Dick Wilson

Dick Wilson has written several books on China, the last being Chou: The Story of Zhou Enlai, 1898-1976. He is starting work on a book on Hong Kong and its future.

One of the things that used to surprise Westerners about China was the willingness of individuals to suffer the inhumane treatment meted out by their superiors. For years on end they would patiently submit to frightful indignities, so that one despaired of their ever rebelling. But when it did all boil over, the deferential bowers and scrapers would whip themselves into a frenzy of extreme violence.


Dick Wilson, 27 October 1988

The idea of China is elusive. Not only was its civilisation different from those that shaped the West, but it flowed earlier and more continuously – and mutual contact was tenuous. The picture of China that we carry in our heads is a misleading collage. It builds first on the exaggerated respect paid to Chinese institutions by the French Enlightenment in the 18th century, and is then overlaid by the risible images of China’s feeble response to Western imperialism in the 19th century, and now in the 20th century by the figure of that extraordinary half-god, half-demon, Mao Zedong. Since much of Chinese life today bears no obvious relation to these images, we find it difficult to view it for what it is, instinctively reaching back instead to the things we think we know. As Paul Theroux remarks in Riding the Iron Rooster, ‘China exists so distinctly in people’s minds that it is hard to shake the fantasy loose and see the real China.’’

China’s Crisis

Mark Elvin, 5 November 1992

In less than a hundred years, the Chinese have lost two systems of belief. During the first quarter of the present century they rejected Confucianism or, more precisely, scriptural Confucianism...

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