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Evening Chats in Beijing : Probing China's Predicament - E. Perry Link

Evening Chats in Beijing

Probing China's Predicament

Paperback Published: 17th September 1993
ISBN: 9780393310658
Number Of Pages: 336

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Chinese intellectuals have a traditional duty, for which there is no equivalent in the West: to worry, to "take responsibility for all under heaven," to argue the question "What can we do with China?" In this "utterly absorbing gem of a book" (Library Journal), Perry Link conveys the worries besetting China's most prominent writers, journalists, scientists, professors, and dissident officials. Link creates "an invaluable opening onto China's best and brightest hearts and minds" (Kirkus Reviews), allowing the Chinese themselves to tell us why Beijing took to the streets in Spring 1989.

Industry Reviews

Beautifully conceived and reported collection of musings by Chinese intellectuals, expertly stitched together by Link (Chinese Literature/Princeton). These conversations catch Chinese academics, scientists, writers, and dissidents at their most candid and despairing about the ebb and tide of democracy and authoritarianism in mid- and late-80's China. Two themes emerge clearly: that modern China's intellectuals, adamantly upholding their traditional role as the national conscience, are suffering deeply under Deng; and that a fierce pride prevents them from giving up their positions as dissidents. Link knows of this dilemma firsthand, having accompanied dissident physicist Fang Lizhi the night that he was turned away from Chinese leaders' farewell banquet for George Bush in 1989. Here, the dissidents' discussions portray China's social world as rife with political corruption, graft, nepotism, and guandao, or official profiteering; young intellectuals point to the students' rallying slogan at Tiananmen Square - "Sell the Benzes to pay the national debt" - as evidence of how far Party morality has sunk. The work-unit system, China's vast bureaucratic web headed by Party officials at every level, is described as a suffocating political octopus that fosters favoritism over efficiency. University professors lament underfunding for education and their own horrific living conditions, while historians wonder whatever became of China's long-ago commitment to "liberty, equality, fraternity." Perhaps most unsettling is the portrait of China's disaffected youth, a political lost generation apparently subsumed by cynicism and ennui resulting from the failure of the student movement on what Chinese now call "Six Four" - June 4th, 1989. For his part, Link is both compassionate toward and critical of China's intellectual elite, concluding that more than brain power is needed to "alleviate China's pain or restore its morale." An invaluable opening onto China's best and brightest hearts and minds. (Kirkus Reviews)

Introductionp. 3
Social Worldp. 51
Corruptionp. 52
The Work-Unit Systemp. 61
Money First, Education Lastp. 70
Repressionp. 79
Livelihoodp. 90
Daily Lifep. 91
Financial Squeezep. 94
Housing Pinchp. 97
Moralep. 107
Public Incivilityp. 112
No Way Outp. 118
Historyp. 123
May Fourthp. 128
"Peasant Consciousness"p. 135
The Campaigns of the 1950sp. 139
The Revelations of Dai Qingp. 144
The Cultural Revolutionp. 149
The Reforms of the 1980sp. 155
The Course of Twentieth-Century Chinese Historyp. 159
Historical Parallelsp. 163
The Problem of Pessimismp. 167
Identity: Language and Ideologyp. 173
Living with the Official Languagep. 175
The Search for an Ideologyp. 191
Patriotismp. 201
Identity Within Groupsp. 213
Identity with the Statep. 214
Identity with Other Groupsp. 229
Individualismp. 235
Four Generationsp. 237
The Returned Studentp. 244
Responsibilityp. 249
The Worrying Mentalityp. 249
The Responsibility of Expression: Two Trapsp. 255
The Problem of "Knowledge for Use"p. 266
New Definitions of Responsibilityp. 273
Advancing Democracyp. 278
The Debate over New Authoritarianismp. 283
Afterwordp. 291
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780393310658
ISBN-10: 0393310655
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 17th September 1993
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.64 x 14.0  x 2.11
Weight (kg): 0.42