Commemorating Jacques Pimpaneau

The Best China Pierre Ryckmans, better known to readers under the pen name of Simon Leys, valued Jacques Pimpaneau as ‘a colourful character, original, a non-conformity, an oddball, cultivated, generous.’ (As quoted in Philippe Paquet, Simon Leys: Navigator Between Worlds, p.230.)… Read

The Right to Know & the Need to Lampoon

Spectres & Souls The following essay is Part Two of ‘The Fog of Words: Kabul 2021, Beijing 1949’ and the Prologue to ‘The Xi Jinping Restoration’. It should be read in conjunction with ‘Prelude to a Restoration: Xi Jinping, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun & the Spectre of Mao Zedong’ (China Heritage, 20 September 2021).… Read

Remembering Harold Bloom, at a remove

Spectres & Souls A few days after the death of Harold Bloom on 14 October 2019, I listened to an interview with him recorded by Phillip Adams, an old friend and a remarkable interlocutor, on Late Night Live, the program that Phillip has hosted on ABC radio for three decades.… Read

How Steel is Tempered — Chen Qiushi Returns

Viral Alarm
Spectres & Souls The lawyer Chen Qiushi (陳秋實, 1985-) was one of the autonomous citizen-journalists who attempted to report on the outbreak of ‘Wuhan Flu’ 武汉肺炎 (武肺) — later known as ‘Corona Virus’ 新冠病毒 or Covid-19 — in February 2020.… Read

Celebrating Dai Qing at Eighty

Spectres & Souls   As part of our commemoration of this anniversary year China Heritage is publishing a series of work about and by Dai Qing (戴晴, 1941-), a renowned writer and environmental activist who celebrated her eightieth birthday in early 2021.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, XXVIII

Other People’s Thoughts is a section in the Journal of the China Heritage site. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations put together by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors, during his reading life.… Read

Prelude to a Restoration: Xi Jinping, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun & the Spectre of Mao Zedong

Spectres & Souls The following essay was drafted in the first days of September 2021 and revised on 9 September, the forty fifth anniversary of the death of Mao Zedong. On 9 September 1986, the date of the tenth anniversary of Mao’s demise, I found myself in Austin, Texas, and I celebrated the occasion in the boisterous company of loved ones by drinking a margarita for every year of the post-Mao era.… Read

Two Plus Two Equals Five—China’s New Math

Spectres &  Souls The following essay by Simon Leys was published in early 1987, in the wake of student demonstrations that, having originated in Hefei, the provincial capital of Anhui, rocked Shanghai in December-January 1986.… Read

Accounting for 111 Years: The Wang Family of Bose, Guangxi Province

Spectres & Souls ‘Over One Hundred Years’ is a series of essays published by China Heritage to mark the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party. The series is included in China Heritage Annual 2021, the theme of which is ‘Vignettes, moments and meditations on China and America, 1861-2021’.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, XXVII

Other People’s Thoughts is a section in the Journal of the China Heritage site. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations put together by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors, during his reading life.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, XXVI

Other People’s Thoughts is a section in the Journal of the China Heritage site. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations put together by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors, during his reading life.… Read

Red Allure & The Crimson Blindfold

Spectres & Souls The ‘centennial month’ of July 2021 highlighted many aspects of Communist Party ideology and practice that, superficially at least, seem germane to the Xi Jinping era (2012-). For those with a longer perspective, and more retentive memories, however, the underpinnings of this year’s pharaonic display  of pomp and circumstance were evident (unavoidable, in fact) long before the advent of the man we think of as the Chairman of Everything.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, XXV

Other People’s Thoughts is a section in the Journal of the China Heritage site. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations put together by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors, during his reading life.… Read

Lee Yee on the Demise of Jimmy Lai’s Apple Daily

Hong Kong Apostasy ‘Apple Daily said on Wednesday that it was closing less than a week after the police froze its accounts, raided its offices and arrested top editors, as the government’s escalating campaign against dissent takes aim at the city’s once vaunted media freedoms.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, XXIV

Other People’s Thoughts is a section in the Journal of the China Heritage site. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations put together by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors, during his reading life.… Read

A Love Letter to a Lost Hong Kong

Hong Kong Apostasy This is the latest chapter in an account of the former British colony, now a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. It consists of three excerpts from For the Love of Hong Kong: A Memoir From My City Under Siege, a book by Hana Meihan Davis published by Global Dispatches.… Read

Beijing Days, Beijing Nights, May 1989

Spectres & Souls This is a companion piece to ‘In Memoriam — 4 June 2021’. In commemorating the Beijing Protest Movement and its bloody denouement on 4 June 1989, we reproduced a prose-poem by Xu Zhangrun and recommended a number of essays and articles, in particular ‘On the Eve, April 1989’, and ‘China’s Spring’, by Orville Schell.… Read

In Memoriam — 4 June 2021

Spectres & Souls It is now over three and a half years since Xu Zhangrun called on the Chinese authorities to re-evaluate the tragic events surrounding 4 June 1989, the Beijing Massacre.… Read

Other People’s Thoughts, XXIII

Other People’s Thoughts is a section in the Journal of the China Heritage site. It is inspired by a compilation of quotations put together by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), one of our Ancestors, during his reading life.… Read

5.16 — Sorry, Not Sorry

Spectres & Souls   On 16 May 1966, the Communist Party secretly issued the ‘May Sixteenth Circular’《五·一六通知》 to party, state and army organisations throughout China. It was circulated down to the level of county party committees, party committees in the cultural organizations, and party committees at regimental level in the army.… Read