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‘Comrade Jiang Zemin does indeed seem a proper choice’

Jasper Becker: Tiananmen Square, 24 May 2001

The Tiananmen Papers 
by Zhang Liang, edited by Andrew Nathan and Perry Link.
Little, Brown, 513 pp., £20, January 2001, 0 316 85693 2
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... other organisations not under state control. This civil society was unique in Chinese history and Mao Zedong and the intellectuals who joined the Communist Party resolutely crushed every trace of its existence. Mao effectively returned China to the ...

Like Father, Unlike Son

Jonathan Spence: Zhu Wen’s China, 6 September 2007

‘I Love Dollars’ and Other Stories of China 
by Zhu Wen, translated by Julia Lovell.
Columbia, 228 pp., £16, September 2006, 0 231 13694 3
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... creative legacy, and China is no exception. For some years, especially from the late 1940s until Mao’s death in 1976, the question was sidestepped as the Party imposed its own vision of Soviet-inspired socialist realism. But for the generation of Chinese born during the 1940s, who reached adulthood in the mid-1960s ...

Tiananmen Revisited

Philippa Tristram, 19 November 1992

... visit of major importance, extended their stay for more than seven weeks and erected a statue of Mao before Buckingham Palace. Would Mrs Thatcher have parleyed with the students, and been televised in the Palace of Westminster four weeks in, while the President of the NUS, in his dressing-gown, rebuked her with a wagging ...

Our Man in Beijing

Edwin Moise, 20 November 1986

Breakfast with MaoMemoirs of a Foreign Correspondent 
by Alan Winnington.
Lawrence and Wishart, 255 pp., £12.50, March 1986, 0 85315 652 2
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Behind the Forbidden Door: Travels in China 
by Tiziano Terzani.
Allen and Unwin, 270 pp., £11.95, March 1986, 0 04 951025 8
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... remote areas like Tibet. He was a far more informed and perceptive observer than he had been with Mao’s army in 1948 and 1949. At first he liked what he saw, despite a lack of affection for the ideologically rigid and often oppressive cadres of the Chinese Communist Party. Later, he was increasingly outraged by China’s ...

Counter-Counter-Revolution

David Runciman: 1979, 26 September 2013

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century 
by Christian Caryl.
Basic, 407 pp., £19.99, June 2013, 978 0 465 01838 3
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... five overlapping stories, four about individuals and one about a country. The people are Thatcher, Deng Xiaoping, Ayatollah Khomeini and Pope John Paul II. The place is Afghanistan. The year 1979 mattered to all of them. It was the year Thatcher won her first general election. The year Deng embarked on the economic reforms ...

So Fresh and Bloody

Caroline Fraser: Qiu Xiaolong, 18 December 2008

Red Mandarin Dress 
by Qiu Xiaolong.
Sceptre, 310 pp., £7.99, July 2008, 978 0 340 93518 7
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... again to the woman’s tiny dormitory room in a former brothel, where he stares at a portrait of Deng Xiaoping on the wall and at the Selected Works of Mao Zedong on a shelf, unable to reconcile the national model-worker’s dutiful life with the sexy underwear in her cupboard and the ...

Spreading Tinder over Dry Scrub

John Gittings: ‘One China, Many Paths’, 8 July 2004

One China, Many Paths 
edited by Wang Chaohua.
Verso, 368 pp., £20, November 2003, 1 85984 537 1
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... we still asked questions about the future of Chinese socialism. Then, after the trauma of 1989, Deng Xiaoping got China moving again by declaring that isms no longer mattered, only economic reform. As China embraced the global economy and adopted the values of an emerging pan-Asian consumerist society, we stopped asking where it was heading, because the ...

The Headline Prince

Qi Gua: Xi Jinping Thought, 16 November 2017

... though the objective is to penetrate the two companies and oversee every key decision they make. Mao called this steady infiltration ‘mixing the sand into the hardened soil’.In the new iteration of the anti-corruption drive, foreign companies won’t be left alone. According to our party’s entrenched grassroots ...

