Key Intellectuals

Key Intellectuals offers profiles of some of China's leading public or citizen intellectuals, men and women who are vitally involved with the ideas, debates and concerns about China's present and its future direction. We believe that whereas many Western-trained Chinese academics have found a voice (or a niche) in the global English-language media, popular and academic their writings tend to reflect particular and often rather specific concerns. We hope that, by casting the net wide and working with leading younger and established writers and thinkers throughout the Sinophone world our gallery of Key Chinese Intellectuals will become a modest database of Chinese thinkers that can, in some small way, help redress such distorting imbalances.

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Steven NS Cheung 张五常

Steven Ng-Sheong Cheung 张五常 is an internationally noted Hong Kong-born economist best known for his work on transaction costs and property rights. Together with his long time friend and mentor Ronald Coase (who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1991), he is considered a key representative of 'New Institu…

Cui Weiping 崔卫平

via Words Without Borders http://wordswithoutborders.org/contributor/cui-weipingCui Weiping is a public intellectual and a professor at the Beijing Film Academy whose work focuses on literary theory, political philosophy and eastern European intellectual and political culture. Cui’s background is in literature and aesthetics, which she studied at Nanjing University before ta…

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Deng Zhenglai 邓正来

via 复旦大学社会科学高等研究院 http://www.ias.fudan.edu.cn/ResearchPersonnel/Detail.aspx?ID=527Deng Zhenglai was a political scientist and a scholar of jurisprudence and political philosophy. Shortly after Deng Zhenglai’s death on 24 January 2013, his friend, the legal scholar He Weifang 贺卫方 wrote on his microblog 'May Wu Liang Ye and Hayek be waiting for Deng Zhenglai in heaven' (但愿天堂里有哈耶…

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Fan Jinggang 范景刚

中红网江山摄 http://www.crt.com.cn/news2007/News/jiangshan/11612175358462879BEK5EE18DJ3BI6_2.htmlFan Jinggang 范景刚 is manager of Beijing's Utopia Bookstore 乌有之乡 and co-founder of its affiliated Maoist website, which was shut down following the fall of Bo Xilai.

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Hu Angang 胡鞍钢

via 北京晨报 http://beijing.qianlong.com/3825/2012/11/09/2000@8311866.htmHu Angang 胡鞍钢 is a Tsinghua University-affiliated economist who is regarded as a leading figure in what could be translated as ‘China National Exceptionalism Studies’ 国情研究. Working under Zhou Lisan 周立三, a pioneer in the field, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences beginning in 1985, Hu made his way …

He Weifang 贺卫方

From People Online http://edu.people.com.cn/GB/8216/85218/104692/6349432.htmlHe Weifang 贺卫方 is a Chinese law professor affiliated with Peking University (PKU). Before being given tenure at PKU in 1992, he was the editor at Comparative Law 比较法研究 and Peking University Law Journal 中外法学, both published by the university. Aside from his academic life, He is also a popular essayist and social commentator.

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Li Yining 厉以宁

Li Yining 厉以宁 is one of China’s most noted economists. He is the director of the Department of Social Sciences at Peking University, and Honorary President at that university's Guanghua School of Management. Li has participated in the professional committees advising the National People’s Congress, …

Li Yinhe 李银河

Often described as ‘China’s first sexologist’, Li Yinhe 李银河 is a sociologist who is widely admired as a pioneer of Gender Studies in mainland China. She is also a public intellectual well known for defending the rights of women, gays, lesbians and transgendered people. As an undergraduate, Li Yin…

Li Tuo 李陀

Li Tuo 李陀 is a cultural critic and editor who rose to fame as part of the 'Culture Fever' 文化热 in the 1980s, a term that covers the diverse range of academic, artistic, literary and publishing enterprises that defined intellectual life in that decade. Born into a rural Hohhot family in Inner Mongo…

Lei Yi 雷颐

Via Sina Books: http://book.sina.com.cn/news/c/2010-09-06/1535272794.shtmlLei Yi 雷颐, an historian of late-Qing and modern China, joined the Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), in 1985 and has remained there to this day, pursuing research into modern Chinese intellectual history. Due to his broad areas of academic interest, Lei Yi had…

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Mo Luo 摩罗

via 时代周报 http://www.jcrb.com/wenhua/zht/201002/t20100201_317059.htmlMo Luo 摩罗 is an essayist and cultural critic associated with the Institute of Chinese Culture at the Chinese National Academy of Arts 中国艺术研究院中国文化研究所. Born Wan Songsheng 万松生 in 1961, he took his pen name from a famously difficult essay by Lu Xun, 'On The Power of Mara Poetry' 摩罗诗力说. Mara is a Sanskri…

Mao Yushi 茅于轼

via 宁波广播在线 http://www.nbradio.com/node2/zt/hbh/userobject1ai265683.htmlMao Yushi 茅于轼, a declared liberal economist, is one of China's best known advocates of government policy reform and an outspoken critic of the neo-Maoist left. Hailed as a 'national treasure' 国宝 by his fans, Mao has also attracted a significant number of detractors, some of whom accuse him of being …

