Xu Zhangrun’s Fears & Hopes, July 2018-July 2020

Viral Alarm   On 26 July 2018, Xu Zhangrun (許章潤, 1962-), a well-known professor of law at Tsinghua University published an essay titled ‘Imminent Fears, Immediate Hopes’ 我們當下的恐懼與期待. Written in a succinct and powerful form of literary Chinese, Xu’s jeremiad analysed the authoritarian revanchism of what the Chinese media were hailing as the New Epoch of Xi Jinping Thought.… Read

China’s Heart of Darkness (Part IV)

Translatio Imperii Sinici &
a Lesson in New Sinology   ‘The Beginning of the End’ is Part IV of ‘China’s Heart of Darkness’, Jianying Zha’s coruscating reflections on the legacy of the ancient thinker Han Fei and the Legalist school in Xi Jinping’s China.… Read

China’s Heart of Darkness (Part III)

Translatio Imperii Sinici &
a Lesson in New Sinology   ‘The Revenant Han Fei’ is Part III of ‘China’s Heart of Darkness’, Jianying Zha’s coruscating reflections on the legacy of the ancient thinker Han Fei and the Legalist school in Xi Jinping’s China.… Read

Responding to a Gesture of Support — Xu Zhangrun

Xu Zhangrun vs. Tsinghua University    On 19 July 2020, Xu Zhangrun, the professor of law cashiered by Tsinghua University, released an open letter addressed to independent-minded graduates of Tsinghua University and members of the Tsinghua community led by Yan Huai 閻淮 and Sun Nutao 孫怒濤 who had responded to a call for monetary donations to support the now-unemployed former professor.… Read

Xu Zhangrun & China’s Former People

Xu Zhangrun vs. Tsinghua University   Former People, Бывшие люди (Byvshiye lyudi), is the title of a novella by Maxim Gorky published in 1897. Known in English translation as Creatures That Once Were Men, Gorky’s story would inspire the Bolsheviks to employ the term ‘Former People’ when speaking about survivors of the defunct ancien regime.… Read

無可奈何 — So It Goes

Xu Zhangrun vs. Tsinghua University   The work of Professor Xu Zhangrun has featured in the virtual pages of China Heritage since August 2018. We were preparing to publish Professor Xu’s latest essay, one that he was writing to commemorate his famous Jeremiad —  ‘Imminent Fears, Immediate Hopes’ 我們當下的恐懼與期待 — but have been prevented from doing so as the author was detained by the authorities on the morning of Monday 6 July 2020.… Read

Thoughts on 1 July 2020

The Best China   On 1 July 2020, Liu Shuyong (劉樹勇, 1962-), a Beijing-based artist known by the nom de plume Lao Shu 老樹, published the following eloquent meditation. We offer it here as a chapter in two interrelated series produced by China Heritage: ‘The Best China’ and ‘Viral Alarm’.… Read

In Memoriam — Shrouds of Ice on a River Incarnadine

Viral Alarm *** *** In early February 2020, Professor Xu Zhangrun published an excoriating essay about China’s mishandling of the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan. Building on a series of searing analyses written from 2016, Xu’s essay ‘When Fury Overcomes Fear’ offered a further critique of the political crisis of the Xi Jinping era.… Read

The Mandela Effect — The Unquiet End of Hong Kong Headliner

Viral Alarm & The Best China On 19 May 2020, Radio Television Hong Kong 香港電台, the city’s public broadcaster announced that the popular satirical political skit show Headliner 頭條新聞 would go into ‘temporary recess’ after having been officially reprimanded for mocking the police in an episode featuring the actor (and former policeman) Wong Hei (王喜, 1967-) broadcast on 14 February 2020.… Read

Remonstrating with Beijing — Xu Zhangrun’s Advice to China’s National People’s Congress, 21 May 2020

Viral Alarm   The following excerpt is taken from Professor Xu Zhangrun’s analysis of China’s coronavirus predicament titled: ‘China, a Lone Ship of State on the Vast Ocean of Global Civilisation —
the coronavirus pandemic and the political and civilisational prospects for the world system’ 世界文明大洋上的中國孤舟——
全球體系背景下新冠疫情的政治觀與文明論 The full version of Xu Zhangrun’s essay appeared on Mainland China, in Hong Kong and here, in China Heritage, on the morning of Thursday 21 May 2020, the day before the long-delayed third session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress (NPC) and the third session of the Thirteenth National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were to be convened in Beijing.… Read