Last Exit

Murray Sayle, 27 November 1997

The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £22.50, July 1997, 0 316 64018 2
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In Pursuit of British Interests: Reflections on Foreign Policy under Margaret Thatcher and John Major 
by Percy Cradock.
Murray, 228 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 7195 5464 0
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Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule: The Economic and Political Implications of Reversion 
edited by Warren Cohen and Li Zhao.
Cambridge, 255 pp., £45, August 1997, 0 521 62158 5
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The Hong Kong Advantage 
by Michael Enright, Edith Scott and David Dodwell.
Oxford, 369 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 19 590322 6
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... red flag was hoisted on Tiananmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Beijing, and Chairman Mao exulted: ‘China has stood up!’ Now, for the first time in 156 years, no alien flag, no foreign soldier, no uninvited official defiles any part of the Chinese motherland, with the exception of nearby Macao, but that tiny ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Decoding Hu Jintao, 15 November 2007

... anywhere in the world this year. The trouble is that these speeches are in code. Also, since Mao, China’s leaders have tended to adopt a technocratic, deliberately anti-charismatic public manner. Hu takes that about as far as it can go; he makes Jiang Zemin look like Iggy Pop. To decode the speech, therefore, one ...

Chinese Leaps

Jon Elster, 25 April 1991

The Search for Modern China 
by Jonathan Spence.
Hutchinson, 876 pp., £19.95, May 1990, 0 09 174472 5
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Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1880s to the 1980s 
by Jack Gray.
Oxford, 456 pp., £35, April 1990, 0 19 913076 0
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... Similar conflicts persist today: Jonathan Spence tells us how in 1975 radicals attacked Deng Xiaoping’s modernising policies by criticising the ti-yong policies of a late Qing governor-general. Yet the dilemmas are now more complex, since three rather than two sets of values are involved. Can China modernise while remaining simultaneously Chinese ...

Even Hotter, Even Louder

Tony Wood: Shining Path, 4 July 2019

The Shining Path: Love, Madness and Revolution in the Andes 
by Orin Starn and Miguel La Serna.
Norton, 404 pp., £19.99, May 2019, 978 0 393 29280 0
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... up from lampposts in the city centre, some bearing pieces of cloth scrawled with the words: ‘Deng Xiaoping, Son of a Bitch.’ It was the work of the Partido Comunista del Perú-Sendero Luminoso. Sendero (or Shining Path, as it’s referred to in English) was an ultra-orthodox Maoist group which had a few months earlier launched an armed insurrection ...

Bitter End

Alasdair St John, 27 October 1988

Hong Kong 
by Jan Morris.
Viking, 304 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 670 80792 3
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... alongside Communism, according to the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ devised by Deng Xiaoping, China’s supreme leader and the true architect of the Agreement. Hong Kong people would rule Hong Kong, and to emphasise this the Agreement promised an elected legislature after 1997, something the British had never seen fit to introduce in over a ...

In Shanghai

Jeremy Harding: Portrait of the Times, 9 October 2013

... safest option therefore is to position oneself at the far end of this story, roughly a year after Deng became paramount leader in 1978 and opened the way for a revolution in the arts, quite likely the last thing on his mind. First to the revisionists, survivors of the Cultural Revolution known as Scar artists, who used socialist realism to assess the extent ...

Pulping Herbert Read in a Washing-Machine

Nicholas Jose: Chinese art, 10 June 1999

Inside Out: New Chinese Art 
edited by Gao Minglu.
California, 223 pp., £35, November 1998, 0 520 21747 0
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Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the 20th Century 
by Wu Hung.
Chicago, 216 pp., £31.95, September 1999, 0 935573 27 5
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A Century in Crisis: Modernity and Tradition in the Art of 20th-Century China 
by Julia Andrews and Kuiyi Shen.
Abrams, 336 pp., $85, September 1998, 0 8109 6909 2
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... the giant plaster and styrofoam ‘Goddess of Democracy’ that faced off the portrait of Chairman Mao over the Gate of Heavenly Peace and became an instant icon. The foreign press sometimes described it as a Chinese Statue of Liberty, a misrepresentation that was turned back on the students in official propaganda. The ...

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