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Qin Hui 秦晖

via Harvard GSAS China Study Group http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~northshore/?p=388Qin Hui 秦晖 is an economic historian best known for his work on peasant studies and an influential public intellectual. He teaches at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Qin's academic research is focused on land ownership and peasant wars and, in the last two decades, he has written on many different…

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Rong Jian 荣剑

via 中国律师网群 http://wqcyx.zfwlxt.com/newLawyerSite/BlogShow.aspx?itemTypeID=1ececc40-ecc1-40af-8aeb-9bf500a55d56&itemID=7ebecb51-afad-4b3f-8c17-a1200181bc2c&user=10420Rong Jian 荣剑 was a rising star in the 1980s in the then much-prized field of Marxism Studies before 1989 derailed his academic career. Like many disillusioned intellectuals of the time, he turned away from scholarship and entered the business world. In the late 1980s, Rong was an active participa…

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Sima Nan (司马南)

We thank Emile Dirks for this contribution. Emile is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Toronto whose research interests include Chinese social media, Sino-Southeast Asian relations and, more specifically, migration and HIV/AIDS on the Sino-Myanmar border. _____________ Sima N…

Shen Zhihua 沈志华

Photo via http://news.ifeng.com/exclusive/lecture/special/shenzhihua/shilu/detail_2013_02/25/22462390_0.shtmlShen Zhihua is an historian greatly admired in China as a pioneer of archival research on the Cold War, the Korean War and Sino-Soviet relations. Internationally renowned for his scholarship, Shen first attracted significant media attention in 1995 when he committed some 1.4 million yuan of his own …

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Tong Zhiwei 童之伟

Tong Zhiwei is a professor of law at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai. He serves as vice-president of the Constitutional Studies branch of the China Law Society 中国法学会宪法学研究会 and has been the editor-in-chief at the journal Legal Science Monthly 《法学》. Aside from his ac…

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Wu Si 吴思

Wu Si 吴思 is the author of the highly influential history books Hidden Rules 潜规则 and The Principle of Blood Payment 血酬定律. He has also served as vice-president of Yanhuang chunqiu magazine (炎黄春秋, aka Chinese Chronicles), a publication with a reformist bent.

Wu Jiaxiang 吴稼祥

Wu Jiaxiang 吴稼祥 is a prominent mainland social commentator and author. After graduating from Peking University with a degree in economics, Wu began his career at the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China in 1982. He held a number of government roles in the 1980s. In 1989, he was deta…

Wang Hui 汪晖

via 中国人民大学汉语国际推广研究所 汉学研究中心 http://www.hantui.org/hantui/Team/xiaowai/346.htmlWang Hui 汪晖, Tsinghua University professor and former editor of the influential journal Dushu 读书, is the leading voice of China’s New Left. His major works include Against Despair: Lu Xun and the Literary World 《反抗绝望:鲁迅及其文学世界》 (1991), Rekindling Frozen Fire 《死火重温》 (2000) and the four-volume The Rise…

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Xu Jilin 许纪霖

via 宁波晚报 http://news.cnnb.com.cn/system/2011/09/18/007080364.shtmlXu Jilin 许纪霖, professor of history at East China Normal University, is a historian of 20th Century Chinese thought and culture. Recent major publications include How the Enlightenment was Reborn《启蒙如何起死回生》 (Peking University Press, 2011), and Readers Stand Up 《读书人站起来》 (Renmin University Press, 201…

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Yuan Weishi 袁伟时

Yuan Weishi 袁伟时, a historian now retired from a long career at Zhongshan University, precipitated the shut-down and reorganization of the China Youth Daily's 'Freezing Point' 冰点 supplement with his 2006 essay Modernisation and History Textbooks, which criticized the established patriotic narrative of China's struggles with encroaching foreign powers at the end of the Qing Dynasty.

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Zhu Dake 朱大可

Zhu Dake 朱大可Zhu Dake is a noted cultural critic, scholar and essayist who rose to prominence in the 1980s alongside Li Zehou 李泽厚, Li Zaifu 李再复 and Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波. He was, and remains, widely admired in mainland intellectual circles as an independent voice on contemporary Chinese society. Zhu holds a professoria…

Zhang Yihe 章诒和

Zhang Yihe is a scholar of performing arts and an author of memoir-style histories of mid-twentieth century intellectuals, politicians and literati. Born in 1942, Zhang is the second daughter of Zhang Bojun 章伯钧, the influential democratic politician and intellectual who was active in the governme…

Zhang Weiying 张维迎

via 南方周末Zhang Weiying 张维迎 is a prominent Chinese economist best known for his advocacy of free markets and entrepreneurship. He is a vocal critic of big government and its interference in market activities. He is also a champion of judicial reform and argues in favor of the constitutional protection of priv…

Zhang Lifan 章立凡

via Zhang Lifan's blog http://frank.bokerb.com/Zhang Lifan 章立凡 is a writer and historian of Republican China (1912-1949), with a special interest in the warlord politics of the Beiyang government (1916-1927). He has also written on issues concerning civil society and on modern intellectual history in China. In 2000, Zhang resigned from the Ch…