Tiny terracotta soldiers found

Source: Live Science (11/13/18)
Hundreds of Tiny Terracotta Warriors Found Guarding 2,100-Year-Old Chinese Site
By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor

A 2,100-year-old pit containing a mini “Terracotta Army” has been discovered in China. Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics

Inside a 2,100-year-old pit in China, archaeologists have discovered a miniature army of sorts: carefully arranged chariots and mini statues of cavalry, watchtowers, infantry and musicians.

They look like a miniaturized version of the Terracotta Army — a collection of chariots and life-size sculptures of soldiers, horses, entertainers and civil officials — that was constructed for Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. Continue reading

Interview with Xu Youyu

Yaxue Cao has published an interesting interview with Xu Youyu in which he reminisces about the character development of Liu Xiaobo, the role of intellectuals during times of ferment, and Professor Xu’s own experiences of detention and interrogation.  Looking forward, he comments, “I don’t think that the fascist forces and tendencies in China have reached their extreme yet. The worst is yet to come.”–A. E. Clark <aec@raggedbanner.com>

Source: China Change (10/31/18)
An Interview With Xu Youyu: ‘The Worst Is Yet to Come’

This is part of China Change’s new interview series that seeks to understand the effort of civil society in bringing change to China over the past 30 years. The interview was conducted in June 2018 by Yaxue Cao, editor of this website, at Professor Xu Youyu’s home in Flushing, New York City. — The Editors

Xu Youyu, screenshot photo

Photo, Xu Youyu, China Change

Yaxue Cao (YC): Professor Xu, would you mind first introducing yourself to our readers?

Xu Youyu (XY): My name is Xu Youyu (徐友渔); I was born in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in 1947. I was in the graduating class at the Chengdu No. 1 Secondary School in 1966 when the Cultural Revolution erupted — right when I was enrolling for the national college entrance examination. Later, I got deeply wrapped up in the Cultural Revolution and became a leader of a mass organization, and as a result I gained a great deal of understanding of what it was all about. This has put me at an extraordinary advantage for studying the Cultural Revolution period in my scholarship now. I was one of the first new entrants to university in 1977 when matriculation resumed. But I’d only studied undergraduate for a little over a semester when, unprecedentedly, I was recommended to take the graduate exams. I transferred to the China Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing in 1979 to become a grad student, and worked at CASS from then on until my retirement. During that period, in 1986, I studied at Oxford for a couple of years. I retired in 2008. Continue reading

How Maoism Was Made conference

How Maoism was Made: Analysing Chinese Communism beyond the Totalitarian Lens, 1949-1965
Thu 29 Nov & Fri 30 Nov 2018
The British Academy
10-11 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH

2019 will mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, the world’s largest socialist society. Although popularly perceived as a rupture, historians have increasingly emphasised continuities across the 1949 divide, making the end of the Maoist system in 1978 a much more striking transition. The picture that emerges from the early PRC is one in which China is not a top-down totalitarian regime, but one enabled by ordinary people wishing to secure their place, including scientists, farmers, artists, and religious officials. By engaging with historians of the USSR, this conference will gather scholars of China offering new perspectives on the revolution, life under socialism, and the establishment of a new political order.


Gao Wangling obituary

Source: The Chinese University Press (9/6/18)
悼念高王凌教授 Obituary for Professor Gao Wangling
by Professor Felix Wemheuer (文浩)

The death of Professor Gao Wangling on August 24, 2018 at the age of 68 is very sad news for the field of Chinese history, but also for me personally. When I was a foreign student at Renmin University in Beijing from 2000 to 2002, I took several of his courses on the history of collectivization and peasants. Professor Gao was a well-known expert from the Research Institute for Qing History, but he also felt compelled to do research to understand the fate of Chinese peasants under Mao. His own experience as a “sent-down youth” in Shanxi during the Cultural Revolution deeply affected him so that he could not turn his back on rural China. I learnt from him that peasants in the Mao era were not naïve objects of party policies. Below the surface, they carried out “counter-actions” (反行為) such as underreporting of production, theft, organizing black markets or hiding “black land.” During the great famine (1959–1961), they lost the battle against a state that forcibly took too much grain from their villages. Professor Gao argued that peasants in the era of the People’s Commune were forced to react with “counter-actions” against state policies simply to survive. His research helped deconstruct the official myth of unity between the party and peasants. Continue reading

Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, no. 99

The latest issue of Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Vol. 99 is now available online at: http://www.mh.sinica.edu.tw/bulletins.aspx


