DIPLOMACY AND INTERNATIONAL MONETARY POLICY: Options for China in the Renminbi appreciation conflict (final draft)

•December 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

INTRODUCTION

Money, at least as a concept, is worth more now than ever. In the modern world, the majority of transactions occur in relation to a single paper currency with arbitrary value. Monetarism unlocked money as a commodity, and has enabled states to manipulate the flow of currency to optimize human transactions. With the aid of information technology, these transactions can occur inconceivably fast. Yet, like all commodities, money can be controlled, and in manipulating its flow comes power. The international flow of money challenges our ideas of national sovereignty, and by that token, those who control the flows challenge our definition of competitive advantage within the global marketplace.

Enter the People’s Republic of China (PRC). To some American policymakers, China is the preeminent currency manipulator of our time. Like Japan, our latter day protectionist, we have blamed the PRC of using unfair tactics—among which, monetary policy—to develop at our cost. Unlike Japan, the PRC has yet to give in to international pressure.

To wit, a slow fury has manifested among politicians and their disaffected blue-collar worker constituents. They blame China of using a combination of a fixed exchange rate and massive flows of dollar reserves to anchor their currency, the renminbi (RMB), to a level far below the US dollar. The value differential makes for uncompetitive pricing of products; their exports win out to the degree that it has whittled away the American heavy industrial sector.

One way or another, development must continue. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members must develop negotiation strategies to counter the increasingly persuasive and emotional arguments of Washington in order to retain full control over their nation’s developmental destiny. In my mind, the best strategy for winning this contest resembles the famous TIT FOR TAT strategy: nice, retaliatory, forgiving, and clear (Axelrod 1984: 54).

First, with the historical context of the RMB revaluation conflict, I will argue that the current exchange rate regime has evolved from a combination of harrowing events. Inflationary spirals put a premium on state involvement in the currency swap market, an environment of “hot money” incentivized capital controls in tandem with fixed exchange rates. When these policies brought about rapid growth, China became reticent to change and increasingly dependent on inflation controls via sterilized foreign exchanges. In the eyes of scholars both East and West, this volatile combination has to change.

Second, I will sketch this conflict as a game, one featuring a framework based on the assumption that China must keep authority over its monetary policy. I will argue that given the players and their interests, and with consideration of negotiation theory, this game is one that currently unfolds away from the bargaining table, but may be headed there in the near future. However, before making a case for a particular negotiation standard, I suggest that there are some important limitations for creating a negotiation strategy, for instance, the difficulty of realistically representing asymmetrical information between players.

Finally, I will theorize a negotiation strategy considering escalation on three levels.

The first level, where we are presently, occurs prior to formal negotiation. China’s prerogative is to keep negotiations informal for as long as possible. Yet, escalation is still the next best solution given the immediate prospect of sanctions.

The second level, negotiations, puts China’s authority over its reforms into peril. Although the best means for ending bilateral tensions and achieving meaningful reform can probably occur through negotiations concentrated on the appreciation timetable, worse comes to worse, China can simply use delaying techniques to buy themselves time to implement their own reform.

In the third level comes economic sanctions, and on this subject I agree with Lawrence H, Summers’ statement that this conflict is “a balance of financial terror” (Goldstein and Lardy 2008: 349-353); escalation ought to be avoided by all parties, but this is no guarantee that it will not happen.

1. BACKGROUND

Chinese monetary policy has changed a great deal since the beginning of reforms, yet the RMB conflict has some degree of historical contingency.

To wit, the experiences of three stages of Chinese economic reforms informed policy makers’ prerogatives. First, in the first stages of reform in the 80’s, as China was hit by a series of inflationary cycles, policymakers opted to take on greater amounts of foreign exchanges and allow firms greater freedom to swap exchanges.

Second, the rise of China in the 90’s brought the pegging of the RMB paired with capital controls; these conditions were ideal for the foundations of a robust exchange regime, but also starting a dangerous trend with rate of saving.

