attacking the police

Published on July 14, 2008 by husunzi

Update 2 (July 20): incident #5: Yesterday in Menglian, Yunnan, somewhere between 400 and "over 1,000" rubber farmers attacked police sent to arrest alleged instigators in a conflict with rubber plant managers, apparently about being forced by the government to sell their crop at 40% below its market value. The police shot dead 2 of the farmers, one of them "a student who knelt in front of [the police] begging for leniency for his father," according to this report, wounding 15 others and arresting about 20. Brandishing knives and steel pipes, the farmers managed to injure 41 officers and burn 8 police vehicles. Several high-ranking provincial officials have gone in to mediate the conflict, but as of this morning over 200 farmers were still protesting. (Google menglian for latest reports.)

Incidentally, over 1,500 petitioners were arrested in Beijing between July 14 and July 16, according to this report, with one committing suicide in protest, and one being sent to a labor camp on July 17, according to this.

Update (July 19): a fourth incident in the string of violent attacks on police and local governments in China was reported today. By connecting the dots provided by the scanty reports and a little bit of prior knowledge, I surmise that what happened is:

In Shangnan village on the outskirts of the (prosperous, export-processing) city of Huizhou, Guangdong, migrant workers from poor inland areas, who probably rent rooms from the villagers (most of the villagers probably living relatively comfortably from this rent & running local businesses, and so probably perceived by the migrants as something like class enemies), exploded in anger when they found that one of their fellow migrants, who had worked as a motorcycle-taxi driver, was dead, apparently murdered by a village "security guard," apparently because the driver refused to pay a 200 yuan "protection fee" to the "security guard."

The reports don't say what these security guards are, what they guard, or how they are in a position to charge protection fees from migrants (who I'm only assuming to be tenants in this village). SCMP says they were "government-hired," but it's clear that what the reporter means by "government" is the village authorities (who are formally independent from the government, but who often function as extensions of the nearest township party committee). What do they guard? Maybe they function as police for the village (since villages don't have formal police). Or maybe this village is more like a gated community for rich people, and the security guards are there to keep poor migrants from coming in to rob them?

Anyway, somewhere from "over 100" to several hundred migrants attacked the security guards and the village authorities' office, as well as the Yuanzhou township police station and nearby shops, brandishing knives and waterpipes, and turning over a police car. When the migrants tried to set fire the village authorities' office, about 300 villagers then attacked the migrants. The township police and riot police from Boluo county then came in to suppress the conflict. Netizens claim that three security guards were killed, but the state media hasn't reported any deaths on either side. 8 rioters were detained, among whom 7 were released, only the 25-year-old cousin of the deceased being kept under accusation of inciting to riot. Witnesses say that over 1,200 people were involved in all.

The best report I've seen is in today's SCMP, but you'll need to go through a subscribing library to access the online version. Google "huizhou police" for other reports, but mine's the best so far, i'm afraid. Let me know if you learn any more details or see any mistakes (the obvious way would be to search in Chinese, but i'll just wait for someone else to do that for me ;-)

Original post:

In the past two weeks there have been three incidents reported about Han Chinese attacks on the police: the riot in Weng'an, Guizhou; the individual attack on a police station in Shanghai; and now the riot in Kanmen, Zhejiang. (Considering the delay in reporting about the last incident, the lack of details about all three, Beijing's heightened efforts to control its image at this time, and precedence about this sort of incident over the past few years, it seems likely that other incidents of this kind have occurred recently.) Like the Tibetan riots in March, these incidents are all "criminal acts of violence," "terrorism of the highest order".

The best collection of info on Weng'an riot I've seen is Roland's, including photos & links to videos. Here is the first in the series of videos on Youtube:

Here are some of the photos:

w 1w 2w 3

Today the local state media announced that authorities have arrested 100 people & blamed the riot on gangs, still denying the claims that they had covered up the rape & murder of a girl, which had sparked the riot. According to AP, against this official claim that the riot was stimulated by gangs, "Locals have insisted that most of the rioting was done by middle school classmates of the dead girl, who had accused police of covering up her rape and murder by the son of a local official." However, according to local state media via Reuters, "Forensic experts have conducted three autopsies on the 16-year-old victim, Li Shufen, and have repeatedly ruled out the possibility of sexual assault or murder, saying she died by drowning." Instead (according to an earlier report), the provincial authorities are blaming local officials for creating a volatile atmosphere by their involvement with gangs as well as mishandling "public tensions over mining development, housingdemolitions and resident resettlement, Xinhua reported."

There has been little reporting on the Shanghai incident. The best report/ commentary I've seen is this. Today Xinhua released some more information about the suspect, but still nothing about his own explanation (they had briefly mentioned his explanation before but then removed it, saying that it was "inappropriate" to publish the suspect's point of view, according to Danwei).

I have seen no pictures or videos of the Kanmen incident either, although according to the reports hundreds of people were involved and it lasted for three days. I haven't found much searching in Chinese either (and shouldn't be spending much time on this now anyway - hopefully Roland, CDT, or someone will do that for me :) Apparently it's been covered up pretty well, considering it was only just reported in both Chinese & Western media four days after the riot began & a day after it was suppressed. The best report I've seen is this.

Incidentally, Tibetans & Hans are not the only people rioting lately. The past few weeks have also seen violent protests in India, Mongolia and Japan (in addition to the largely peaceful G8 protest, where 21,000 police outnumbered an terrorized an estimated 3,000 protesters), a prisoners' rebellion in Ireland, and a police mutiny in Nepal, not to mention the numerous food-related protests and riots around the world that preceded these for several months.

Such reports, "when viewed individually, may appear at first glance to be irrational actions, or simply isolated events. When viewed as a whole, they point to large areas of discontent and general patterns of activity..."

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aufheben & walker on class conflict in urban & rural China

Published on May 12, 2008 by husunzi

The 2008 issue of Aufheben (#16) is out in its print edition.

Apparently they wait about a year before posting new issues on, so you'll have to get it from your local distributor or order it from them or AK Press. Their first article on China, "Welcome to the Chinese century?" from issue #14, is up on libcom in case you haven't seen that already.

I highly recommend this new issue in general, which also contains critiques of Virno's Grammar of the Multitude and De Angelis' Beginning of History, and a review of Forces of Labor by Beverly Silver. The China article brings together a fair amount of recent material into an original analysis of the major class conflicts and the prospects for going beyond their present limits. There are a few minor errors that we must forgive the author(s?) due to the difficulty of penetrating the somewhat provincial world of China studies, and to the poor quality of a lot of journalistic writing on Chinese labor and peasant struggles, in particular.