Was Jesus a Filial Son? Changes in the Discourse on Filial Piety in Chinese Christianity from Late Ming to Early Republican China
By Lu Miaw-fen

The Transformation of Mobilization: The Rectification of Leftist Tendencies in the Taihang Base Area
By Wang Longfei

[Research and Discussion]

Intellectual History and Modern History: Recent Trends in English-language Scholarship
By Fu Yang

[Book Reviews]

Fan Guangxin, Confucian Canonical Scholarship as Arts of Governance—Jingshi Ideal among Late Qing Neo-Confucian Moral Philosophers of Hunan, Reviewed by Chiu Wenhao

Posted by: Jhih-Hong Jheng bimhas60@gmail.com

Cross-Currents, June 2018

New China-related content in Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review (June 2018 online issue):

Review essay:

Situating the History of Medicine Within Chinese History
Marta Hanson, Johns Hopkins University
Andrew Schonebaum. Novel Medicine: Healing, Literature, and Popular Knowledge in Early Modern China (University of Washington Press, 2016).
Hilary A. Smith. Forgotten Disease: Illnesses Transformed in Chinese Medicine (Stanford University Press, 2017).

Photo essay:

The Cultural Revolution in Images: Caricature Posters from Guangzhou, 1966–1977
Curated by Laura Pozzi, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Continue reading

Memorializing Sent-Down Youth

List members might be interested in the following recent publication.–Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

Bury Me With My Comrades: Memorializing Mao’s Sent-Down Youth
By Magnus Fiskesjö
Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 16, Issue 14, Number 4 (July 15, 2018)


Over the last decade or so, China has seen an unprecedented building boom of museums and memorials. One curious new genre is the museums for Mao-era “Cultural Revolution” youth “sent down” to the countryside by Mao during the 1960s and 1970s. After Mao’s death, they struggled to return to the cities. Surviving returnees have recently established several museums commemorating their suffering and sacrifice, even though the topic is politically fraught and the period’s history is strictly censored in official museums and histories. One museum, the Shanghai Educated Youth Museum, doubles as a memorial site and a collective cemetery for former sent-down youth who wish to be buried together. This paper locates these memorials and burial grounds in their historical and political context. It also reflects the Shanghai institutions’ copying of the design and architecture of the Korea and Vietnam war memorials in Washington D.C.

Keywords: China, sent-down youth, museums, memorials, cemeteries

Oldest evidence of human life outside Africa

Source: The Guardian (7/11/18)
Stone tools found in China could be oldest evidence of human life outside Africa
Discovery of simple stone tools suggests human ancestors were in Asia as early as 2.1m years ago
By Agence France-Presse

Scientists unearthed the tools at a site in the Loess Plateau in China.

Scientists unearthed the tools at a site in the Loess Plateau in China. Photograph: Zhaoyu Zhu/AP

The remains of crudely fashioned stone tools unearthed in China suggest human ancestors were in Asia 2.1m years ago, more than 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists said on Wednesday.

If correctly dated, the find means that hominins – the group of humans and our extinct forefather species – left Africa earlier than archaeologists have been able to demonstrate thus far, a team reported in the scientific journal Nature. Continue reading

Network of Concerned Historians 2018 report

Source: Network of Concerned Historians 2018

Below find the “China” section of the report. For the full report, see: http://www.concernedhistorians.org/content_files/file/AR/18.pdf


In [2017], civil law was amended to punish “those who infringe upon the name, likeness, reputation, or honor of a hero or martyr, harming the societal public interest.” The legislation introduced the term “historical nihilism.” Chinese President Xi Jinping perceived independent historians with critical ideas about the official history of the Communist Party and its heroes as producers of “historical nihilism.” In a 2013 speech, he had said that in recent years “hostile forces” at home and abroad had “attacked, vilified and defamed” China’s modern history with the aim of overthrowing the Chinese Communist Party. He believed that sloppiness on the historical front had contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.33

In March 2017, a historical novel, Ruanmai (Soft Burial) (People’s Literature Publishing House, 2016), written by Fang Fang, came under attack from Maoists because in describing the excesses during the land reform in the 1950s, it appeared to sympathize with the landlords. Critics believed that the novel discredited land reform, a major feat of the Communist Party of China, and saw it as a form of historical nihilism. The novel told the story of a dying woman, by following her buried memories and her son’s investigation of his family’s past. The wife of a rich landlord’s son in eastern Sichuan Province in the late 1940s, she witnessed her husband’s entire family committing suicide. Many of the landlords and their families were killed or tortured during the campaigns, even after their land was confiscated. The book was not banned. Continue reading

Comparative crackdowns

Matthew Robertson has an essay on China Change exploring the similarities between the crackdown on Falun Gong that commenced in 1999 and the vast coercive re-education program now being implemented in Xinjiang.


