China's New Order: Society, Politics, and Economy in Transition / Edition 1

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Overview

As the world is drawn together with increasing force, our long-standing isolation from--and baffling ignorance of--China is ever more perilous. This book offers a powerful analysis of China and the transformations it has undertaken since 1989.

Wang Hui is unique in China's intellectual world for his ability to synthesize an insider's knowledge of economics, politics, civilization, and Western critical theory. A participant in the Tiananmen Square movement, he is also the editor of the most important intellectual journal in contemporary China. He has a grasp and vision that go beyond contemporary debates to allow him to connect the events of 1989 with a long view of Chinese history. Wang Hui argues that the features of contemporary China are elements of the new global order as a whole in which considerations of economic growth and development have trumped every other concern, particularly those of democracy and social justice. At its heart this book represents an impassioned plea for economic and social justice and an indictment of the corruption caused by the explosion of "market extremism."

As Wang Hui observes, terms like "free" and "unregulated" are largely ideological constructs masking the intervention of highly manipulative, coercive governmental actions on behalf of economic policies that favor a particular scheme of capitalist acquisition--something that must be distinguished from truly free markets. He sees new openings toward social, political, and economic democracy in China as the only agencies by which the unstable conditions thus engendered can be remedied.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times

Unlike most other contemporary critics of China's reforms, Mr. Wang does not limit himself to economics. He dissects the big picture, calling on reformers to include culture, values and democratic governance in their assessments of success and failure. Such a critique is long overdue...Mr. Wang has become one of the first indigenous voices to critique China's 'economic miracle' fully and publicly and to find it a deficient remedy for the failures of socialism.
— Orville Schell

Far Eastern Economic Review

The essential arguments are comprehensible and stimulating for Chinese intellectuals as well as for those Westerners who insist that post-Mao China is roaring down the right track, that money pushes aside the old political stupidities, and economic progress leads eventually to democracy. These are the assumptions Wang seeks to rebut and his rebuttal will be uncomfortable reading for those who see capitalism as a moral driving force as well as an enriching one.
— Jonathan Mirsky

The Asian Art Newspaper
This book offers a powerful analysis of China and the transformations it has experienced since 1989. Wang Hui offers an insiders knowledge of economics, politics, civilisation, and Western critical theory. A participant in the Tianamen Square movement, he is also the editor of the most important intellectual journal in contemporary China. Wang Hui argues that the features of China today are elements of the new global order as a whole in which considerations of economic growth and development have trumped every other concern, particularly those of democracy and social justice. The plea at the heart of the book is for economic and social justice and an indictment of the corruption caused by the explosion of 'market forces.'
Village Voice

Wang's problem comes when Westerners and Chinese alike misread reform as apologia for the past. Socialism may be lost, he reminds us, but its reason for being will remain unless China and the rest of the world can protect against the laissez-faire injustices inherent to global capital.
— Hua Hsu

Tim Brook
This is the most radical, tough-minded, and sustained analysis of 1989 and all that has followed that I have read. The punchy prose style gives the book an urgent, even strident, edge that makes it a pleasure to read. You feel yourself in the presence of a strong mind, as well as someone who cares deeply about the issues at stake here - issues of social inequality, social injustice, and a hegemonic world order committed to perpetuating both.
Tim Cheek
The contents of this book are intelligent and significant. Brought together they will make available to English readers a substantial selection of one of China's most influential public scholars today. Wang Hui is very important in contemporary Chinese intellectual life both for his numerous (and controversial) writings but also for his role as an editor of Dushu ['Reading'], China's most popular general intellectual journal.
William C. Kirby
This is an incisive, brilliant, always challenging analysis of China's intellectual landscape in the 1990s with the asserted triumph of "neo-liberalism" in the political economy over the reformist social movement of the late 1980s that culminated in Tiananmen. The discussion of the 1989 movement (and indeed later developments in economics and politics) in a global context is compelling and, at this level of analysis, unique among studies on the events of that difficult year. The analysis of debates of the '90s shows (at least to my mind) how problematic has been any effort to re-think, from the bottom up, the intellectual foundations of the modern Chinese state and indeed of "modernity" itself in China.
Merle Goldman
Wang Hui, one of China's preeminent intellectuals, makes an impassioned critique of China's much heralded post-Mao economic reforms, which he condemns for causing economic inequalities, social polarization, and political corruption. The essays in China's New Order convey the sense of moral concern and historic perspective of Wang Hui's literati ancestors, at the same time that they reveal the variety and complexity of China's present-day intellectual and political debates.
New York Times - Orville Schell
Unlike most other contemporary critics of China's reforms, Mr. Wang does not limit himself to economics. He dissects the big picture, calling on reformers to include culture, values and democratic governance in their assessments of success and failure. Such a critique is long overdue...Mr. Wang has become one of the first indigenous voices to critique China's 'economic miracle' fully and publicly and to find it a deficient remedy for the failures of socialism.
Far Eastern Economic Review - Jonathan Mirsky
The essential arguments are comprehensible and stimulating for Chinese intellectuals as well as for those Westerners who insist that post-Mao China is roaring down the right track, that money pushes aside the old political stupidities, and economic progress leads eventually to democracy. These are the assumptions Wang seeks to rebut and his rebuttal will be uncomfortable reading for those who see capitalism as a moral driving force as well as an enriching one.
Village Voice - Hua Hsu
Wang's problem comes when Westerners and Chinese alike misread reform as apologia for the past. Socialism may be lost, he reminds us, but its reason for being will remain unless China and the rest of the world can protect against the laissez-faire injustices inherent to global capital.
New York Times
Unlike most other contemporary critics of China's reforms, Mr. Wang does not limit himself to economics. He dissects the big picture, calling on reformers to include culture, values and democratic governance in their assessments of success and failure. Such a critique is long overdue...Mr. Wang has become one of the first indigenous voices to critique China's 'economic miracle' fully and publicly and to find it a deficient remedy for the failures of socialism.
— Orville Schell
Far Eastern Economic Review
The essential arguments are comprehensible and stimulating for Chinese intellectuals as well as for those Westerners who insist that post-Mao China is roaring down the right track, that money pushes aside the old political stupidities, and economic progress leads eventually to democracy. These are the assumptions Wang seeks to rebut and his rebuttal will be uncomfortable reading for those who see capitalism as a moral driving force as well as an enriching one.
— Jonathan Mirsky
Village Voice
Wang's problem comes when Westerners and Chinese alike misread reform as apologia for the past. Socialism may be lost, he reminds us, but its reason for being will remain unless China and the rest of the world can protect against the laissez-faire injustices inherent to global capital.
— Hua Hsu
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674021112
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 712,856
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Wang Hui is Professor of Literature and History at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Theodore Huters is Professor Emeritus of Chinese in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Rebecca E. Karl is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and History at New York University.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction by Theodore Huters

The 1989 Social Movement and the Historical Roots of China's

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