From their conclusion:

[C]ontrary to what it may appear at first sight, the immense economic transformation of China has resulted in widespread, and at times quite intense, resistance from both workers and peasants. However, [...t]hrough the combination of making timely minor concessions and the ever present threat of repression, the Chinese state has, for the most part, succeeded in restricting social protests to narrow and parochial issues and focussed on the malfeasance and corruption of local party-state cadre.[...] However [...] there are signs that China will find it increasingly difficult to provide world capital with a plentiful supply of cheap and compliant labour-power.[...]

Due to the limitations of our sources, the emphasis of this article has been on the struggles of _danwei_ workers that occurred several years ago. Important as they are [...] they are, what may temred conflicts of class de-composition, or what Beverly Silver has called Polanyi-type struggle.[... C]apital may take flight from class conflict and find a new home but it cannot escape its nemesis forever. Having alighted in China, capital is in the process of summoning into being anew working class, as the peasant migrant workers turn into a fully fledged proletariat. No doubt the struggles of this new working class will become increasingly important in the future.

One thing they mentioned that was new to me was that some of the peasant land struggles, anti-tax protests, etc., developed into full on insurrections and incipient counter-hegemonic organizations in the late 1990s, before the state managed to stem this tide through a combination of repression and concessions (and I would add, ideological moves, such as the new campaign to "construct a new socialist countryside"). Aufheben directs us to a particularly insightful overview and analysis of these peasant struggles by Kathy Le Mons Walker: "'Gangster Capitalism’ and Peasant Protest in China: The Last Twenty Years,” Journal of Peasant Studies, vol 33, no. 1 (2006):1-33. I've just read that article as well and also highly recommend it (she's also got a new article on "Everyday Peasant Politics in China and the Implications for Transnational Agrarian Movements" in a special issue of the Journal of Agrarian Change on "transnational agrarian movements" - vol. 8, nos. 2 & 3, 2008). There she notes:

[A]lthough mostly ignored in both Western scholarship and the Western press, [...] since the mid-1980s protest, resistance, and outright insurgency have gathered momentum in the countryside. The movement has involved hundreds of thousands of incidents and millions of peasant participants. It reached new levels of intensity in 1993 when, according to the Hong Kong press, there were uprisings in nearly a dozen of China’s 21 provinces and several thousand casualties [Bernstein, 1994: 8; Ngo, 1999: 471–2].[...]

By the late 1990s there was also evidence of greater militarization and an openly insurgent politics, including the formation of dissident organizations and paramilitary forces. In some localities protesters established ‘peasants’ revolutionary committees,’ ‘peasant rebellion command committees,’ or armed self-defense units to replace the party and government [Perry, 1999: 315; Thornton, 2004: 93, 98]. The obscure and secretive ‘Anti-Corruption Army of the People, Workers and Peasants’ is also a case in point. In late 1998 Yang Jiahua, a 52-year-old peasant, organized the ‘Southwestern Yangzi Column’ of the Anti-Corruption Army in western Sichuan. This peasant-based force apparently viewed itself as a new communist organization and patterned its structure on China’s ruling party, from a politburo down to a propaganda department. The Column surfaced publicly in early June 1999, when it led a series of rallies in three counties and 13 townships in the Chongqing region where, according to news reports, it appeared to have wide appeal. At these rallies several hundred Column members distributed leaflets condemning the Chinese Communist Party as no longer authentic, totally corrupt, and unfit to rule [Holland, 1999a: 10].[...]

Paralleling the above developments, in the late 1990s rural protests snowballed with some locales being hit by weekly, if not more frequent,actions. According to internal government statistics, the number of demonstrations, protests, and risings in 1998 alone rose to 60,000; in 1999the figure was even higher, reaching 100,000 [‘Dissidents Warn’, 1999; ‘Five Thousand PRC Farmers’, 1999; ‘One Thousand Protest’, 1999; ‘Police Clash With 1,000’, 2001: 1–2].

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sacom on disney annual meeting

Published on March 2, 2008 by husunzi

A Public Statement onThe Walt Disney Company Annual Meeting of Shareholders, March 6, 2008

To: John E. Pepper, Chair of the Board of Directors, the Walt Disney Company From: Jenny Chan, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM)

Two full years have passed since March, 2006, when four institutional shareholders – the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System, the New York City Police Pension Fund, and the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund – filed a proposal to help Disney end its sweatshops in China. At that time, the Disney Board failed to go a step further and resolve labor abuses committed by its overseas suppliers. Instead, it diverted public attention to Project Kaleidoscope, a pilot training program designed to promote sustained code compliance at ten Chinese manufacturers of Disney and McDonald’s products. But where are the facilities? Which suppliers have been selected? What are the monitoring and training methods? To date, a final report of Project Kaleidoscope, which the Board had expected to release in early 2006, is still not available.

Disney’s annual shareholder meeting will be held on March 6th in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a Hong Kong student group fighting for worker rights in mainland China, demands that John E. Pepper, Chair of the Board, ensure transparency and disclose updated information from Project Kaleidoscope.

In September, 2005, just before the opening of Disney’s 5th theme park, Hong Kong Disneyland, SACOM launched its Looking for Mickey Mouse’s Conscience campaign. In the past 2½ years, we have exposed 11 Disney sweatshops in the Pearl River Delta region of southern China (for all 6 reports in Chinese and English, visit Our first-hand investigations document illegal wage payments, excessive and forced overtime, non-provision of contracts and social security, unsafe production environments, humiliating management practices, and substandard living conditions.

SACOM has requested a face-to-face meeting with the CEO of Disney to discuss Disney’s efforts to implement a code of conduct in China. Unfortunately, as of the end of February, 2008, we have received no reply to all three letters (dated August 24, 2005; December 8, 2006; and January 2, 2008; full English versions are downloadable online).

“Disney has denied social responsibility for Chinese migrant workers, predominately young girls, who produce their merchandise. There is no fairytale ending for overworked Disney toy workers, who often work up to seven days a week and 16 hours a day making toys based on characters from Pirates of the Caribbean during peak production seasons,” commented Jenny Chan, chief coordinator of SACOM.

Workers suffer serious lack of sleep. When they ask supervisors to check their paystubs for miscalculations, they are refused. In some printing facilities that manufacture Disney-branded children’s books, work injuries are almost a daily occurrence. Hundreds of workers’ fingers are cut off from dangerous machines.

