Professor Wang Gungwu, recipient of the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology, delivered a Tang Prize Laureate Lecture at Tang Prize 2021 on 20 November. In tracing China’s history from empire to nation, he relates in tandem his journey of becoming a historian, from being a Chinese overseas in his youth, then returning briefly to the motherland before starting a new life in a new country. “That seemed like the real meaning of my leaving China,” he says, “ requiring me to think as a huaqiao settling down as a citizen of a foreign country... But I did learn that I could leave China but China did not leave me.” Whether in his studies of the Five Dynasties period of the 10th century or Mao’s China and the struggle to find its future after throwing away its own past, he noted that wen (文)-texts supported central power and shaped the system’s collective memory, and were most useful as the shi (史) records of every dynasty. This nexus can perhaps help us understand how one Confucian past could serve to denigrate one set of leaders but provide greater legitimacy for another, and how the continuity of China’s history can be preserved in the future.
Last week, the Communist Party of China (CPC) passed a resolution on historical issues, the third such resolution in its 100-year history. Analysing the text of the resolution, Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at the way the CPC has shaped the narrative of the party’s history and how it has defined the guiding role of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” in bringing China to its next lap of development.
At the sixth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee which begins today, the CPC is expected to consider the “Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements of the Party’s Centennial Struggle”, the third of its kind in the party’s history. Rather than dwelling on the errors or lessons of history, the resolution is expected to reaffirm the party’s achievements and point the way ahead for the next 30 years.
Some analyses have sounded the alarm of China lurching to the left in a marked return to Maoism. On closer examination, says Loro Horta, China’s recent clampdowns on capital are rational and not exactly ideologically driven. Issues facing China, such as the need to tackle rising inequality, affect the ruling party’s legitimacy and longevity. These concerns may have a strong push effect on the authorities. In fact, rather than a reversion to Maoism, the Xi government seems to be embracing Confucianism as a basis to enforce social order and norms, just as it derides “evil fan culture” as a means to keep a tight rein on social control.
The Chinese authorities’ recent moves to regulate industries from internet platforms to tutoring to gaming have prompted fears of a new Cultural Revolution. Despite benign intentions expressed and a clear line drawn in the sand on history, what are people so afraid of? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong ponders the question.
China’s youth today are turning to Mao Zedong for inspiration amid a crushing sense of social immobility and injustice. But Wang Qingmin recalls the Mao era to be one of violent political struggles, anti-intellectualism, and cult of personality. Is a return to Mao really the answer?
Positive attitudes towards the Chinese Communist Party among the young have been on the rise. China’s relative success in combating Covid-19 has further impressed Chinese youths. More of them are becoming party members and are proud to be called “red and expert”.
George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, shares his thoughts on China’s evolution with Lianhe Zaobao on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. He sees the milestone as just a pitstop in the long journey of the Chinese nation. Fresh thinking and innovation will be needed as the country progresses. Equally important, developing a “broad-minded and big-hearted nationalism” which is humble and learns from others will keep China on the path of being a great nation. Here are edited excerpts from the interview.
Over a century, the city of Shanghai saw it all. Westerners fell in love with Republican Shanghai, where commerce and culture flourished; Japanese invaders advanced and retreated; communism and capitalism vied for a stage. Despite these ups and downs, Shanghai has maintained a demeanour and style unto itself. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao traces Shanghai’s days of glamour and the front-row seat it had in war, revolution, and reform.