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One China, Many Paths

Chinese thinkers debate the future of their society and its place in the world.
The world’s largest country is now a constant topic of fascination or fear in the West, producing an ever increasing literature of scholarship, reportage and tourism. In this volume, the differing voices and views of leading Chinese thinkers can for the first time be heard in English translation, debating the future of their society and its place in the world. One China, Many Paths offers a vibrant panorama of the contemporary intellectual scene in the People’s Republic. Its contributors include economists and historians, philosophers and sociologists, writers and literary critics, across the generations.

Among the topics debated in these pages are the future of China’s growth model; the deepening crisis on the land; the country’s emerging class structure, and the fate of its workers; its commercial and high culture, and the interactions between them; the role of social movements and the aftermath of the late eighties; the prospects of a democratic constitution and the direction of China’s foreign policy. This collection gives a unique window onto the variety and vigor of opinions about public affairs expressed in China today.

Contributions by He Qinglian, Wang Hui, Chen Pingyuan, Qin Hui, Hu Angang, Gan Yang, Wang Xiaoming, Gian Liqun, and others.

Reviews

  • “Reading this book is a must for students and scholars interested in the evolution of Chinese intellectual life at the end of the twentieth century.”
  • The indispensable survey of China's recent social, political and cultural thought. The coverage is breath-taking.”
  • “A basic document for understanding contemporary China.”
  • “There is a Chinese intellectual realm just as astonishing as the Chinese economy. The authors engage in lively debate among themselves and are in complete command of Western thought and philosophy. They show that whatever the troubles of their nation, individual Chinese can take up the most sophisticated features of modern culture.”
  • “The only work of its kind available in English. A welcome reminder of the growing diversity of Chinese intellectual thought.”
  • “Wang's collection stands out for its focus on issues of democracy and social justice.”

Blog

  • From Illusion to Empire: Chuang on The Creation of the Chinese Economy

    Chuang is a collective of communists who consider the “China question” to be of central relevance to the contradictions of the world’s economic system and the potentials for its overcoming. Our goal is to formulate a body of clear-headed theory capable of understanding contemporary China and its potential trajectories. In this first issue, we outline our basic conceptual framework and illustrate the current state of class conflict in China. We also include translated reports and interviews with the proletarians engaged in these struggles, pairing our theory with primary sources drawn from class dynamics that might otherwise remain abstract.

    The selection below comes from our centerpiece article on the socialist era, “Sorghum and Steel: The Socialist Developmental Regime and the Forging of China,” the first in a three part economic history of China. The full first issue including this article will be released in print and online in a few months. To read more, including a sample article from the issue, visit our website.

    Chuang Issue 1 is now available to purchase from AK distro, here.

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  • In the Shadows of Olympians: Unorganized Workers in Beijing

    As China's economy stagnates and the New York Times and Strike Map report burgeoning labour movements, the lives of Chinese workers draw greater scrutiny. This extract from Scattered Sand by Hsiao-Hung Pai examines these lives; the 'scattered sand' of Pai's book refers to the migration of 200 million workers from rural provinces to urban centres that have been integral to China's economy. The extract evidences the precarity of these workers, who live without residency status and at the mercy of their employers, to quote Pai the picture painted 'picture bears little resemblance to that of the footloose globe-trotter moving around the world in a cocoon of global Chinese capitalism and culture'.



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  • Why are Tibetans setting themselves on Fire?

    An extract from Tibetan activist Tsering Woeser's Tibet on Fire: Self-Immolations Against Chinese Rule, translated by Kevin Carrico. This extract was originally published in the New York Review of Books. 

    February 27, 2009, was the third day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. It was also the day that self-immolation came to Tibet. The authorities had just cancelled a Great Prayer Festival (Monlam) that was supposed to commemorate the victims of the government crackdown in 2008. A monk by the name of Tapey stepped out of the Kirti Monastery and set his body alight on the streets of Ngawa, in the region known in Tibetan as Amdo, a place of great religious reverence and relevance, now designated as part of China’s Sichuan Province.

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