Blood Letters of a Martyr

Source: LARB, China Channel (5/19/19)
Blood Letters of a Martyr
By Ting Guo
Ting Guo talks to Lian Xi about his new biography of Lin Zhao

On May 31, 1965, 33-year-old Lin Zhao was tried in Shanghai and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment. She was charged as the lead member of a counter-revolutionary clique that had published an underground journal decrying communist misrule and Mao’s Great Leap Forward, a collectivization campaign that caused an unprecedented famine and claimed at least 36 million lives between 1959 and 1961.

“This is a shameful ruling!” Lin Zhao wrote on the back of the verdict the next day, in her own blood. Three years later, she was executed by firing squad under specific instructions from Chairman Mao himself.

Lin Zhao’s father committed suicide a month after Lin’s arrest, and her mother died a while  after her execution. In Shanghai, where I grew up and where Lin was tried, imprisoned and killed, the story (the sort told only in private) goes that Lin’s mother was asked to pay for the bullets that killed her daughter. It is also said (in private) that in the years that followed, at the Bund, the former International Settlement on the Huangpu River, one could see Lin’s mother crying and asking for Lin’s return. Continue reading

Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, no. 103

The latest issue of Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Vol. 103 is now available online at:


Mysteries over the “Famous Thirteenth Article”: Controversies Arising from the Supplementary Treaty Signed by China and Britain in 1843
By Lawrence Wang-chi Wong

Gentry Power and Trust Crisis in Late Qing Jiangnan: A Case Study of Changshu
By Xiaoxiang Luo

Qian Mu’s Road to Academia Sinica Academician
By Chi-shing Chak

[Book Reviews]

Yu Miin-ling, Shaping the New Man: Chinese Communist Party Propaganda and the Soviet Experience, Reviewed by Mao Sheng

Posted by: Jhih-hong Jheng <>

Arts of Asia (May-June 2019)

Arts of Asia May/ June

This year’s May/ June edition of Arts of Asia is dedicated to the East Asian art collection at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, Norway. East Asian Art has never had much of a priority in Norway, but the way that the Cultural History’s collection is now being treated is fairly grim. The collection has been packed away for storage for an undisclosed amount of time, and no one knows when or even if it will be exhibited again. Several of the items written about in Arts of Asia have never been exhibited or written about prior to this publication.


Linn A. Christiansen <>
PhD candidate at Leiden University

Contending for the ‘Chinese Modern’

Dear Colleagues,

When the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement approaches, I’m pleased to announce that my book Contending for the Chinese Modern: The Writing of Fiction in the Great Transformative Epoch of Modern China 1937-1949 (604 pp.), published by Brill, has gone to the printer and will be available soon. This book studies the writing of fiction in 1940s China. Through a practice of political hermeneutics of fictional texts and social subtexts, it explores how social modernity and literary modernity intertwined with and interacted upon each other in the development of modern Chinese literature. It not only makes critical reappraisement of some renowned modern Chinese writers, but also sheds fresh lights on a series of theoretical problems pertaining to the issue of plural modernities, in which the problematic of subjectivity, class consciousness and identity politics are the key words as well as the concrete procedures that it undertakes the ideological analysis. –Xiaoping Wang <> Continue reading

Hundred Days’ Literature

Dear colleagues,

I would like to take advantage of this mailing list to announce the publication of my (first) book, Hundred Days’ Literature: Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910, published by Brill in its “East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture” series.

Lorenzo Andolfatto
Hundred Days’ Literature: Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910. Leiden: Brill, 2019 – East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture series, Volume 11. ISBN: 978-90-04-39884-9

From the Editor’s presentation:

In Hundred Days’ Literature, Lorenzo Andolfatto explores the landscape of early modern Chinese fiction through the lens of the utopian novel, casting new light on some of its most peculiar yet often overshadowed literary specimens. The wutuobang or lixiang xiaoshuo, by virtue of its ideally totalizing perspective, provides a one-of-a-kind critical tool for the understanding of late imperial China’s fragmented Zeitgeist. Building upon rigorous close reading and solid theoretical foundations, Hundred Days’ Literature offers the reader a transcultural critical itinerary that links Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward to Wu Jianren’s Xin Shitou ji via the writings of Liang Qichao, Chen Tianhua, Bihe Guanzhuren, and Lu Shi’e. The book also includes the first English translation of Cai Yuanpei’s short story “New Year’s Dream.” Continue reading

Censorship in Chinese Studies (6)

Brill has terminated its agreement with Higher Education Press in China to distribute Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, Frontiers of History in China, Frontiers of Law in China and Frontiers of Philosophy in China to customers outside China, effective 2020. Brill will continue to fulfill existing obligations to current customers.

Lauren Bissonette <>

Made in China 4.1: Smashing the Bell Jar

Dear Colleagues,

I am glad to announce the publication of the latest issue of the Made in China Journal. You can download the pdf for free and subscribe at this link: Below you can find the editorial:

Smashing the Bell Jar: Shades of Gender in China

Sun and moon have no light left, earth is dark;
Our women’s world is sunk so deep, who can help us?
Jewelry sold to pay this trip across the seas,
Cut off from my family I leave my native land.
Unbinding my feet I clean out a thousand years of poison,
With heated heart arouse all women’s spirits.
Alas, this delicate kerchief here
Is half stained with blood, and half with tears.

