Chinese Intellectuals on the World Frontier: Blazing the Black Path

Chinese Intellectuals on the World Frontier: Blazing the Black Path

Chinese Intellectuals on the World Frontier: Blazing the Black Path

Chinese Intellectuals on the World Frontier: Blazing the Black Path

Synopsis

This is the study of the status of intellectuals in the People's Republic of China during and after the events of Tiananmen Square. Currently intellectuals find themselves on the cusp of change as the socialist state monopoly on academia, scientific and technical research is yielding to market pressures. Universities must be, at least partially, self-sustaining. Entrepreneurial niches, outside of state control, are opening for intellectuals as industry privatizes. The entire society has shifted its focus from ideology to material wealth. These dramatic changes have forced choices on China's thought workers. English-Lueck, in conducting over a hundred interviews, highlights the choices and constraints of nonestablishment Chinese intellectuals at the end of the 20th century as they establish a new identity for themselves, and perhaps even for China.

Excerpt

This book is a story of journeys. Mine was to China to live, teach and learn. Chinese scholars sojourn to America, Europe and Australia, in person or along information highways, to follow similar agendas. China itself is on a journey, skirting the borderlands of the Westernized, globalized social realm, in search of “modernization.” Its intellectuals, scientists and engineers are the pilgrims in that quest.

Many books, in diverse narrative styles, can and have been written about China. They may cover vast periods of time from macroscopic cultural overviews spanning three thousand years or focus on microscopic analyses of policy in a single decade. This volume was assembled with some specific issues in mind. in the style of postpostmodernism, this book has a concrete research focus—the choices and constraints of nonestablishment Chinese intellectuals at the end of the twentieth century as they establish a new identity for themselves, and perhaps even for China.

From August 1988 to January 1990 I lived in a university compound in southwest China, which I visited again in 1994. Out of that sojourn, taken in the tumultuous year that surrounded the events of Tiananmen Square, evolved the research that led to this book. My daily association with my Chinese colleagues, students and friends brought me in touch with an emerging social category in the People’s Republic, nonestablishment intellectuals, who are neither political leaders nor dissidents. Interviews about the future of Chinese education, science and society allowed me access to their visions, values and personal vignettes.

This group finds itself at the cusp of change. the socialist state monopoly on academia, scientific and technical research is yielding to market pressures. Universities must be, at least partially, self-sustaining. Entrepreneurial niches, outside of state control, are opening for intellectuals as industry privatizes. the entire society has shifted its focus from ideology to material wealth. These dramatic . . .

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