Back from China after an extremely interesting three weeks in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. International flights to China have definitely not returned to normal, and I had 30+ hour trips both going and coming back, but once I got to China, everything was smooth sailing. I had no problems with access, saw lots of old acquaintances and made many new friends.
Nonetheless, I confess that I found China quite bleak. One reason was the general atmosphere as reported in Western media—the uncertain economy, the dismal political scene. More surprising to me was that much of China has still not gotten over the abrupt conclusion to the zero-covid policy in mid-December 2022. For many Chinese young people, particularly, this episode has led to an ongoing existential crisis, as their patriotic faith in China’s government as responsible and competent has been shaken to its core. My experiences are too complicated to explain here, but the introductions to the texts translated for this update – both of which deal with youth issues – provide more details: Fu Yu and Gui Yong, “The Five Intriguing Paradoxes of Contemporary Chinese Young People,” and Youthology, “A Diary of Four Years of Psychological Treatment: From Seeking Help to Helping Others.”
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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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