China's Twentieth Century

China's Twentieth Century:Revolution, Retreat and the Road to Equality

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What must China do to become truly democratic and equitable? This question animates most progressive debates about this potential superpower, and inChina’s Twentieth Century the country’s leading critic, Wang Hui, turns to the past for an answer. Beginning with the birth of modern politics in the 1911 revolution, Wang tracks the initial flourishing of political life, its blossoming in the radical sixties, and its decline in China’s more recent liberalization, to arrive at the crossroads of the present day. Examining the emergence of new class divisions between ethnic groups in the context of Tibet and Xinjiang, alongside the resurgence of neoliberalism through the lens of the Chongqing Incident, Wang Hui argues for a revival of social democracy as the only just path for China’s future.


  • One of China’s leading historians and most interesting and influential public intellectuals.

    Jeffrey WasserstromLos Angeles Times
  • A central figure among a group of writers and academics known collectively as the New Left.

    New York Times Magazine
  • Mobilizing lessons from a non-Western context to unpack the contested meanings of socialism and democracy ... Wang reminds us that China's socialist legacy, much like its long-standing participation in anti-imperialist struggles in the Global South, is not to be forgotten. Instead, it should be rigorously analyzed and critically re-appropriated as a means to reshape the contours of global justice.

    Fan YangSocialism and Democracy