Third, in the 00’s, a new source of tension appeared: as China began to accrue foreign exchange at an accelerated rate, the US began to raise some serious questions.

1.1 In the First Stages of Reform

There is specific merit in exploring the events that led the leadership of the PRC to peg the RMB to the dollar in 1994. Given the background of three inflationary cycles, one more dangerous than the last, one may explore the peg not only to help unlock the reasons why policy makers are invested in the system, but also to explain how foreign currency—most notably the dollar—remains a crucial element to the financial stability of the Chinese economy.

The first inflationary cycle occurred in 1981 during the shaky first years of reform. Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping was beginning to assert his authority over the CCP. To finance his campaign, Deng pushed for generous fixed asset investment and overshot his 25 billion yuan budget for 1980 by 300%. The resultant increase in the base money supply generated great inflationary pressure (Shih 2008: 94-99).

Despite the momentum for reform manifesting from key political victories over Hua Guofeng’s conservative faction, reformers too were divided, and Deng’s camp squared off against head of the Economic and Financial Commission Chen Yun’s. Friction from this conflict influenced anti-inflationary reforms. An austerity program featuring a lending balance (xindai pingheng) aimed at curtailing the growth of money supply.

Meanwhile, in 1980 the Bank of China (BOC) opened its first foreign exchange adjustment center (waihui tiaoji zhongxin), and then the following year engineered the internal foreign exchange settlement system (neibu jiesuan zhi) (Liew and Wu 2007: 66-70).

Between these two systems, foreign trade companies were allowed to trade in foreign exchanges accrued from export sales at the rate of 2.8 RMB per dollar. For the first time, foreign currency could be exchanged without significant domestic currency losses (74-75).

The second inflationary cycle of 1985 also occurred alongside heated factional tensions, wherein Chen Yun took the first signs of inflation as an opportunity to pressure Deng into calling for an economic retrenchment. Non-performing loans (NPLs) also manifested, and in response technocrats in the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) created the first overtures for an independent national banking system (Liew and Wu 75-80, 80-4; Lardy 1992: 124-127).

Victor Shih posits that the factions, bickering over the degree of influence the central government should have on economic growth, found common ground when they accepted the largely anti-inflationary prescriptions of the banking technocrats (2008: 122-123). And so, in 1985 the government unified the dual exchange rates for trade at the internal settlement rate and opened the first foreign exchange adjustment centers.

In doing so, they attempted to channel foreign exchanges into the accounts of foreign invested enterprises (FIEs). Further, by facilitating exchange swaps between FIEs, the government aimed to lower the foreign exchange costs for acquiring RMB. Finally, officials began to manipulate the fixed rate of the RMB as a means to export promotion, with mixed success (Liew and Wu 2007: 72-75).

The third inflationary spiral occurred in 1988. Although in the mid-80’s there seemed to be little inflationary pressure, indications of overheating started to appear in 1987. By 1988, double digit inflation had gripped major cities across China. In reaction, once again the State Council agitated for retrenchment. Favoring price liberalization and regulation of fixed asset investment, Deng and Zhao Ziyang spurned the State Council.

Unfortunately, these policies were unable to rein in the rampant inflation. The subsequent Tiananmen Square massacre and corresponding upheaval at the highest echelons of the Party constrained Deng’s reform options and locked him into conducting a three-year retrenchment period.

By 1992 prices had stabilized, but with the conclusion of fiscal austerity, a massive influx of foreign exchange caused the RMB to depreciate rapidly. Officials eventually intervened through the swap market, putting the brakes on as the currency approached 7 RMB per dollar (Shih 2008: 127-142).

Ultimately, the 80’s was not only a time of influential reforms, but also of repeated inflationary cycles. Victor Shih’s research has suggested a deeper meaning for the reoccurrence of inflationary cycles: economic centralization would acquire growth through price stabilization, but prosperity was flummoxed as generalists intervened through expansionary fiscal policy (Shih 2008: 62-63).