Factory employers do not simply force workers to work in unsafe and horrible conditions. They also try to prevent workers from telling others about their experiences. Most workers are forced to sign one-sided “agreements” in which wages, work hours, and benefits are left out. Managers then gather the agreements and fill in the blanks as they see fit in order to falsify social audits.

Disney has relied on its auditors and commissioned Verité, an auditing service, to look into alleged labor abuses at identified Chinese factories. However, the audit reports are not shared with SACOM and the concerned public. Workers are left in the dark regarding the implementation of corrective actions, if indeed there are any at all.

We want to get out of this gridlock.

We believe that Disney needs to permit public scrutiny of its efforts by disclosing to the public the full list of its outsourcing suppliers. This is nothing more than what other proactive firms such as Nike and Adidas have done. Disney must also give every Chinese worker a copy of a written labor contract in accordance with the new Labor Contract Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2008. Last but not least, Disney should respect workers’ right to develop democratic mechanisms of worker representation at all Disney suppliers.

Disney recorded $35.5 billion in sales in 2007. Investors as well as consumers know that Disney can do better in its commitment to workers’ rights. Whatever improvements Disney makes, it needs to work with the public to show its willingness to fulfill the promises embodied in its code of conduct.


Contact person:

Jenny CHANChief CoordinatorStudents & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) Email: [email protected] Website: Tel: 852 2392 5463 or 852 2392 5464 Fax: 852 2392 5463Skype: wlchanskype

Co-signed by:

Asia Monitor Resource Center Hong Kong & mainland ChinaCentro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral MexicoChina Labor Watch USClean Clothes Campaign, CCC, International Secretariat The NetherlandsGlobalization Monitor Hong Kong & mainland China International Labor Rights Fund USLabor Action China Hong Kong & mainland ChinaLabor Rights Now USPeuples Solidaires FranceSüdwind Austria

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who wants to privatize rural land and why?

Published on February 25, 2008 by husunzi

Comments on Anderlini's report on the December land privatization manifestos (Jamil Anderlini: “Losing the countryside: a restive peasantry calls on Beijing for land rights,” Financial Times, February 19 2008)

(Revised Feb 29)

These are just some knee-jerk reactions. This new linkage between disgruntled peasants and liberal intellectuals, backed by certain capitalist interests (real estate developers, for one), and Western journalists' representations of this linkage as a spontaneous emergence from "civil society" against "communism" (i.e. CCP rule), are important events. To understand them, we also need to address the Chinese party-state's own recent promotion of experimental privatization of rural land in four pilot municipalities (the topic of China Left Review's forthcoming first issue), and the place of this policy initiative within a series of Chinese debates about privatization going back at least to 1992, in which Western-trained liberal intellectuals and American think tanks like the Cato Institute have played a prominent role. The only reason the party-state didn't privatize land earlier is that wiser (not necessary "leftist") elements of the party leadership realized that sudden nationwide privatization of land was one the factors that threw Russia and other post-socialist countries into chaos, and that, throughout the developing world, the ability to buy and sell land has been a major factor in the growth of desperate, potentially unstabilizing sub-proletarian classes. I hope eventually to deal more systematically with reports such as Anderlini's in a bigger project addressing this web of debates and social realities as a whole.

Anderlini writes:

“separate groups of peasant farmers in four remote parts of the country published very similar statements on the internet claiming to have seized their collectively owned land from the state and unilaterally privatised it.”

Here Anderlini implies that the “peasant farmers” wrote these statements, but later he says that they were written by one intellectual, among a group of 10 urban intellectual “organizers,” backed by capitalist interests (he mentions real estate development companies in particular), who spread their propaganda among peasants in 20 provinces for 2 years. I find it interesting that they have adopted the traditionally leftist strategy of going to villages, finding active elements, and imparting them with a theoretical frame to articulate their desires and mobilize a popular movement. Only, as opposed to leftist mobilization, these liberals mobilized the “property” or “individualist” tendency in peasant society. {I’m referring to two things here: 1) Marx’s analysis of the 19th century Russian peasant commune (obschina) as containing both “property” and “collective” elements, which could lead it toward either disintegration in the face of capitalist expansion, or integration into a communist revolution (not to be confused with the state capitalist collectivization of agriculture eventually led by Stalin - see Marx’s 1881 manuscripts in Late Marx and the Russian Road, edited by Teodor Shanin); 2) Wang Xiaoyi’s analysis of “the paradox of Xiaogang village,” that is, if Xiaogang villagers were so “individualist” that they couldn’t stand the Commune system and risked their lives to decollectivize, how did they manage to cooperate and sacrifice their individual interests to organize and carry out this movement? If they were “collectivist” enough to carry out this movement, why weren’t they willing to cooperate in farming? He concluded that Chinese peasant society contains both collectivist and individualist tendencies, and the individualist tendency happened to be stronger in Xiaogang at that point, but the collectivist tendency was still there to serve as a resource for collective mobilization (“Xiaogangcun de beilun,” Sannong Zhongguo 1 (2003): 151-154).}

“The country's Communist constitution stipulates that all rural land is owned by the state, which leases it to individuals to use on a 30-year contract basis but can take it back with relative impunity.” later: “the documents [the peasants] signed violate the Chinese constitution and at least three laws stipulating that all land in China is owned by the state.”

Anderlini is wrong here (for reasons I'll get to below, I'm tempted to say he's flat-out lying). The English translation of China's constitution is online here:

Article 10 reads:

Land in the cities is owned by the state. Land in the rural andsuburban areas is owned by collectives except for those portions whichbelong to the state in accordance with the law; house sites andprivate plots of cropland and hilly land are also owned bycollectives. {But note:} The state may in the public interest take over land forits use in accordance with the law.

Also relevant is article 9:

Mineral resources, waters, forests, mountains, grassland, unreclaimedland, beaches and other natural resources are owned by the state, thatis, by the whole people, with the exception of the forests, mountains,grassland, unreclaimed land and beaches that are owned by collectivesin accordance with the law.

So the constitution makes clear that farmland, rural house sites, and certain other rural land is not owned by thestate but by "collectives." It doesn't explain exactly what "collective" means, though. It means either administrative villages (cun) or villager teams (cunmin xiaozu, consisting of several households). A political sociologist I talked to says that national policy is vague about this, so in some parts of China the team is regarded as the owner, but he thinks that village ownership is more common.

