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Choice reviews Wang Hui's The End of the Revolution

Clara Heyworth12 January 2011

In a new review for Choice, Wang Hui's The End of the Revolution: China and the Limits of Modernity is described as "immensely valuable."

Intense debates continue in China on the meaning of the communist revolution of 1949 and its legacy. Some have called for an "end to revolution"—a rejection of the revolutionary tradition and a wholesale commitment to the modernization program that has gathered speed since the early 1980s. Wang (Chinese language and literature, Tsinghua Univ., PRC) is a public and prominent opponent to such views. A respected academic and a participant in the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, Wang argues for an acceptance of the democratic potential of the revolution while rejecting its authoritarian dimensions. He protests against the "depoliticization of politics" and the acceptance of a single-minded model of economic development as the overriding goal of contemporary China. This volume gathers together articles and interviews in which Wang expounds his views. They are a nice blend of academic analysis and commentary on contemporary Chinese political life, including reflections on 1989 and a series of studies of Chinese history and Chinese intellectuals, showing the tradition within which Wang situates himself. For Western readers, it is immensely valuable to have translations of some representative writings of a thinker not widely known outside China. Recommended. [K.Kumar, University of Virginia.]

The End of the Revolution will be published in paperback in August this year.

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