China Beat Archive



Date of this Version


Document Type



March 19, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright March 19, 2009. Used by permission.


We like to keep tabs on the contributors who write for us, and some of them have been publishing some interesting pieces lately. Here’s a quick reader of five excerpts from China Beatniks.

1. At Inside-Out China, Xujun Eberlein has translated an essay (in two parts) by Sun Liping, professor of sociology at Tsinghua University. The essay has been making the rounds on the Chinese Internet. A selection:

In recent years, signs of societal breakdown have become more apparent. The core problem is the loss of control over power. During the past 30 years of reform, despite the establishment of a basic framework for a market economy, power remains the backbone of our society. Because societal breakdown first appears as the loss of control over power, corruption is but the surface manifestation. By loss of control over power I mean that power becomes a force unconstrained not only externally, but also internally. Before this, although it lacked external constraints, internal constraints had been relatively effective. The power base is weakening; several years ago we had already heard the saying “commands don’t reach outside of Zhongnanhai [the headquarters of the CCP and China’s Central Government].” Local power and sector power have become unconstrained from above and unmonitored from below, at the same time lacking any check or balance from the left or right. This is to say, state power is fragmented, and officials are unable to work responsibly. To preserve their positions they don’t balk at sacrificing system benefits (not to mention societal interest). With this background, corruption has gotten beyond control and become untreatable.

2. Earlier this month, Jeff Wasserstrom analyzed the legacy of the Beijing Games, six months later at History News Network (HNN):

The Chinese government had varied international goals vis-à-vis the Games. Three key ones were to present the PRC as the following things: modern, not to be feared, and a place that ethnic Chinese living in different countries can identify with—however they once felt about Mao or now feel about the Chairman’s successors.