to China’s many different futures by exploring the grand aspirations and deep anxieties of a broad group of public intellectuals. Stepping outside the narrow politics of officials vs. dissidents, Callahan examines what a third group—“citizen intellectuals”—think about China’s future. China Dreams eavesdrops on fascinating conversations between officials, scholars, soldiers, bloggers, novelists, filmmakers and artists to see how they describe China’s different political, strategic, economic, social and cultural futures. Callahan also examines how the P.R.C.’s new generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings is creatively questioning “The China Model” of economic development. The personal stories of these citizen intellectuals illustrate China’s zeitgeist and a complicated mix of hopes and fears about “The Chinese Century,” providing a clearer sense of how the PRC’s dramatic economic and cultural transitions will affect the rest of the world. China Dreams explores the transnational connections between American and Chinese people, providing a new approach to Sino-American relations. While many assume that 21st century global politics will be a battle of Confucian China vs. the democratic west, Callahan weaves Chinese and American ideals together to describe a new “Chimerican dream.”  —Oxford University Press

Profiles of Key Contemporary Chinese Intellectuals

The China Story
China Story
He Weifang 贺卫方 is a Chinese law professor affiliated with Peking University (PKU). Before being given tenure at PKU in 1992, he was the editor at Comparative Law 比较法研究 and Peking University Law Journal 中外法学, both published by the...

Is Chinese Social Media Becoming an Unruly Fight Club?

Rebecca Liao
To pick out three similar but unrelated incidents on Weibo and call them a trend is to risk forfeiting one’s right to say anything about the social media site ever again, except some things so defy responsible behavior that they deserve to be on the...

Learning How to Argue

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
One of China’s most outspoken public intellectuals, Ran Yunfei was detained last year after calls went out for China to emulate the “Jasmine Revolution” protests sweeping North Africa. He was held without trial for six months until last August...

Books

04.15.11

Tide Players

Jianying Zha
In Tide Players, acclaimed New Yorker contributor and author Jianying Zha depicts a new generation of movers and shakers who are transforming modern China. Through half a dozen sharply etched and nuanced profiles, Tide Players captures both the concrete detail and the epic dimension of life in the world’s fastest growing economy. Zha’s vivid cast of characters includes an unlikely couple who teamed up to become the country’s leading real-estate moguls; a gifted chameleon who transformed himself from Mao’s favorite “barefoot doctor” during the Cultural Revolution to a publishing maverick; and a tycoon of home-electronic chain stores who insisted on avenging his mother, who had been executed as “a counter-revolutionary criminal.” Alongside these entrepreneurs, Zha also brings us the intellectuals: a cantankerous professor at China’s top university; a former cultural minister turned prolific writer; and Zha’s own brother, a dissident who served a nine-year prison term for helping to found the China Democracy Party. Deeply engaging, lucid, and poignant, Zha’s insightful “insider-outsider” portraits offer a picture of a China that few Western readers have seen before. —The New Press{chop}

Writers in a Cold Wind

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Early in 1979 the Chinese officials in charge of culture declared that the Maoist ban on nineteen traditional classics and sixteen foreign works, including Anna Karenina, was lifted. On the day the books became available at a Beijing bookshop, a...

The Chinese Intellectuals and the Revolt

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
The Beijing revolt of 1989 has caught the world’s attention, but the malaise that led to the emergency is broader and deeper than any of its conspicuous slogans can suggest. For foreigners like myself who live in Beijing, it was already clear nine...