Currents of Thought 思潮

Rong Jian 荣剑 on Thought and Scholarship in China

Translator’s Preface It takes some nerve to title one’s essay ‘A China Bereft of Thought’ 没有思想的中国 for this is, surely, an extravagant claim. Yet, as we will discover in Rong Jian’s essay of this title below, he is utterly dogged in his ambition to make the claim stick. He knows he is being deliberately polemical … more

Reading and Writing the Chinese Dream: introducing a project

As of January 2016, the Thinking China section of The China Story has introduced several aspects of contemporary Chinese thought and debate under three headings: key intellectuals, key articles and currents of thought. We have been particularly interested in the interplay of intellectual and official perspectives on a range of pressing social and political questions. Thinking China forms … more

Carl Schmitt in China

The ideas of Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), a man known as ‘the crown jurist of the Third Reich’, have enjoyed enormous currency among mainland Chinese scholars since the 2000s. The role of prominent academics such as Liu Xiaofeng 刘小枫, Gan Yang 甘阳 and Wang Shaoguang 王绍光 in promoting Schmitt’s ideas, and the fact that his theories on the … more

The Practice of History and China Today

The text below is based on discussions conducted at the symposium of this name in Sydney 17-19 December 2013. Organised by the Australian Centre on China in the World, the symposium was also the culmination of a two-year project on ‘Re-reading Levenson’ undertaken by six historians: Geremie Barmé (Australian National University), Timothy Cheek (University of … more

China’s stalled social mobility

In 2013, an anonymous story about the lives of some sixty interns at an unnamed bank in China, posted on the popular online forum Tianya, went viral on the Chinese Internet. The author, who claimed to work at the bank, highlighted the importance of family background and connections in determining a person’s fate. It wasn’t … more

What hinders the rise of Chinese culture?

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and China’s robust economy that year, despite the global financial crisis, made many Chinese citizens immensely proud of their country. They felt that China had regained the admiration of the world and resumed its rightful place as a global superpower. But such feelings are often undercut by worries about … more

A survey of common views on China’s economy in early 2014

Since the start of 2014, China’s economic situation and its prospects has been much discussed and debated in the Chinese-language media. Three factors have contributed to this focus on the economy: Xi Jinping’s strong leadership style and rapid centralisation of power since assuming the role of Party General Secretary in November 2012; the current administration’s … more

The future of bookstores – three Chinese perspectives

The digital revolution has had a profound effect on the practice of reading: tablets, e-readers, blogs, and multimedia channels have changed the way we read and our views of writing. As a result, traditional bookstores are under threat and booksellers are suffering. This change is not limited to the West: in China too, electronic writing … more

Recent Discussions of the One-Child Policy

Official attention to ‘family planning’ and population control can be traced back to 1955 when the government published its ‘Instructions on the issue of population control’ (关于控制人口问题的指示). The document states that ‘In the interests of the nation, families and future generations, the Party is in favor of taking appropriate measures for birth control’ (为了国家、家庭和新生代的利益,我们党是赞成适当地节制生育的). But … more

Considering the Third Plenum

Anticipation and the ‘383 Scheme’ Though the official opening date of the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was not officially announced till the end of October, rumours about and expectations of the meeting and possible reforms that would be announced started much earlier. On 6 October, … more