I am pleased to host the work of two guest translators this fortnight. Matthew Dean has translated an important 2006 interview with Gan Yang on “The Modernity Critique of the 1980s and the Transformation of the 1990s,” in which Gan offers his reflections on how he and China’s thought world have evolved over time.
In addition, Freya Ge has translated a round table discussion of “China’s Generation Z? What are houlang and houlang Culture?” which addresses youth issues in contemporary China. Freya is an exceptional high school student in Shanghai who wrote me a few weeks ago wanting to contribute her translations to the site, and we are very pleased with the results of our inaugural effort.
Finally, I translated an interview with the well-known liberal Liu Qing in a Chinese equivalent of People magazine, which I found interesting both in terms of form and content.
New on the site this fortnight, Qin Hui, “Globalization after the Pandemic: Thoughts on the Coronavirus,” a long and fascinating text by one of China’s most famous liberals which, to my knowledge, has not yet been published in Chinese. Qin sent me the text in mid-October, asking me to translate it. The essay pursues Qin’s decades-long reflections on the relationship between human rights and globalization in ways that readers are likely to find sobering, if not disturbing.
Given the importance of Qin’s text, I decided to translate it (my English translation) into Spanish and French as well, an idea I have been toying with for some time. DeepL, a translation program, does a remarkable job when translating between related European languages, and colleagues who are native-speakers of the languages helped me to prepare the final version. Cristina Reigadas of the University of Buenos Aires—who has recently launched her own China Dream blog—handled the Spanish, and Laurence Monnais, my colleague at the Université de Montréal did the French.
If followers of Reading the China Dream are interested in participating in such translation efforts, send me an email and we’ll explore possibilities.
New this fortnight: Zhang Qianfan, the controversial and outspoken law professor at Beijing University, on “Left and Right in China and the West: A Trans-Oceanic Misunderstanding,” a frank discussion of what liberal Chinese Trump fans are doing to Chinese liberalism; and Yan Xuetong's, “Why and How to Prevent the Intensification of Ideological Disputes between China and the US,” a call by a major scholar of international relations for China to abandon Wolf Warrior diplomacy and return to the modest foreign policy that has served China well for forty years.
New on the site this fortnight, Li Tuo, “The Riddle of the Twenty-First Century: Interview on the Coronavirus Crisis and Contemporary Capitalism”.
New the site this fortnight, an important recent essay by Jiang Shigong, "The 'Critical Decade' in the Sino-American Relationship: the 'New Roman Empire' and the 'New Great Struggle.'" Jiang is a Professor of Law at Peking University, a New Left Intellectual, and an important spokesman for the Xi Jinping regime. This essay attempts to do the same thing for Sino-American relations as his 2018 essay on "Philosophy and History" did for Xi Jinping Thought.
Two new translations on the site this fortnight. First, Chinese intellectuals discuss the Black Lives Matter movement in the US in the wake of the death of George Floyd (Xu Jilin, et. al., "Reflecting on 'Black Lives Matter'"); and second, Lin Yao's rejoinder to Xu and co. (Lin Yao, "I Beg to Differ"), a brilliant analysis of what political correctness really means, in the US and elsewhere.
Next time, back to perennial favorites, Cold War and/or covid.
New on the site this fortnight: Qin Hui, "'Jing Ke Stabs Confucius' and 'Zilu Sings the Praises of Qinshihuang.'" Drawing on arguments advanced in his Leaving the Imperial System Behind, banned in 2015, Qin offers ascerbic commentary on conservative attempts to rewrite modern Chinese history, as well as on China's contemporary intellectual scene in the summer of 2020.
New this fortnight: Deng Yuwen, “Chinese Statism, the Transitional Nature of Xi Jinping’s Regime, and America’s Response,” Chinese text published on July 15, 2020 on a new European site, “China: History and Future 中国：历史与未来,” created by and for Chinese intellectuals living and working outside of China, hoping nonetheless to contribute to China's future development by providing critical commentary. Deng, a member of the Chinese Guomindang who also served as the editor of the CCP Central Party School journal Study Times before being fired in 2013 (and who now is a Visiting Scholar at Nottingham University in England), offers a spirited essay discussing Sino-American relations and Xi Jinping as a "transitional" figure.
Just one text this time around. It's summer.
New this fortnight: Chinese intellectuals who support Trump. I had encountered such people in passing before, and dismissed them as strategic thinkers of the “the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” variety, in other words, Liberals who hoped Trump would be a thorn in Xi Jinping’s side. But having read Lin Yao’s fascinating piece on “Beaconism and the Trumpian Metamorphosis of Chinese Liberal Intellectuals,” and having discussed the issue with the Wall Street Journal’s Sha Hua, who is writing her own piece on the question, I decided to take a closer look. The three texts translated from Liberal authors offer variations on a theme: the sociologist Sun Liping praises Trump for attacking political correctness, comparing this attack to the “liberate thought” movement in China in the early 1980s, and suggesting that both represent a return to “normal;” legal scholar Wang Jianxun praises Trump for restoring the “American spirit,” which he defines as “Ayn Rand plus the Bible;” the well-known constitutional scholar Gao Quanxi (together with his colleague Tian Feilong) sees both Trump’s election and Brexit in England as the return of a sensible “Burkean” conservatism, successfully challenging a “borderless” expansion of rights discourse. The fourth text, by the well-known New Left political scientist Cui Zhiyuan reveals a surprising fascination with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. No author mentions Trump’s anti-China rhetoric, and all treat Trump’s rhetoric with what to me was a suprising seriousness.
New on the site this fortnight, three translations of recent essays discussing China’s views of America, both in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, and the anti-racism protests provoked by the death of George Floyd.
Xu Jinlin, "Looking at American Political Correctness and Identity Politics through the Lens of the Anti-Racist Movement"
Yuan Peng, "Political Gamesmanship and American Chaos"
Yuan Peng, "The Coronavirus Pandemic and a Hundred-Year Change"
I am also delighted to make available an essay by my Sino-French friend and scholar Ji Zhe, “The ‘China Virus’ and its Mutation”
Enjoy! Next time, Chinese Trump supporters.
About this site
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 Chinese texts that we consider important, together with discussions of related issues and a number of reference tools that can help those interested to navigate the project.
This materials on this website are open-access and are published under a Creative Commons 3.0 Unported licence. We encourage the widespread circulation of these materials. All content may be used and copied, provided that you credit the Reading and Writing the China Dream Project and provide a link to readingthechinadream.com.