Mr. Robertson does not pretend to be an impartial observer; but in this short article he offers a remarkably perceptive analysis.

A. E. Clark <aec@raggedbanner.com>

Academia Sinica position

Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica position

Submission Deadline: September 15, 2018

  1. Position: Researcher (open rank Research Fellow, Associate Research Fellow, or Assistant Research Fellow).
  2. Field: Modern history.
  3. Qualifications:
    • Ph.D.(Taiwan or foreign). Applicants who have passed their final oral defense of doctoral dissertation are encouraged to apply.
    • Good comprehension of Chinese is required.
    • Under the applying Act, this position is not open to the P.R.O.C. citizens. Continue reading

How a Chu silk manuscript ended up in Washington

Source: NYT (6/8/18)
How a Chinese Manuscript Written 2,300 Years Ago Ended Up in Washington
By Ian Johnson

The Chu Silk Manuscript is from the Warring States period, around 475 to 221 B.C., a crucial era when lasting Chinese traditions like Confucianism and Taoism took shape.CreditCollection of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York, photograph courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

BEIJING — Sitting in an underground storeroom near the Washington Mall is a tiny silk parchment. Written 2,300 years ago, it is a Chinese version of the Dead Sea Scrolls, with text that swirls like the stars through the firmament and describes the relationship between humans and heaven.

For decades, the ancient document, known as the Chu Silk Manuscript, has fascinated people seeking an understanding of the origins of Chinese civilization. But it has been hidden from public view because of its fragility — and the uncertain circumstances by which it ended up in the United States. Continue reading

Wang Yang criticizes CR

Source: SCMP (6/7/18)
Top Chinese Communist Party cadre criticises Cultural Revolution for damage to tradition
Wang Yang applauds Taiwan for preserving aspects of the past in rare reference to party’s dark past
By Jun Mai

In Xiamen on Wednesday, Wang Yang (centre), chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, meets Taiwanese living in Fujian province. Photo: CNA 

The Communist Party’s top political adviser has openly derided the Cultural Revolution for damaging traditional Chinese culture, in a rare reference by a senior Chinese official to the dark chapter in the party’s history.

“The Cultural Revolution eliminated a large part of both the essence and the dregs of traditional culture on the mainland,” said Wang Yang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body. “But Taiwan preserved it well.” Continue reading

Tiananmen vigil in HK

Source: SCMP (6/4/18)
Tiananmen anniversary vigil in Hong Kong: event organiser Albert Ho gives eulogy declaring ‘ruthless regime will not last forever’
‘The wounds have not healed, the blood has not dried … and justice has not been upheld,’ says chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China
By Tony Cheung Kimmy Chung

All six soccer pitches at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay have been filled by attendees at the June 4 candlelight vigil. Photo: Winson Wong

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Victoria Park in Hong Kong to mark the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown with organisers of an annual candlelight vigil vowing not to stop calling for an end to one-party rule in mainland China.

The vigil is the only large-scale public gathering in China to remember the crackdown on June 4, 1989, that brought an abrupt end to a pro-democracy movement in the heart of Beijing. Many activists, including students and civilians, died. Though the death toll may never be known, hundreds, maybe more than 1,000, were killed.

While large crowds are still drawn to the event, attendance has dwindled in recent years. Organisers are estimating a turnout of 100,000 to 150,000 this time, despite a boycott by university student unions for the fourth year in a row. Follow the latest below: Continue reading

Archaeologist Zhao Kangmin dies at 82

Source: NPR (5/20/18)
Archaeologist Who Uncovered China’s 8,000-Man Terra Cotta Army Dies At 82

Lifelike clay soldiers at the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’an, northwestern China. The first figures were reconstructed by archaeologist Zhao Kangmin, who died Wednesday. Ludovic Marin /AFP/Getty Images

A Chinese archaeologist who identified a long-lost clay army consisting of 8,000 soldiers died Wednesday, according to China’s state media.

Zhao Kangmin first laid eyes on fragments of terra cotta warriors in 1974. Farmers some 20 miles from China’s central city of Xi’an were digging a well and struck into the pieces.

They had no idea what they had found — an army that had been interred for more than 2,000 years to guard China’s first emperor. Continue reading