Viewpoint

10.19.17

Could Xi Jinping Stay in Power After He Retires? Here’s How Deng Xiaoping Did It

Julian B. Gewirtz
It was the worst kept secret in Chinese politics. From 1978 until his death in 1997, Deng Xiaoping was Beijing’s ultimate decider, even though he never held any of the top official titles in this period: not general secretary of the Chinese...

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}

Conversation

08.18.16

What Would China Look Like Today Had Zhao Ziyang Survived?

Julian B. Gewirtz, David Shambaugh & more
Almost 500 previously unpublished documents about Zhao Ziyang, the bold reformer who served as China’s premier (1980-1987) and Communist Party general secretary (1987-1989), were smuggled out of China and published in late July by the Chinese...

Viewpoint

08.18.16

Zhao Ziyang’s Legacy

David Shambaugh
It is difficult to say with any certainty how China would have evolved had Zhao Ziyang not been overthrown in 1989. The ostensible cause of his purge was his refusal to endorse martial law and authorize the use of force to suppress the Tiananmen...

Viewpoint

04.10.15

Bury Zhao Ziyang, and Praise Him

Julian B. Gewirtz
Zhao Ziyang, the premier and general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 1980s, died on January 17, 2005. At a tightly controlled ceremony designed to avoid the kind of instability that the deaths of other controversial...

Tales of Army Discord Show Tiananmen Square in a New Light

Andrew Jacobs and Chris Buckley
New York Times
In a stunning rebuke to his superiors, Major General Xu Qinxian said the Tiananmen protests were a political problem and should be settled through negotiations, not force.

25 Years Ago: Zhao Ziyang Appears to Win Backing

China Digital Times
To commemorate the student movement, CDT is posting a series of original news articles from 1989, beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15 and continuing through the tumultuous spring.

Books

02.12.13

Zhao Ziyang and China’s Political Future

Guoguang Wu, Helen Lansdowne (Editors)
What legacies have previous reformers like Zhao Ziyang left to today’s China? Does China have feasible political alternatives to today’s repressive ‘market Leninism’ and corrupt ‘state capitalism’? Does Zhao’s legacy indicate an alternative to the past and for the future?For those who are familiar with the development of Chinese politics since the reform years, Zhao is now widely regarded as a major architect of the nation’s profound transition. His contributions to China’s post-Mao development are rich and multi faceted, including those on rural and urban economic reforms extending to accountable governance, liberal policies concerning domestic affairs and China’s foreign relations.Featuring contributions from leading experts in the field such as Richard Baum and Xiaonong Cheng, this book explores the historical development of China’s political reform issues, and how his political legacies are relevant to China’s political development since the 1980s to the future. Using recently translated recollection articles by veteran reformers who worked with Zhao in the 1980s, like Du Runsheng, An Zhiwen, Li Rui, Bao Tong, Zhao Ziyang and China's Political Future is a valuable contribution for students and researchers interested in the Chinese politics, Asian politics and political development in Asia.—Routledge

China’s Dictators at Work: The Secret Story

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Prisoner of the State is the secretly recorded memoir of Zhao Ziyang, once holder of China’s two highest Party and state positions and the architect of the economic reforms that have brought the country to the edge of great-power status. The book...

He Would Have Changed China

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
In trying to make sense of their country’s turbulent modern history, Chinese intellectuals sometimes resort to counterfactual speculation. How might things have been different if one or another accidental event had happened differently? For decades...