Policy is clear, however, that the villager committee is the only entity with authority to make changesin land arrangements, so in practice the villager committee (formally autonomous and democratically elected by all adult villagers, but often informally controlled by the township CCP committee) acts as the owner, so villagers and villager teams do often lack the institutional power to act asowners, and that's why they resort to "rightful resistance" - extra-institutional protest on the basis of "central policy."

Another thing the constitution is vague about is this: "The state mayin the public interest take over land for its use in accordance withthe law." What is the law, and where is it written? I assume thismeans the state is supposed compensate villagers for the land itrepossesses, but how is the form and amount of compensation supposedto be determined? And is the state required to get permission from thevillager committee, or can it take it even if the committee says no(like the "right of imminent domain" in the US)?

Another mistake is that land is leased to households, not individuals.

These are not a minor details; they're central to Anderlini's ideology. He assumes that because China is “Communist” (i.e. ruled by a party that calls itself Communist), then everything’s owned by the state, and he can only understand conflicts in such a country as conflicts between the all-powerful state and the individual, in particular as the individual's assertion of his right to own private property. Like the famous photograph of the man standing before the tank in 1989, such a grand vision has no place for a legal framework of village ownership and household use-rights periodically reallocated according to the ratio of land to villagers, and the experience of conflicts between subsistence-oriented villages and development companies working in cahoots with township officials - working according to the market logic Anderlini so champions.

This kind of journalistic sloppiness makes me have doubts about the whole report. When “the state” (usually township officials) “takes it back,” it doesn’t do so with “impunity,” exactly. At least “according to the law” (as the constitution ambiguously puts it, and as Anderlini himself mentions), the state is supposed to compensate the villagers, and I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to get permission from the villager committee as well, which is formally independent from the state and democratically elected by all adult villagers who chose to vote. {Like elections in “democratic” societies, i.e. multi-party systems, this formal independence and “grassroots democracy” are far from ideal and vary from village to village. As many political sociologists, such as He Xuefeng and Tong Zhihui point out, the main forces working against the improvement of democratic local self-government are not the institutional formalities so much as a set a of broader social problems they call “China’s rural problem” (sannong wenti). They follow Karl Polanyi and Wen Tiejun in interpreting these problems as resulting from the destruction of traditional peasant communities by the twin pressures of China’s Maoist industrialization strategy (based on collectivized peasant labor as a source for primary capital accumulation, instead of the Western strategy of colonial plunder) and the post-Mao marketization of social relations (see Chinese Sociology and Anthropology 39(4) and forthcoming issue on the central China school). For one thing, as anyone who’s been to the Chinese countryside in the past few years knows, most of the talented and able-bodied villagers between the ages of 15 and 55 are off working in the cities most of the year, if they ever come back at all, and the people who stay in the villages often have difficulty organizing public affairs outside narrow social networks. But I’m getting side-tracked. All this is just to say that Anderlini is both wrong and misleading. Most rural land is formally owned by villagers, not the state, and state appropriation of villager-owned land is supposed to be negotiated with committees democratically elected by villagers and formally independent from the state and the CCP. These formalities may often be severely compromised - villager committees, for instance are often controlled by the same township officials who want to appropriate the land, so the villagers really have no say in the matter – but at least these formalities give peasants a legal basis for appealing to higher levels of the state (what O’Brien and Li call “rightful resistance”), and sometimes getting a better settlement than they would have gotten otherwise. Similar situations happen in the US in cases “imminent domain.” The main difference is that peasants appeal in the name of their village or villager team as collective owner, rather than individually. How would the legal formality of individual ownership improve peasants’ bargaining power over the present legal formality of collective ownership by several households? If anything, privatization would weaken their bargaining power: if the government takes my land but not my neighbors’, how can I get anyone to cooperate with me in appealing for compensation?}

“its calls for privatisation of all rural land were a clear rejection of the current regime.”

That’s definitely an overstatement, considering that central leaders have been debating whether to privatize land for over a decade, and the regime is now promoting experiments in de facto rural land privatization. As Anderlini himself says further down: “Land privatisation […] has high-level support from some reform-minded sections of the Communist party[.]” Again, these statements make sense only in Anderlini’s ideology, where “communism” implies state ownership, and calls for privatization are “a clear rejection” of “communism.”

“In words that could have come from the mouth of Mao Zedong, one declaration [said: ‘] Only when you protect the rights of the masses and help the masses to develop can you be called the government."”

The term “develop” is new, and is very much tied up with a different ideology in which privatization is a key step on the road of development (and “self-development”)

“They say they are acting out of a conviction that many of the problems faced by China's peasants stem from the current land ownership system.”

Do they really believe that, I wonder? If so, it’s pure formalism. As it is, groups of several households own land collectively. When officials sell it to developers, peasants appeal to higher levels on the basis of this legal formality, and sometimes they get more compensation, sometimes they don’t. How would anything be changed if the formality was changed from collective to individual ownership? If anything, peasants’ bargaining power would be weakened. Furthermore, don’t most people who advocate privatization also advocate urbanization, and want peasants to sell their land and move to the city? Privatization may help in that way, by adding a new monetary incentive (at least that’s the government’s main reason for advocating de facto privatization), but I don’t see how that will solve peasants’ problems, except that they will stop being peasants’ problems and start being proletarian (or sub-proletarian) problems.

Probably the most important passage of A's report:

These activists have some powerful supporters, including prominent developers who have called publicly for privatisation of rural land – a move they argue would help cool soaring property prices in the cities by vastly expanding the land supply while granting rural citizens the same security urban dwellers now enjoy.”

While helping the developers make lots of easy money, incidentally, and depriving peasants of any legal justification for asking for compensation or land. If they sell it an get paid the market price (however low), then they have been treated fairly and legally, and their subsistence becomes a personal problem. And what is this “security urban dwellers now enjoy”? I don’t know enough details about this. But I thought that peasants were beginning to get better social security packages than urbanites, whose security is tied to employment and income. If you can't find secure employment, which requires cultural capital that most peasants lack, then you basically get no social security, except for 200-300 yuan a month, right? Whereas in the countryside, the state is increasing its subsidies for education and health care, at least, whereas the cost of these is rising in the cities.

“This de facto privatization [of urban housing] has led to an explosion in personal wealth and was instrumental in the creation of an urban middle class.”

What total nonsense! As if privatization of public goods created anything new. The new “wealth” is just paper, and the people who get rich from buying and selling it are simply taking from the public resource pool. (Wen Tiejun discussed this in “Deconstructing Modernization.")