Mangling May Fourth 2020 in Washington

Viral Alarm The 4th of May 2020 marked the one-hundred and first anniversary of the May Fourth demonstrations in Beijing 1919. Commemorations of that event, and the era to which it has given a name, at a time when the world is stricken by Covid-19 pandemic has given ideologues of various persuasions, and different climes, a particular opportunity.… Read

Mangling May Fourth 2020 in Beijing

Viral Alarm The 4th of May 2020 marked the one-hundred and first anniversary of the May Fourth demonstrations in Beijing 1919. Commemorations of that event, and the era to which it has given a name, at a time when the world is stricken by Covid-19 pandemic has given ideologues of various persuasions, and different climes, a particular opportunity.… Read

Hong Kong 攬炒 — Burning Down the House

The Best China   Margaret Ng (吳靄儀, Ng Ngoi-yee) is a noted politician, barrister, writer and columnist. She was a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong from 1995-2012. She has previously featured in two essays by Lee Yee published in our virtual pages:
  •  ‘The End of Hong Kong’s Third Way’, China Heritage, 22 April 2020; and,
  • ‘The Road Not Taken by Margaret Ng 吳靄儀’, China Heritage, 24 April 2020
  • And, Ng was also one of the fifteen prominent democracy activists arrested on 18 April 2020 by the Hong Kong authorities for alleged illegal participation in the Anti-Extradition Bill protests of 2019.… Read

    1900 & 2020 — An Old Anxiety in a New Era

    Viral Alarm   It has become something of a commonplace for those in- and outside of the People’s Republic of China to dwell on the Xi Jinping ‘new age’ (2012-) as a momentous inflection point in the history of post-Mao China.… Read

    The Road Not Taken by Margaret Ng 吳靄儀

    The Best China   The following essay is part of ‘Hong Kong Apostasy’, a China Heritage series that takes as its focus the 2019-2020 Hong Kong Protest Movement. The protests remain, in essence, a rejection of the Official China of Xi Jinping, and his predecessors, as well as being a celebration of Other China, or The Best China, precious realm, both real and imagined, that has repeatedly been ignored, misunderstood and repressed by the Communist party-state.… Read

    Holding Fast

    Viral Alarm On 22 April 2020, the unaffiliated journalist Li Zehua 李澤華 suddenly reappeared after having being detained by the Wuhan authorities some two months earlier at the height of China’s coronavirus crisis, on 26 February. … Read

    The End of Hong Kong’s Third Way

    The Best China Lee Yee (李怡, 1936-) is a veteran journalist and commentator who has has been writing about Hong Kong’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China for over forty years.… Read

    Beijing’s Battle with Viral Humanity

    Viral Alarm   The following essay is part of series on China and the coronavirus published by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). It is reprinted here with the kind permission both of the author, Kirstin Shi-Kupfer, and of MERICS as a chapter in ‘Viral Alarm’, a China Heritage series on the 2019-2020 coronavirus crisis.… Read

    Poems from a Plague — a Tibetan Meditation

    Viral Alarm Tsering Woeser (ཚེ་རིང་འོད་ཟེར་, 1966-) is a Tibetan writer, activist, blogger, poet and essayist. Her cycle of poems — ‘Epidemic Three-line Poems’ 時疫三行詩 — written as the coronavirus epidemic engulfed China’s People’s Republic, is translated by Ian Boyden.… Read

    Insisting and Acting on the Truth

    Viral Alarm The Truth — searching for it, uncovering it, speaking about it, debating its significance and insisting on it — lies at the heart of Viral Alarm — China Heritage Annual 2020 which is devoted to the 2019-2020 coronavirus crisis in China and the subsequent global pandemic.… Read

    Freedom from Fear & an Inconvenient Truth

    Viral Alarm We are reprinting the following open letter signed by scholars of China and senior political figures as part of Viral Alarm — China Heritage Annual 2020, a work related to the 2019-2020 Covid-19 crisis and the dilemmas confronting China and the world.… Read

    A Shared Perigean Moon

    Viral Alarm On 7-8 April 2020, people around the world were able to see a perigean full moon, that is a full moon that coincides with the orbiting moon’s closest approach to Earth.… Read

    Thanatopsis — 4 April 2020

    Viral Alarm The Fourth of April 2020 marks the day for ‘sweeping the tombs’ 掃墓, a time in which respect is paid to the recently deceased, loved ones and forebears. Known since ancient times as Qingming 清明, ‘Clear and Bright’, it is commemorated annually on the Eighth Day of the Third Month of the traditional lunar calendar.… Read