In short, the account the mixed outcomes of the reforms are best reiterated through Deng, who said during his Southern Tour: If we issue a bit too much currency, or if price fluctuation is a bit too large, or if redundant investment is a bit too serious, we create some waste. But, how should we comprehensively view those five years of high-speed growth? (1984-1988)…In my evaluation, the high speed growth in those five years achieved quite a bit.

1.2 The Rise of China

Social scientists have continually discussed the impact of monetary policy on the rise of China. Some issues in monetary policy are not particularly contentious, for instance, cheap currency undoubtedly contributes to a nation’s export orientation. But there also are more controversial issues, such as the role of monetary policy in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).

China’s exchange rate regime emerged through the 1994 reforms and was a major factor for China surviving the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) relatively unblemished despite criticism from policy analysts abroad. For this reason, the connection between the peg and China’s rise is yet another contentious topic.

The first years of the 90’s saw Deng searching for competent replacements in the aftermath of the Tiananmen shake up. One of his most prominent disciples was Zhu Rongji, who rose to become the economic tsar of the Jiang Zemin regime. Zhu was a banking technocrat known for designing effective anti-inflation policy. In 1994, after the swap rate plunged fifty percent, authorities under the direction of Zhu fixed the swap rate at 8.7RMB per dollar with a .3 percent band and unified the official and swap rates at this fixed level.

Because this reform would eventually allow for the conditionally convertibility of the RMB for current account transactions, it had profound implications on the purchase of foreign exchange reserves. Zhu and his fellow technocrats did not anticipate the deeper implications of the reform; they simply conceived of it to prevent mass capital flight in the case of hyperinflation, articulated by the dictum “easy to get in, hard to get out” (kuanjin yanchu).

Nevertheless, with the unification of rates, the RMB began to appreciate and remained stable for years at the 8.3 RMB per dollar range (Shih 2008: 151-163). The currency stability came with a side effect: periodic exchange market intervention and sterilization was necessary to limit inflation due to excessive credit (Goldstein and Lardy 2008: 13-16).

A stress test for this system occurred with the AFC. Neighboring economies were toppled left and right, many of them acceding to the wishes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by adopting a floating exchange rate. China too faced deflationary pressure, and factions within contemplated revaluation and exchange rate regime change.

One side, the PBC and the State Development and Planning Committee (SDPC), wanted no devaluation and moderate and fixed exchange rate flexibility (respectively). Another side, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC), preferred devaluation and a fixed exchange rate. Zhu, then head of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economics (CLGFE), pushed for a no-devaluation policy. A fixed exchange rate was useful for deterring “hot money”, but by itself was not sufficient to reignite the engine of development.

Infrastructural spending facilitated by the PBC was responsible for reinvigorating the economy and buoying the rest of East Asia (Grimes 2009: 122-131). Hence, in the 90’s Beijing had found a policy capable of keeping the RMB stable: PBC purchases of foreign exchanges. By injecting the foreign currency into the market (via the sterilization process), policymakers found a way to provide excess capital liquidity without altering the base money supply.

However, the rise of foreign exchanges to a higher rate of savings. Starting in the 2000’s, analysts would begin focusing on this indicator as the handmaiden of global economic disequilibrium.

1.3 A New Source of Tension

For the last decade, Chinese monetary policy has created a great deal of tension in the Sino-American relationship.

China’s new found position within international production chains and its admittance into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 has conferred the prestige and responsibilities of a great power. Yet, the PRC was also blamed for destabilizing the international political economy. In particular, the US began to suspect that China’s previously successful foreign exchange regime gave the nation an unreasonable competitive advantage.  In 2000 and 2001, even as Zhu extended lines of credit to rural cooperative credit unions and to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), lending was still relatively restricted.

This changed as Jiang, arguing that firms and local banks need closer ties to ensure steady growth, influenced the PBOC to simplify lending procedures and increase lending rates. Jiang’s aims were to dismantle the highly centralized financial system Zhu put into place. Financial offices previous designed to oversee PBOC and state bank branches in limiting NPL and facilitating repayment efforts were employed to pressure banks into bankrolling local firms and public projects.

