New this time:
Shi Zhan’s new preface to the re-edition of his 2018 work The Hub: Three Thousand Years of China, which has sold some 420,000 copies in China and had an important impact.
An interview with Wu Fei, a Peking University professor of philosophy, on the subject of suicide in contemporary Chinese society.
I am leaving for China later today (!) for my first visit since 2018. I will be in Beijing for the week of May 7, in Shanghai for the week of May 14, and in Hong Kong (and Guangzhou) before and after. It is shaping up to be a busy trip, so I doubt that I will update the site while I’m gone, but I will keep a diary…
Since everyone is talking about ChatGPT, I thought I would add my own two cents. Over the course of the past few weeks, I finished up a book manuscript in French based on my talks at the Collège de France in June 2022. I have taught in French for more than 30 years now, so I am quite fluent, but I did not go to school in French or write an M.A. thesis or a doctoral dissertation. As a result, my written French can be idiosyncratic, and I don’t always know the difference between formal and informal writing, nor can I always distinguish Québécois French from the “standard” version.
Turns out that ChatGPT is just the thing. I fed my manuscript in, paragraph by paragraph, and it invariably found le mot juste and ironed out my idiosyncrasies, as well as my attempts at humor (my impression is that the French don’t want their books to be funny anyway). ChatGPT readily does the same thing with first drafts of translation, which are often garbled. Of course, ChatGPT seems to have no sense of style, so an entire book penned by ChatGPT would be rather dull. But who knows what’s coming down the AI road?
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 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.
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.