“Peasant farmers are allowed to own their homes but not their land, so they are unable to use it as collateral for loans. Advocates of reform say this exacerbates the looming wealth gap between cities and the countryside, where land is virtually worthless.”

If it’s worthless, why do developers want it so bad? If peasants can use land as collateral, then it will be even more certain to be taken from them, only now it will be legally sanctioned. Since the previous passage explained that “wealth” comes from privatization, we can see how rural land privatization will create “wealth” in the countryside: a collective resource, land, will go from being “worthless” on paper to “wealth” on paper. And after peasants sell it to developers, the developers and other “middle class” investors who buy and sell whatever the developers build there will become wealthier, thus bringing more wealth to the countryside and mitigating the urban-rural wealth gap. Brilliant!

“Some government scholars say a shortage of arable land in China would be exacerbated if peasants were allowed to sell at will to developers. But activists point out that vast tracts are already disappearing and argue that privatisation would probably speed up the creation of larger and more efficient farms.”

“But activists point out that vast tracts are already disappearing” – so what? If privatization will exacerbate this problem, how does the fact that this problem already exists change anything? That’s not even an argument!

“privatisation would probably speed up the creation of larger and more efficient farms” – 1) why is privatization a precondition to larger and more efficient farms? Even in China today we could point to collectively owned larger and more efficient farms, such as the one in Nanjie; 2) “efficiency” here refers to productivity per labor hour, not productivity per acre or per unit of energy; small-scale intensive farming is both more efficient per acre and per unit of energy, and more ecologically sustainable (see, for instance, Smallholders, Householders by Robert Netting); 3) Anderlini has neglected to mention the more important part of such arguments against privatization: what will happen to all these ex-peasants, considering that the market could absorb only about 1/10 of China's current "surplus rural labor power" even in a best-case scenario of sustained growth, depending largely on global demand for exports that now seems to be falling for good (to say nothing of the ecological problems such sustained growth would exacerbate)? (He does mention this below in a quotation from Wen Tiejun, but he doesn’t respond to Wen’s argument.)

“The power to reclassify rural land as industrial or urban lies with government officials, who derive much of their official revenues (not to mention illicit personal income) from selling reclassified land.”

This is an important problem, but how will privatization solve it?

“Advocates of privatisation acknowledge that the majority of local officials across the country are unlikely to support the loss of such a large source of revenue and this entrenched interest is probably the biggest obstacle to the government agreeing to such a reform.”

I wonder if the central government also sees this as the main obstacle to privatization.

“He says privatisation in urban areas has given the middle class a bigger say in the way the country is run and points to a recent wave of peaceful demonstrations in cities such as Xiamen and Shanghai, in which citizens took to the streets over specific issues that directly affected their property prices – a proposed chemical plant in a densely populated part of Xiamen and a proposed extension of Shanghai's magnetic levitation train through the city centre – and in each case managed to convince the government to revise its plans. "If the people were given land they would have the power to speak out and it would help bring democracy to China," says the activist."

More ideological nonsense - the assumption that property and individualism goes hand in hand with “democracy." Peasants already do the same sort of thing all the time, and I don’t see how individual ownership will make it more likely to happen or succeed. Going back to Wang Xiaoyi’s theory, it seems that privatization of land would strengthen the individualist tendency and weaken the collectivist tendency (and its basis in the idea of common ownership of village resources), thus weakening peasants’ ability to organize such protest movements.

Zhang Sanmin (Shaanxi “peasant farmer and activist”) says: "What I know is that it was the communal land system that killed more than 30m people in the Great Leap Forward and it is the current system that is causing so much suffering today and must be changed[.]”

It wasn’t the communal land system, but rather a number of other factors (most important in Sichuan, according to Chris Bramall, being the speed at which major institutional changes were made (within a few months), and poor planning in general (in some cases, lack of planning), including transferring too many people out of agriculture into heavy industry, and then lack of communication (in some cases caused by selfish officials, more generally due simply to the rapidity of institutional change) once the famine began. Once the wrinkles were smoothed out, most of the institutional changes made during the GLF were kept, and, according to Bramall, contributed to improving per capita quality of life (life expectancy, etc.) about as quickly as possible under the conditions of embargo and arms race with both the US and USSR empires (see his In Praise of Maoist Economic Planning: Living Standards and Economic Development in Sichuan since 1931). A few related comments on the report cited in A's report above (Mure Dickie and Jamil Anderlini: “Double challenge to Beijing orthodoxy,” Financial Times, December 26, 2007):

the authors write:

“Former Nanjing university professor Guo Quan on Wednesday claimed his “New Democracy party” enjoyed widespread backing for its goal of ending Communist “one-party dictatorship” and introducing multi-party elections. “We must join the global trend,” Mr Guo said. “China must move toward a democratic system.””

How could he say this publicly without getting arrested? Is this more evidence of the Hu—Wen administration’s apparent preference for liberalism over leftism? (I wrote a blog entry about this last summer)

Note the discursive power of “joining the global trend” (doubtless “与全球接轨”)

“Separately, farmers in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Jiangsu and the city of Tianjin have announced on the internet that they have reclaimed collective land from the government and redistributed it.”

According to A's report above (among others) it was a group of 10 intellectuals, and mainly one in particular, who wrote these manifestos. One report said that the peasant whose name was presented as the other of one manifesto turned out to be illiterate. But my impression is that the peasants did agree with the manifestos, as much as they understood them. {Note that, to the extent that peasants have embraced this “mobilizing frame,” this is a break from the pattern of “rightful resistance” described by Li and O’Brien, where peasants appeal to central policy to justify their rebellion against local “corrupt officials.” Of course such a break from the state’s framework is a necessary starting point for the formation of a new political subjectivity, but in this case the break falls right into the market logic that really calls the shots in China, and which the CCP has been promoting anyway, albeit with some reservations and debate. So I think the authors are wrong to say that this movement (or this discursive move) threatens CCP rule. To what extend does CCP power depend on control of rural land (most of which, at least in theory and usually in practice, belongs to villagers, not the CCP)? Of course there is also the question of hegemony and spectacle, that is, of who has the right to make such discursive innovations (it should have come from CCP fiat, not dissident intellectuals or peasants or, scarier still, a coalition of intellectuals and peasants!). So, on the one hand, we have marketization as a tendency determining both state policy-making and popular movements, and, on the other hand, we have the unstable ground of CCP hegemony – the CCP’s need to represent itself as the leader, rather than a servant of the market or dissident intellectuals and peasants.}

“one of the main sources of unrest in China in recent years has been the seizure of land that is then sold to developers who often work with officials to make huge profits.”

