Voices from the Chinese Century

Public Intellectual Debate from Contemporary China

Edited by Timothy Cheek, David Ownby, and Joshua A. Fogel

Columbia University Press

Voices from the Chinese Century

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231195232

400 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231195225

400 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.00

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231551250

400 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Voices from the Chinese Century

Public Intellectual Debate from Contemporary China

Edited by Timothy Cheek, David Ownby, and Joshua A. Fogel

Columbia University Press

China’s increasing prominence on the global stage has caused consternation and controversy among Western thinkers, especially since the financial crisis of 2008. But what do Chinese intellectuals themselves have to say about their country’s newfound influence and power? Voices from the Chinese Century brings together a selection of essays from representative leading thinkers that open a window into public debate in China today on fundamental questions of China and the world—past, present, and future.

The voices in this volume include figures from each of China’s main intellectual clusters: liberals, the New Left, and New Confucians. In genres from scholarly analyses to social media posts, often using Party-approved language that hides indirect criticism, these essayists offer a wide range of perspectives on how to understand China’s history and its place in the twenty-first-century world. They explore questions such as the relationship of political and economic reforms; the distinctiveness of China’s history and what to take from its traditions; what can or should be learned from the West; and how China fits into today’s eruption of populist anger and challenges to the global order. The fifteen original translations in this volume not only offer insight into contemporary China but also prompt us to ask what Chinese intellectuals might have to teach Europe and North America about the world’s most pressing problems.
A joint effort by scholars with stellar track records, this collection is a valuable and timely contribution to the literature on Chinese thought and politics. It allows readers outside the country a unique chance to eavesdrop on and appreciate the stakes in the spirited debates that continue among Chinese intellectuals. Jeffrey Wasserstrom, coauthor of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know
Voices from the Chinese Century is an immensely important and incredibly timely book, broadly relevant beyond the field of China studies. The translations are exemplary; these translators have pulled it off beautifully. Aminda Smith, Michigan State University
This splendid anthology features intellectual voices of different ideological camps in contemporary China. The masterfully selected and translated texts represent both academic writings and popular internet genres. Extremely timely and important for understanding China’s changing social and political trends. A treasure trove for teaching and research. Guobin Yang, University of Pennsylvania
Few countries will do more to shape the twenty-first century than China. But who will shape China? This is a necessary book introducing us to key ideas for the future of Chinese politics and society. Many of the voices translated in this volume not only affect the debates going on in China today but will influence what issues the Chinese consider important tomorrow. Peter Zarrow, University of Connecticut
Introduction: Thinking China in the Age of Xi Jinping
Part I: The Challenge
1. “Unifying the Three Traditions” in the New Era (selection) (2005), by Gan Yang
Part II: Liberal Voices
2. Liberalism in the Chinese Context (2004), by Liu Qing
3. A China Bereft of Thought (2013), by Rong Jian
4. Original Intentions Start with the People (2017), by Guo Yuhua
5. “The Shadow of Communist Civilization”: A Gongshi Wang (Consensus Net) Interview (2013), by Guo Yuhua
6. Advancing Constitutional Democracy Should Be the Mission of the Chinese Communist Party (2013), by Cai Xia
7. “I Am a Child of the Nineteenth Century”: The Last Twenty Years of Wang Yuanhua’s Life (2008), by Xu Jilin
Part III: Left Voices
8. Mao Zedong and His Era (2012), by Qian Liqun
9. From Authoritarian Government to Constitutional Democracy (2012), by Xiao Gongqin
10. Liberalism: For the Aristocrats or for the People? (1999), by Gan Yang
11. Representative Democracy and Representational Democracy (2014), by Wang Shaoguang
12. The Significance of Borders (2017), by Sun Ge
Part IV: New Confucian Voices
13. Kang Youwei and Institutional Confucianism (2014), by Chen Ming, Gan Yang, Tang Wenming, Yao Zhongqiu, and Zhang Xiang
14. A Century of Confucianism (2014), by Chen Lai
15. Only Confucians Can Make a Place for Modern Women (2015), by Jiang Qing
Glossary of Names and Terms
List of Essays Translated in This Volume, with Original Titles
Contributors
Index

About the Author

Timothy Cheek is Louis Cha Chair in Chinese Research at the University of British Columbia. His most recent book is The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History (2015).

David Ownby is professor of Chinese history at the University of Montréal. He is the editor and translator of Xu Jilin’s Rethinking China’s Rise: A Liberal Critique (2018), among other works.

Joshua A. Fogel is Canada Research Chair in Modern Chinese Studies at York University. His many books include Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations (2014).