Even as Wen Jiabao succeeded Zhu in 2003, the money supply was ratcheted up and the growth of fixed asset investment reached a ten-year high (Liew and Wu 2007: 91-102). Despite rapid capital expansion, China’s comfortable fiscal position and steady manipulation of interest rates seemed to ward off inflation. Dollar reserves and a bounty of FDI from American investors caused China’s balance of payments surplus with the US to grow at a mind-boggling rate. Congress took note of the currency manipulation.

On February 3, 2005 US senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced S. 295, a bill threatening Chinese products with tariffs if the RMB was not appreciated. Ostensibly in reaction to this threat, on July 21, 2005 China took the RMB off its fixed rate anchor and gently appreciated the RMB by 2.1 percent, and has been appreciating 6 percent per year ever since (Burdekin 2008: 33-41). Beijing’s appreciation of the RMB, merely a token gesture, was not sufficient to reverse the imbalances.

China has continued to run a massive surplus with the US, even employing a sovereign wealth fund for a smoother utilization of its massive exchanges account. Congress has proposed numerous counterattacks— HR 2942, S 1607, and S 1677 in 2007, S. 1254 in 2009, and in 2010 circulated a petition with 150 signatories from congress  demanding China revalue the RMB. Each of these complaints has attempted to leverage economic sanctions to assure Chinese reform. Obviously, the conflict of this situation has increased.

Overall, it is possible to get a sense of how China’s experience as a transition economy has shaped its monetary policies. First, in dealing with inflationary cycles, the state set a precedent of intervention into the domestic currency market.

Second, China’s experience with regional financial crisis not only created an attachment for a pegged exchange rate regime but also spawned a structure designed to insulate the economy from inflation.

Third, greater amounts of foreign reserves were necessary to create a clear path for China’s climb into the WTO and the G-20, but such policies has come at the expense of congenial relations with the US. The time of monetary policy reform is nigh.

2. THE RULES OF THE GAME

With the background of the conflict thus discussed, it is now possible to discuss some pertinent issues behind sketching the hypothetical motions to solve this conflict. While there is a great deal of literature prescribe policies to deal with this conflict, few deal with how China and the US can implement the ideal policy prescriptions.

Broaching the topic of how to negotiate around the conflicting interests of each party is necessary for implementing a policy of mutual benefit, and there are three areas that need clarification before one can sketch out how negotiations might play out. First, I will explain some basic assumptions going into this particular scope and how it will shed light on the nature of strategizing, particularly in the sense that gambits shape the arena of debate.

Second, I will explore the players of the game, explaining the goals they bring into play, and briefly presage how the players’ gambits may affect coalition building. Third, I will state some caveats intrinsic to my scope.

2.1 The Renminbi Conflict as a Game

Analyzing the renminbi conflict as a game entails thinking strategically about a hypothetical moment of bargaining. While a purely analytical scope can expose the core interests of each nation’s policymakers and their overall perspective on how economic growth ought to occur, this scope cannot document the precise amount of weight an actor may place on a given interest. An example of this point in action is that parties are free to frame ambivalent terms depending on their negotiation strategy.

At the bargaining table, one is free to lower the visibility of a contentious phrase or make it as high profile as slander. Viewing the conflict as a game is useful for prescribing strategies for diplomatic action. There are many reasons to think about conflict strategically, and with conflict, human beings have the capacity to plan even in the absence of a structured framework. For one, people approach conflict with limited frontier of ambitions: to make somebody understand principles (i.e. abstract details, such as human rights); to decide on value (i.e. material details, such as a trade agreement); to build personal rapport (usually between elites or classes of elites); to minimize tension (e.g. by presaging action, making your side seem more predictable); to assert authority. These goals can coexist in a single debate, and they are defined by their practicality.