Finally, a rational kernel

“This month’s land claims break new ground by appearing to be co-ordinated across widely separated regions of the country and by being based on presumed individual property rights.”

I think they’re right about this

“The announcement of the new party and the land claims follows the release last month by a provincial government adviser, Wang Zhaojun, of a sweeping open letter indicting the nation’s entire political system.”

Is there any connection between these land disputes and Guo Quan’s “party”? (and how many people support this party?) Sounds like none.

But one connection is pretty clear: between Anderlini, the Financial Times, and a series of "news reports" putting the words of American imperialist think-tanks like the Cato Institute and the Rural Development Institute into the mouths of Chinese peasants. Search Lexis-Nexis and you'll find dozens of such reports and commentaries stretching back for decades, until they shade into positive reports about "land reform" and "rural development" programs designed by such think-tanks in conjunction with the CIA to combat anti-imperialist peasant movements in Vietnam, the Philippines, and elsewhere since at least the 1960s. Only four days after FT published this Feb 19 report by Anderlini, the South China Morning Post published "On Solid Ground: Beijing's landmark edict on land rights for the vast rural population is a powerful signal for change" by Li Ping, "head of the Beijing Representative Office and a staff attorney with the Seattle-based Rural Development Institute (, which contributed to the recent Cato Institute policy paper 'Securing Land Rights for Chinese Farmers." At least this report recognized that the Chinese party-state is not so entirely at odds with such pro-privatization "dissidents" as Anderlini claims. But both contribute to a decades long stream of ideology pumped out and reproduced with American state support by think-tanks, news media, "embedded" intellectuals advisers to the Chinese party-state, and "dissident" intellectual advisers to China's disgruntled peasants. So, I'm beginning to wonder: these mistakes that I've pointed out in Anderlini's report (about what China's constitution says about land ownership, about who actually wrote these privatization manifestos, about whether privatization will help peasants to hold onto their land in the face of state-supported capitalist expropriation, etc.) - were these honest mistakes, or was he paid to make them?


  1. John Gulick Says:

    Thanks for all the hard and intelligent work you put into this. When I stumbled across the FT piece, I was apopleptic -- not to put too fine a point on it!!! -- but lacked the time, energy, and knowledge to script an appropriate critique, and you have done so thoroughly and brilliantly. It is a great relief to see this. The gist of the issue is that the FT, in solidarity if not cahoots with the usual suspects inside and outside the PRC, has put forward the property rights/self-regulating market package as a solution to the PRC's "agrarian problem," and more insidiously implied that this dovetails with the incipient desires and aims of China's rural masses... a complete and concoted fabrication. You discursively and materially bust apart the hoax so nicely... thanks!!!

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rare footage of land struggles

Published on January 10, 2008 by husunzi

Thanks to Lang Yan for noticing this on CDT:

To understand one reason why such footage is rare, see Man beaten to death for videotaping officers' clash by Lydia Chen (Shanghai Daily 2008-1-8). This English report seems to imply that it was "officers" (whatever that means) from the construction company that were fighting with the peasant protesters and killed the man who videotaped them, but actually it was officers in the sense of police officers, from the municipality's Bureau of Urban Management (城市管理执法局 - I deliberately translate it this way so its initials spell "BUM"), whose jurisdiction is different from the regular police (Public Security Bureau) or the armed police (武警) - I'm not sure exactly how, but, for one thing, the BUM is responsible for harassing street vendors operating in unauthorized places or without a license, as anyone who's spent any time in a Chinese city know (other than Beijing and Shanghai, where such "uncivil" behavior has become almost invisible). There's a lot of Chinese discussion about this incident on the web, with titles like 城管该退出历史舞台了 ("the BUM should retire from the historical stage," implying that they are a "feudal" anachronism in modern society - an interesting twist, since their official justification is that they will help Chinese cities to become more "civilized" in the sense of modern and cosmopolitan), and some photos (here, for instance).

Also related is this story about a land struggle in Fujin that seems to have been complicated by outsiders who published a liberal/ Falun Gong manifesto in the villagers' name. According to the report, this case is also "unusual because of the scale and brazen nature of the land appropriation," with 40,000 people losing 100,000 hectares, and because "Foreign commentators said it was the first time peasants had united across villages and even provincial borders to fight for private land rights." Seems sloppy of the author to say they were fighting for "private land rights" after just noting that it was clear that outsiders had written the manifesto in such ideological terms, apparently unbeknownst to the people actually engaged in the struggle (I've not seen much evidence of Chinese peasants conceptualizing land conflicts in terms of private property; on the contrary, several cases I know of were understood as defense of collective property against privatization!) I'd like to learn more about this, but Google, that big sell-out, is freezing up whenever I search any relevant keywords, even with a proxy (of course it may just be a coincidence - my connection has been having problems all day anyway).

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shengzhen dgz center/ huang qingnan update

Published on January 8, 2008 by husunzi

Worker Empowerment informs us that, after violent attacks in October and November on the DGZ Migrant Workers Centre in Shenzhen that left staff member Huang Qingnan hospitalized, with financial support and political attention from groups around the world, the center "is now re-open on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and providing legal consultation to workers," and Huang "is recovering steady after the skin-grafting operation on 4th Jan, 2008. He is still suffering from muscular dystrophy, hence more physical training is important to enhance the strength of his thigh muscle. However, doctor told that he will need a supplementary instrument in the future. If there is no more infection or other problem, Huang can be discharged from hospital before Chinese New Year (Early Feb). One more operation for muscle transplant may be needed to the maximize his ability to walk, and followed by series of physiotherapy which will be last for at least 18 months." W.E. is still accepting donations to help fund DGZ and Huang's expensive medical treatment, which the government is still refusing to get involved with. "The Government had not respond to the calls from DGZ Centre and international groups yet, nevertheless, the Shenzhen Federation of Trade Unions had visited Huang and DZG Centre, to convey care and attention. But they refused to condemn on the violent attack against workers and DGZ Centre since they worried that it would be interpreted as the Government's position. There is still no specific progress on the detection, no suspects is arrested or questioned. The next stage of activities will be mainly initiated by local workers in mainland China to achieve formal communication channel with the Government. We hope that you can keep your eyes on the incident and continuously mobilize your network members to write to the China Central and Shenzhen Municipal governments."

