“Returning to Revolution” on China’s Turning Point Attracts Eyeballs
Picture caption: The new book “Returning to Revolution: The Heated Debate On the Eve of Great Change in China” edited by rights defense lawyer Teng Biao and scholar of political transition Wang Tiancheng at the Hong Kong Book Fair. (Photograph: Qiao Long)
The 2015 Hong Kong Book Fair opened on Wednesday (July 15) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. A book edited by rights defense lawyer Teng Biao and scholar of political transition Wang Tiancheng, book “Returning to Revolution: The Heated Debate On the Eve of Great Change in China,” was also brought to public attention by Greenfield Bookstoreon the same day. The book’s contents include contributions by dozens of scholars in China and abroad on the major transition ahead in China, and shows the authors’ independent reading on issues in China.
The Book Fair, held by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, held its opening ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday, by which time not a few residents had already begun lining up, beginning 1am that morning. Attendees were allowed in by organizers at 10am, and a number of them remarked that they’d come prepared to spend HKD$1,000 on books. At the Greenfield Bookstore stall, a new volume by Teng Biao, a human rights lawyer in exile in the United States, and Wang Tiancheng, a scholar of political transition, attracted a great deal of attention, particularly by young mainland readers. These young visitors hoped to understand Chinese society better through such “banned books.”
The book collects together important articles on Chinese political transition written over the last decade, and especially in the last few years, by over 50 scholars and democracy activists inside and outside China. The contents attempt to outline and describe the new form of democratic revolution around the world, the new character of China’s own potential democratic transition, and discusses the renewed “return to revolution.” Topics discussed include the changes in discourse around revolution, the contention between reform and revolution, the dissident movement and the rights defense movement, the debate between gradualism and demands for rapid change, the conditions for China’s transition, and the methods and strategies by which it may be effected, and more.
One of the editors of “Returning to Revolution,” Teng Biao, said in an interview with Radio Free Asia on Wednesday that it’s interesting to see many more people discussing the topic of revolution.
“This title, ‘Returning to Revolution,’ is obviously a response to the views in ‘Goodbye to Revolution’ by Liu Zaifu and Li Zehou published in the mid-1990s. In the middle of the ‘90s there was also a lot of intense discussion about that volume. Here we primarily focus on the last few years, and on the debate between reform and revolution. The pieces we’ve collated express different views. Some propose a system of presenting ideas to the government, some call for revolution, some suggest reforms. We simply want to show an extremely interesting shift in the Chinese intellectual sphere, and also the political and social context and background behind this shift.”
book “Returning to Revolution: The Heated Debate On the Eve of Great Change in China,” published by Origin Books, distributed by Greenfield Bookstore.
(Correspondent: Qiao Long; responsible editor: Hu Hanqiang/JiaHua)
What is revolution? Does revolution refer only to violence? Is revolution necessary? Can liberty and democracy be realized without revolution? If revolution is undesirable, is it avoidable? If revolution is in fact desirable, does China currently possess the conditions for it? What are the lessons from history, and from around the world? What is the relationship between opposition movements, rights defense movements, and revolution? This book attempts to address these questions from multiple perspectives and stances.
— Teng Biao (human rights lawyer, Harvard University law school visiting scholar, editor of this volume
Numerous signs indicate that China’s economy is currently in serious decline. Decades of rapid economic growth since the late 1970s and early 1980s have helped to prolong the life of the Chinese Communist Party — but now, it may not have another 30 years of the same good luck. Xi Jinping’s retrogressive policies means he is taking a major risk — he may be the last dictator of China. The hopes for reform under his rule have been quickly dashed. But they may not be a bad thing. Only when the people have lost all hope in Zhongnanhaiwill they be able to look back upon, discover, and liberate their own powers.
— Wang Tiancheng (scholar of political transition, Tiananmen Democracy University provost, editor of this volume)
Wang Tiancheng… Preface: From hoping for reform to calling for revolution… 1
Part One: Is Reform Dead? … 27
Wu Guoguang… Reform in China is Over… 29
He Qinglian… The Gains and Losses of Reform… 40
Chen Yongmiao… Delivering a Death Sentence to Reform… 55
Chen Ziming… From “Reform” to “Regime Change” … 63
Zhao Dingxin… Will Revolution Take Place in Contemporary China? … 79
Sun Liping… New Foundational Thoughts for Social Transformation… 97
Li Weidong… The End of the Road for the “Red Empire” … 108
Zhang Boshu… The Rise of a “Red Empire”? … 118
PengShou… If The Communist Party Doesn’t’ Reform, Will Revolution Take Place in China? … 128
David Shambaugh… The Coming Collapse of the Communist Party… 133
Andrew Nathan… How Long Can the Communist Party’s Authoritarian Resilience Last?
Part Two: Challenging Gradualism… 149
Wang Tiancheng… The Time Has Come for China to Change… 151
Ye Du… The Destruction of Illusion: The End of Hopes for Gradualist Reform Under China’s New Totalitarianism… 176
FengChongyi… See Through the Miasma of “Gradualism,” Open the Gates for Democratic Transition… 186
Cha Jianguo… Ten Commentaries on Democratic Transition … 198
Li Yongsheng…Examining the Factors Contributing to the Decline of Calls for Democratic Transition… 206
Wang Yaqiu… Must the Development of Civil Society Precede Democratic Transformation? … 215
Part Three: Reform Versus Revolution
Tai Hui… Reform Isn’t Necessarily More Peaceful, Revolution Isn’t Necessarily More Violent… 223
RongJian … Can China Say Goodbye to Revolution? … 234
Zhu Xueqin… Excluding or Embracing Revolution Are Both Dangerous… 240
Jin Guanshou… Can the Chinese People Say Goodbye to Revolution? 245
Jin Shoufeng… The Illusion of Revolution as Terror… 255
Pan Qing… On Revolution and Reform… 264
Huang Woyun… Reform, Revision, and Revolution… 277
XuYongliang… The Cost of Reform Far Exceeds That of Revolution… 287
ZhengYongnian… From Reform to Revolution: The Norm of Political Change in China… 293
Wu Si… Revolution Will Not Suddenly Erupt in China… 300
PeiMinxin… China’s Silent Political Revolution… 307
Cheng Xiaonong… Can China Hope for a “Velvet Revolution”? … 311
Part Four: The Dissident Movement and the Rights Defense Movement … 315
Teng Biao… Citizens Rights Defense Movements and China’s Political Transformation… 317
JiWeilie… The Democracy Movement Before June 4, and the Rights Defense Movement After It… 327
GaoZhisheng… Rights Defense As a Non-Violent, Political, Organized, And Protest-Based Moved… 336
XuZhiyong… The New Citizens Movement and China’s Great Changes… 341
Ye Du… The Southern Street Movement: Political Opposition in the Age of Social Media… 349
Xiao Shu… Organized Rights Defense: The Inevitable Path to Casting Off the Stability Maintenance Era… 354
Fan Yafeng… The Essential Ingredients of the Weiquan Model and Its Theoretical Foundations… 369
GuoFeixiong… Political Structure Transformation and a Political Civil Society… 377
Fang Jiahua… Rights Defense and Revolution… 382
Hu Ping… Rights Defense and the Democracy Movement… 387