Qiu Jin, 1904 (translated by Jonathan Spence) Continue reading

Censorship in Chinese Studies (5)

Further on the Frontiers/Brill censoring:

One of the more pernicious aspects of this particular episode — which, as Kirk points out and as I know, is far from the only one at Frontiers  — is how the censorship is given ex post facto intellectual sanction by the editor(s) of the journal. If reasons of market are used by publishers to militate against challenging the Chinese State, and if hastily designed intellectual arguments from respected scholars located in North American institutions also are used to do so, the problem is far more advanced than a few unfortunate exposures of greedy business practices.

We all operate in zones of intellectual judgement, as well as in various degrees of fraught and challenging political environments; nothing is simple. Yet, if we cannot be honest about what we’re doing, then the ghost is up for sure.   One would hope that the scholarly community at large would not stand by for a surrender to deception.

Rebecca Karl, Professor
NYU History

China Story Yearbook: Power

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to announce the publication of the China Story Yearbook: Power. You may read it online on our website (HTML):, Or download PDF and ePub versions from the ANU Press:

In 2018, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was, by most measures, more powerful than at any other time in its history and had become one of the most powerful countries in the world. Its economy faced serious challenges, including from the ongoing ‘trade war’ with the US, but still ranked as the world’s second largest. Its Belt and Road Initiative, meanwhile, continued to carve paths of influence and economic integration across several continents. A deft combination of policy, investment, and entrepreneurship has also turned the PRC into a global ‘techno-power’. It aims, with a good chance of success, at becoming a global science and technology leader by 2049 – one hundred years from the founding of the PRC. Continue reading

Literature in the Age of the Anthropocene

Gwennaël Gaffric, La Littérature à l’ère de l’Anthropocène. Une étude écocritique autour des œuvres de l’écrivain taïwanais Wu Ming-yi [Literature at the Age of Anthropocene: An Ecocritical Reading of Wu Ming-yi’s Works]
Foreword by Stéphane Corcuff
Asiathèque, Collection « Études formosanes »

Editor’s presentation:

Taking an ecocritical approach, Gwennaël Gaffric discusses in this book the literary treatment of ecological issues in Taiwan and beyond. He focuses his study on the works by Wu Ming-yi, a major figure in Taiwanese literary, artistic and militant scenes, but he seeks to expand his presentation by putting in perspective and dialogue texts from other contemporary Taiwanese authors, as well as reflections proposed by thinkers from several disciplines and all geographical horizons. He achieves an impressive synthesis, where ecology becomes an ontology of the relationship between humans and non-humans and an epistemological path to think the Anthropocene. Continue reading

Censorship in Chinese Studies (4)

This is not the first case of censorship at Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. I know of multiple instances of authors who have had their essays censored or who have pulled their essays because of censorship. Yes, one might expect censorship from a China-based publication, though that doesn’t make it any less disappointing or wrong, and I am sympathetic to the good people working at the journal who do the best they can do produce quality scholarship. But when you load the editorial board and the editorship with scholars working in universities outside of China and when the journal is distributed through Brill, the expectation is that the journal will conform to certain standards of academic freedom. I’m glad that Jasmin Lange at Brill “will not hesitate to take any necessary action to uphold our publishing ethics.” I hope that we as an academic community can also uphold our ethics and speak out against this censorship.

Kirk Denton <>

Censorship in Chinese Studies (3)

Yes, there is censorship in FLSC. Is anything published in the PRC not somehow impinged upon by those above? However, I would like to add to this conversation that when I published an article with FLSC the editor and the editorial board members went up to bat for me against those censors when I wrote about Taiwanese literature as opposed to “Taiwan literature.” In my humble opinion, tiny, incremental change is better than hand wringing refusal to engage.

Bert Scruggs <>

Censorship in Chinese Studies (2)

Inside Higher Ed has now written on FLSC‘s censorship.–Kirk

Source: Inside Higher Ed (4/19/19)
Censorship in a China Studies Journal
Scholars say they thought a journal was run on Western standards of free expression, but they found Chinese government control instead.
By Elizabeth Redden

Yet another account of censorship involving a China studies journal has come to light. And the scholars involved say this case involves an insidious “blurring of boundaries” where they were misled into thinking Western publishing standards would apply when in fact the journal in question was subject to Chinese government censorship.

Lorraine Wong and Jacob Edmond, both professors at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, have written an account of the censorship they encountered when they edited a planned special issue of the journal Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. The journal is published by the Netherlands-based publishing company Brill in association with the China-based Higher Education Press, an entity that describes itself on its website (in Chinese) as affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education. The journal’s editorial board lists scholars from major American and international universities — including Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Washington — and its editor in chief is based at New York University. The journal’s editorial office is located in Beijing. Continue reading

Censorship in Chinese Studies (1)

Since 2012 Brill has had an agreement with Higher Education Press (HEP) in China to distribute the journal Frontiers of Literary Studies in China. HEP is responsible for the editorial process and production of the journal. Brill distributes the journal in print and online to customers outside China. We are very concerned about the developments that were described in the recent blog post by Lorraine Wong and Jacob Edmond. Brill, founded in 1683, has a long-standing tradition of being an international and independent publisher of scholarly works of high quality. We are committed to the furthering of knowledge and the concepts of independent scholarship and freedom of press. The cooperation with HEP is currently under review and Brill will not hesitate to take any necessary action to uphold our publishing ethics.

Jasmin Lange
Chief Publishing Officer