Commemorating an Anti-Authoritarian Provocateur: Wang Xiaobo.

wang-xiaobo Just published: Commemorating an Anti-Authoritarian Provocateur: Reflections on Wang Xiaobo (1952-1997), Blog of the Los Angeles Review of Books, 11 April 2017.
Reprinted on Geremie Barmé’s China Heritage site.

Wang Xiaobo, an important Chinese literary and intellectual figure who died of a heart attack 20 years ago this week at the age of 44, remains largely unknown to the reading public outside China.  Only a few novellas and one important essay of his have been translated into English.  In China, by contrast, his popularity reached unprecedented heights in the late 1990s, and he was even included posthumously (with five other “emeriti”) on the first list of China’s 50 “most influential public intellectuals” published in 2004. Even now, his books are still reprinted and widely read: Changjiang Literature and Art has just published a new seven-volume selection of his writings to mark the anniversary of his death. …

Further reading from the Chinese internet:
– Li Yinhe 李银河: 王小波逝世二十年祭
– Biographical roundup with a quote from Wang Xiaobo’s last email and a nice comment from Wang Meng 王蒙: 王小波二十周年祭:原谅我一生不羁放纵爱自由
– Xu Zhiyuan’s 许知远 thoughts on Wang Xiaobo and his interview with Li Yinhe 纪念王小波逝世20周年:如果他还活着
– Sanlian Shenghuo Zhoukan feature with contributions by Li Yinhe, Liang Hong, Yang Zao, Li Jing 我们为什么要读王小波?
– Even People’s Daily chipped in with an commemorative piece: 今天,我们应该如何读王小波 


Resisting dissolution: stalemate between HK civil society and central government


Just published: “Resisting dissolution: the stalemate between Hong Kong civil society and China’s central government,” Open Democracy, 2 December 2016.

In this piece of commentary, written just before the second wave of judicial reviews were launched against incumbent lawmakers by the Hong Kong government, I argue that a clearer picture is emerging of how the central government may be envisaging limited autonomy under the Basic Law in the runup to 2047.

The troubles of Yanhuang Chunqiu and the dwindling public sphere

杨绛走好Just published: “Debating the Memory of the  Cultural Revolution in China Today”, MCLC Resource Center, August 2016.

This is a short piece that tries to explain the significance of the monthly magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu (Annals of the Yellow Emperor) and the reasons why it was forced to shut down in early July. By connecting Annals with the 50th anniversary of Bian Zhongyun’s still unelucidated death on August 5th and the heated debate about intellectuals’ responsibility after Yang Jiang’s death in May, the piece argues for the importance of the public sphere in dealing with issues of memory. The illustration is a poster that appeared  on certain subway lines in Beijing this summer bidding farewell to Yang Jiang.