New on the site this time, four texts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:
Zheng Yongnian, “The War in Ukraine Blurs the Two Main Lines, But Many People Misunderstand China's Role.” Zheng’s text is close to some of what we read in official propaganda, suggesting that China might be able to take advantage of the conflict, but he still counsels extreme caution.
Sun Liping, “The Small Chess Board and the Big Picture: Russia in the Big Picture May Be Ukraine on the Small Chess Board.” Sun’s text was taken down by authorities (and reposted elsewhere), presumably for arguing that China should absolutely not get in bed with Russia, which is not only in the wrong morally, but which will soon be the object of a world-wide anti-Russia alliance. This alliance might well be turned against China, since Russia is a minor power in decline.
Finally, two texts by Qin Hui, “The West's ‘Double Standard’ and Putin's ‘Single Standard’—From the Crimean Crisis to Putin's February 21 Declaration,” and “Ukraine Series No. 2: Aggression and Appeasement—Crimea and the Sudetenland Compared.” In the Chinese intellectual context, Qin’s texts are unrepresentative, because his goal is to completely demolish any justification for the Russian invasion and to call the world’s attention to the similarities between Putin and Hitler.
New on the site this time:
Two texts inspired by the highly mediatized case of the “woman with eight children:” one, a brief blog post by the sociologist Sun Liping, attacking utilitarianism and reminding us of the importance of basic humanity; and another, longer text, by Zhang Yinghong, a specialist in rural issues in China, that delves into the broader problems with rural governance that made the case possible.
In addition, Mark Czeller, a Ph.D. candidate at Oxford, translates a fiery piece on land reform during the Chinese revolution by the historian Li Fangchun. Li calls out an older generation of Chinese scholars who, in his eyes, have sullied the heritage of China’s revolution by calling into question the competence of the Party and their over-reliance on Soviet models. As a companion text, Mark also translates part of a lecture by Qin Hui, a popular figure on this site, as representative of the viewpoint Li Fangchun wants to criticize.
For the next update, I will focus on how Chinese establishment intellectuals are responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I have no doubt that many Chinese intellectuals are as shocked as many of us are about this horrifying turn of events. It will interesting to see what they actually say—or what they are allowed to say. See you mid-March.
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This web site is devoted to the subject of intellectual life in contemporary China, and more particularly to the writings of establishment intellectuals. What you will find here are essentially translations of texts my collaborators and I consider important. Click here for tips on getting the most out of the site. Click here for the 15 most popular translations, and here for my personal favorites.
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