Also see Chinese Employers Accused of Goon Hiring (AP) and CLNT's new posting on Labor NGOs in Guangdong Province

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news highlights

Published on October 19, 2007 by husunzi

Sick of the 17th p4rty c0ngr3ss? I'm sick of this escalation of !n+3rn3+ control. Jane Macartney of TimesOnline writes:

In the past few days it has become impossible in China to include the names Xi Jinping or Li Keqiang in a blog.[...] These two men are most likely to take over as the next Communist Party chief and Prime Minister of China. They are almost certain to be appointed to the standing committee at the end of this week’s five-yearly Communist Party congress.[...] The composition of the standing committee is one of the most tightly guarded secrets in China, but rumours about the list have been rife. Sources with close links to China’s internet service providers say that they have, in the past few days, been required to alter their servers to reject attempts by Chinese bloggers to place online certain names in case derogatory or personal comments about new leaders find their way into cyberspace.[...] Mentions on blogs of President Hu Jintao and the Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, have long been impossible. But now several new names have become taboo. A source told The Times that an online check would swiftly reveal the names of the nine members of the standing committee to be unveiled on Monday.[...] Many Chinese barely recognise these names. Their coming to power is a result of haggling over cups of tea, wrangling over rice bowls and the exchange of messages among leaders and retired elder statesmen. A senior official observing the process quoted a Chinese proverb: “Big decisions are taken at small meetings, small decisions are taken at big meetings.”

And Thomas Claburn of InformationWeek writes:

Google [...] on Thursday acknowledged that its Chinese users were being redirected to other Web sites but offered no insight into whether the Chinese government -- which exercises tight control over the Internet in China -- might be responsible or why such redirection might be occurring. [...]Philipp Lenssen, who maintains Google Blogscoped, reports the problem goes beyond Google. He said that sites with the word "search" in their domain name --,,, and even -- were all being redirected to Chinese search engine Baidu as of about 1 a.m. Beijing time Wednesday.[...] Why would China do such a thing? This week's Chinese Communist Party Congress might be one reason. The event, held once every five years, is typically a time of heightened government sensitivity.[...] It's also widely known that China is displeased with the Dalai Lama's warm reception in Washington this week. China on Thursday summoned the U.S. ambassador in Beijing and lodged an official protest.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Goldkorn at Danwei points out:

Mainland Chinese soft porn website and overseas-hosted hard porn link site seem to be open for business.[The 17th Communist Party Congress is abbreviated to 十七大 ( shiqi da) or '17 big' in Chinese.]

Incidentally, YouTube, which had become an important resource for my English classes, has also been blocked, probably because a Chinese version of YouTube has just been set up in Taiwan.

If you really do want to get into the "17 Big," there are several good reports in the past few issues of China Brief, Joel Martinsen gives a good (humorous) run-down on Danwei, and CE&G; graciously provides translations of Hu's Oct 15 opening speech and a exegesis of the "hot new terms" introduced in this speech, including "compassionate care," "psychological counseling," and, of special interest to anthropologists, "culture" as a form of "soft power":

Unlike the reports at previous national Party congresses, the recent report drew up concrete policies to promote cultural development in China. New terms like "enhance culture as the soft power of our country", "cultural creativity" and "cultural industry bases and clusters" were frequently heard in Hu's report.[...] According to Professor Dai Yanjun with the Party School of CPC Central Committee, culture is a powerful ideological pillar that supports China's constantly advancing society. By developing cultural industry, the country will further enrich the social life of its people and find a new impetus for national progress in addition to technological innovation and economical growth," Dai Yanjun said.

One thing that struck me from Cheng Li's report in this week's China Brief was that:

To a greater extent at this upcoming Congress than at any previous Congress in the history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), princelings [leaders who come from families of former high-ranking officials] are poised to assume more seats in the Politburo, including its Standing Committee. In the 24-member 15th Politburo, which was formed in 1997, four members were princelings—Party General-Secretary Jiang Zemin, Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Li Peng, Vice Chairman of the NPC Li Tieying, and Director of the General Office of the CCP Central Committee Zeng Qinghong—whose fathers were former leaders at the vice ministerial level or above. [...] In the 25-member 16th Politburo selected in 2002, three members were princelings: Party Secretary of Hubei Yu Zhengsheng and Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang, as well as Vice President Zeng Qinghong, a holdover from the 15th Politburo.[...] Table 1 lists fifteen leading candidates for the next Politburo who come from princeling backgrounds. All but one of these individuals currently serve on the 16th Central Committee, including one Politburo Standing Committee member, two Politburo members, nine full members, and two alternate members. [...] Based on this analysis, the next Politburo will likely consist of eight or nine princelings, a record-breaking figure for this distinct elite group in China’s top leadership. If so, the number of princelings on this powerful decision-making body will have increased about two-fold compared with the previous Congress. Princelings would therefore account for one-third of the next Politburo, assuming that the total number of people sitting on this leadership organ remains roughly the same.

In other news, despite (or because of?) these controls on the flow of information, on the one hand, and continuing inflation and concern that China's economy will overheat (Andy Xie argues it won't cause a serious crisis), on the other, Chinese capital continues to vie for a leading role among the global bourgeoisie. Last week I mentioned that:

the "Hurun Report" has identified 106 Chinese billionaires [measured in US dollars], up from 15 last year, making China second in this ranking of global bourgeoisie's hierarchy to only the USA (and "China may have 200 billionaires, we just haven't identified them yet -- there are a lot of people out there who don't report their assets,'' said Rupert Hoogewerf, who has produced the list since 1999. ``The new wealth we haven't discovered yet is lying in the stock markets.'')

Well, this week Merrill Lynch announced that "China had 345,000 millionaires by the end of last year, the second-most in Asia after Japan," up 7.8 pct from 2005, and "4,935 extremely rich people, or 'ultra-HNWIs' (ultra-high net worth individuals), defined as those with financial assets of more than 30 mln usd." FT reports that PetroChina has overtaken General Electric to become the second largest company in the world, with a market capitalization of $433bn, next to ExxonMobil ($526bn), and is poised to overtake the latter. The report includes a table listing China Mobile, ICBC, Sinopec, and China Life Insurance among the other 9 largest companies. And Sundeep Tucker reports that Chinese companies are expected to outstrip Japanese and Indian companies next year to become Asia's most active among mergers and acquisitions in the US or Europe. Meanwhile, the US cautiously continues to play the protectionist card.

