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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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... one referred to as ‘spiritual pollution’ and the other as ‘bourgeois liberalisation’. Zhu Wen is from a third generation. He was born in 1967, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, and raised during that period of frenzied trashing of China’s traditional values, before moving on to college and a degree in electrical engineering in ...

Keep squeezing

Sam Sacks: Ma Jian, 26 September 2013

The Dark Road 
by Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew.
Chatto, 360 pp., £16.99, April 2013, 978 0 7011 8753 8
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... to be veiled behind caricature, it’s the sort of book that China often allows to be published. (Zhu Wen’s I Love Dollars, just as smutty and caustic a satire, was a runaway hit on the mainland in the 1990s.) Ma in fact submitted The Noodle Maker for publication in China, using a pseudonym. The censors edited it and it was accepted for publication but ...

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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... political climate of the time, the sent-down students often got hold of these. The philosopher Zhu Xueqin says this was like ‘spreading tinder over dry scrub’. Zhu’s group of students in rural Henan, he recalls here, practised a communal lifestyle, ‘sharing everything among ourselves, reading while ...

Getting Rich

Pankaj Mishra: In Shanghai, 30 November 2006

... balconies and a view of oil-blackened dust lanes and exposed drains. I was on my way to meet Zhu Xueqin, the best-known of the Chinese intellectuals who describe themselves as ‘liberal’. In 1998, Zhu, often openly critical of the Communist regime, wrote the introduction to a book called Pitfalls of Modernisation, a ...

A Singular Entity

Peter C. Perdue: Classical China, 20 May 2021

What Is China?: Territory, Ethnicity, Culture and History 
by Ge Zhaoguang, translated by Michael Gibbs Hill.
Harvard, 224 pp., £31.95, March 2019, 978 0 674 73714 3
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... saw the start of a long neo-Confucian revival, culminating in the work of the great synthesiser Zhu Xi (1130-1200), the Aquinas of middle period China. No figure in Ge’s account, except Confucius, receives more attention. Zhu gave Confucian thought a new, metaphysical cast; redirecting the attention of Confucian ...


Perry Anderson, 28 January 2010

When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World 
by Martin Jacques.
Allen Lane, 550 pp., £30, June 2009, 978 0 7139 9254 0
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Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State 
by Yasheng Huang.
Cambridge, 348 pp., £15.99, November 2008, 978 0 521 89810 2
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Against the Law: Labour Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt 
by Ching Kwan Lee.
California, 325 pp., £15.95, June 2007, 978 0 520 25097 0
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... doubled in size. Cautiously, Huang expresses some optimism about the direction of the current Hu-Wen government, as a correction of the worst excesses of the Jiang-Zhu regime of the 1990s, while remarking that its reforms may prove too late to redress the ruin of peasant enterprise, in villages now often emptied by labour ...

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