China Beat Archive



Date of this Version


Document Type



July 21, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright July 21, 2009. Used by permission.


After a few weeks of vacation, China Beat is back to posting (though we considered making an 8 percent reduction in our future posts in honor of the UC furlough, we’ll just be back to business as usual). Even so, it is still summer and a few contributors have been using the time to publish in other venues.

Last Saturday, Ken Pomeranz mentioned a few of his recent publications, includingthis one at the New Left Review.

Jeff Wasserstrom recently reviewed Lisa See’s new book, Shanghai Girls for Time Asia. (We ran an interview with See this spring, which you can read here.)

The new issue of Journal of Democracy also features a piece by Wasserstrom, “Middle-Class Mobilization,” which revisits some issues he’s written about for China Beat and The Nation. This issue also includes pieces from Yang Guobin (a China Beat contributor) as well as Elizabeth Perry and Andrew J. Nathan. Journal of Democracy makes a few articles from each issue free; this issue the free-access articles are “The Massacre’s Long Shadow” by Jean Philippe-Béja and “Authoritarian Impermanence” by Andrew J. Nathan. (The other essays can be accessed through Project Muse, for those with library access.)

Here is a short selection from Wasserstrom’s piece:

I worry that some foreign observers will jump to the wrong conclusion when thinking about Chinese middle-class protests, especially if we see more and larger ones in the years to come: namely, that they signal the imminent arrival of the sort of democratic transition that has so often been predicted for China since the 1980s. When protesters took to the streets of Beijing twenty years ago, with the fall of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos fresh in many minds, some thought that the CCP would be toppled by something akin to the “people power” rising in Manila. Then, after Solidarity won elections in Poland and the Soviet system unraveled, some outsiders predicted that China would follow in the footsteps of one or another East European country. All it would take would be some “X factor” or other, perhaps the appearance of a reform-minded official with bold ideas or the rise of a charismatic organizer able to bring workers and intellectuals together.