On the proletarian front, CSM reports on an ongoing 14-week occupation of a village government building to protest land expropriation; SCMP (via M&C;) reports that "More than one in three workers in Hong Kong changes jobs about two years, with the banking and financial services sector having the highest turnover"; the militant ACFTU reports on its progress in organizing foreign-funded enterprises, including Wal-Mart (in Fuzhou Wal-Mart branches, the new locals have managed to "raise part-time workers' wages to 6 yuan (75 US cents) per hour, above the minimum wage 5.5 yuan"), and warns the unorganized 40% of China's 51,728 foreign-funded enterprises that they plan to organize another 10% this year; and Vice-Minister of Health Gao Qiang announced, in conjunction with the 17th party congress,that "All people in urban and rural areas will enjoy basic medical care and health services by 2020," and that "The rural cooperative medical insurance system, initiated in 2003 to offer farmers basic healthcare, covered 720 million rural residents, or 82.8 percent of the country's rural population, by the end of June this year."

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china's century-long quest for industrialization

Published on August 8, 2007 by husunzi

Translation of 《百年中国,一波四折》by Wen Tiejun (温铁军) originally published in Dushu (读书) no. 3 (March), 2001. This translation was first published on CSG back in 2003 in conjunction with the Zigen conference on "Addressing Crucial Problems Faced by Rural China," at which Wen Tiejun discussed his "reflections on China's 25 years of reform." But I'm posting this reminder and link here because Professor Wen recently proposed to have the essay translated, considering it one of his most important writings and not realizing that it had already been translated and published, and when I went to look for this translation, I had a lot of trouble finding it, for one thing because the English title is a little different from the Chinese and easy to confuse with another of his well-known essays (on a related topic), 《三农问题:世纪末的反思》, translated as "Centenary Reflections on the 'Three Dimensional Problem' of Rural China" in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 2(2), 2001, now also available here as "Reflections at the Turn of the Century on 'Rural Issues in Three Dimensions'" - it is the same translation with a different title. It was also difficult to track this down because CSG lacks an internal search engine (I'm sure that will be remedied soon), and the Chinese name and publication info was not on the same page as the translation. So I've added this information in a comment and am posting this link here in the hopes that this will make the translation easier to find in the future, and introduce it to people who don't know it exists yet.

In struggling to understand various problems regarding China's economic development, I have broadened my study into the field of modern history. I spent a few months at Duke University this year, 2001, availing myself of the opportunity to read widely and to reflect on some questions that do not lend themselves readily to answers offered by prevailing economic theories. I made an attempt to seriously examine the entire course of China's economic development from the perspective of a Chinese person who has spent years in field study and reviewing past work on the economic development. I had come to the conclusion that China's quest for modernization in the 20th century is like a river with four bends [yi bo si zhe]. Below, I will try to explain this analogy in greater detail. China had developed an agrarian civilization that had been sustained for five thousand years. It was only at the turn of the 20th century that China's development reached an extraordinary stage where it was forced to transform itself in order to survive. But the West denied China the opportunity to adapt in its image. As a result, Chinese people were compelled to undergo successively four distinct and complex processes of industrialization, based on re-appropriation of China's own resources. Each of these four processes has yielded benefits but also entailed costs. For a country like China which is extremely poor in resources and has a very large population, any institutional restructuring whose costs outweighs the benefits is likely to provoke social turmoil and even revolution. My understanding of this historical quest can be summarized as follows...

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left criticism more sensitive than right?

Published on July 28, 2007 by husunzi

According to the Washington Post, Hu Jintao recently "counseled tolerance" against a recommendation by the propaganda department to ban a magazine issue that published a "a long and daring article" by an academic named Wu Min (anyone know any details about this guy?) which argued "that the party's monopoly on power was the 'root cause' of many of the ills afflicting modern-day China, including corruption and peasant unrest." Hu rejected the recommendation to ban the issue, arguing that "it is healthier to have such debate out in the open than to let it ferment under the surface." The Washington Post reporter then points out that Hu "had a less tolerant attitude" toward the 17 former cadres who criticized the party of betraying socialism for capitalism in a July 12 letter to Hu. In the latter case, websites posting the letter (including CSG) were blocked until they removed the letter. I'm not sure if this represents a general trend or preference on the part of Hu or his government (who are generally considered to represent a moderately left trend within the party), or even whether it's appropriate to classify the difference between these two criticisms as one between right and left orientations, but this does remind me of the case of the Zhengzhou Four, who were originally charged with "subverting state power" (which would have got them over 10 years in prison), and two of whom were finally sentenced to 3 years of hard labor for "libel," simply for distributing a leaflet urging the party to move back to the socialist road, whereas so many liberal critics regularly publish ostensibly more daring articles, and when they are threatened or suppressed, they get so much more international support. (The MR commentary on the ZZ4 case begins by pointing out: "When liberal writers Liu Xiaobo and Yu Jie were recently (and briefly) detained by Chinese police, there was a world wide chorus of denunciation. The liberal writers' endorsement of the U.S. aggression in Iraq made them even more heroic in the eyes of the Murdoch-dominated press. Not surprisingly, there has been no coverage whatsoever of a more egregious case of crackdown on dissent—because it is dissent from the left...")

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wang hui interview on leaving dushu

Published on July 27, 2007 by husunzi

Thanks to Dale for pointing this out. I've started a translation page for this here, in case anyone can help out.

wang hui cartoon

"The Anger of Wang Hui"
Southern Metropolis Weekly (南都周刊)
July 27, 2007
Reporter: Gan Dan

On July 18, Wang Hui, having been dismissed from his editing duties at Dushu Magazine, agreed to a long personal interview with Southern Metropolis Weekly. On July 11, Sanlian Press publicly announced that Wang Hui and Huang Ping would no longer serve as editors for Dushu Magazine. The rumors of a "change of generals" [换帅] finally received confirmation. [any ideas about how to translate 换帅?] Wang Hui, however, a central figure of this incident, did not make a public appearance. Outside conjectures as to the background to the Dushu "changing of generals" have been numerous and convoluted. At the time, however, Wang Hui, the person most appropriate to stand up and speak on the matter, did not give any response. On July 18, Wang Hui, having been dismissed from his editing duties at Dushu Magazine, agreed to a long personal interview with Southern Metropolis Weekly. I had interviewed Wang Hui one month ago on the occasion of the publication of the six-volume collection of Dushu highlights. At the time, he discussed all kinds of plans about the magazine. Who would have thought that only a month later, the topic of our next discussion would be his leaving and his summary [总结] of Dushu? [...]

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