Our basic means for satisfying our ambitions occurs through appeals, including: appealing to emotions (e.g. to empathy for a class of people worth defending); appealing to overarching principles (i.e. natural rights); appealing to line of reasoning (i.e. that a conclusion is implied or assumed in the broader argument set forth); appealing to consequences of an action; appealing to one’s personal character (i.e. between elites).

In this sense, it is not necessary to create a rigid framework to discuss conflict resolution.Yet, it is still worth consulting a few tomes on the subject of negotiation theory. The vast majority relies on the work of Howard Raiffa (1982) and Max Bazerman (Bazerman and Neal 1992), and their framework seems to work at a basic level with the RMB conflict. To them, negotiating games are comprised of four dimensions: issues, parties, levels, and linkages. Although the simplest analyzed conflicts occur between two parties with a single issue, in a single level with a single round, the unique thing about negotiations in analysis is that the original actors party to negotiations can influence which issues emerge, how they emerge, which additional actors are included, and which levels negotiations take place on; negotiation theory thus accounts for the evolutionary aspects of negotiation.

Each dimension is variable, and within the context of a conflict bound to change—indeed, by limiting a conflict to simple negotiations, one may unduly limit the ability of parties to solve their problems. By this token, Devereaux, Lawrence and Watkins (2006) draw upon the framework of the emergent process of negotiations to discuss US trade negotiations, including the Sino-American negotiations just prior to China being admitted to the WTO. In doing so, they have created a solid approach to strategies in complex negotiations in two particular faculties.

First, they document the strategies players can take in complex negotiations through a two-by-two matrix that contrasts actions away from (i.e. preparing for negotiation versus unilateral actions) and at the bargaining table (i.e. bargaining within versus about the rules of negotiation).

Second, they argue that players can exercise seven different strategies: organizing to influence, selecting the forum, shaping the agenda, building coalitions, leveraging linkages, and creating momentum (Devereaux, Lawrence, and Watkins 2006: 18-35).

Ultimately, this framework elucidates how one should approach negotiations by giving us a roadmap for the process and taxonomy for analyzing the nature of strategies. For now, we ought to focus on understanding the motivations driving strategy formation, mainly by focusing on who the players are and what their relationships are to the conflict.
2.2a Players of this Game

The most basic restatement of the framework thus stated is that players manifest goals and articulate appeals and the venues for displaying goals and appeals differ wildly depending on the motives of the actors. But just what makes a player in a negotiation? The answer is complicated, for players can be added to a game for instrumental purposes and their goals vary in bearing to other players, sometimes even existing as a mutual interest.

Not just China and the US have an interest in the revaluation issue, yet the conflict is often framed as a bilateral conflict. This contradiction exists for a reason: when a simple negotiation between two parties is rendered as a complex negotiation, there may be some pressure to use coalition building, both inside and outside of national lines.

To state that players are actors who have a vested interest in talking out the RMB conflict implies that a player can be one of the principal actors to the conflict (China and the US), and it is possible for apparently secondary actors to be conscripted into play. International organizations such as the IMF and WTO and third party countries such as the European Union, Japan, and Korea are good examples. However, because of the nature of the conflict—or at least how it is depicted in the literature—the greater portion of my focus will be on framing this conflict as one between China and America bilaterally.

2.2b Some Caveats

As with many models, this particular scope of the RMB conflict has its limitations. Specifically, there are three major limitations to rendering the RMB conflict as a game. First, there is the limitation of hypothetical scope. Rendering the Sino-American relationship as a game has its benefits. For one, compared to a purely descriptive scope, rendering conflict as a game offers a conceptual framework for hypothesizing the full extent of a conflict, based upon the interests of each actor involved in the conflict. However, the results of my study are part of a hypothetical case, and thus flatter than real world case studies.

Second, there is the limitation of asymmetrical information. This is a crucial limitation that requires our full attention if we are to derive any insights from our game. Asymmetrical information is defined as one actor having imperfect information as to the intentions of one or more actors. This can occur simultaneously on different levels as well. For instance, one could say that the case where President Obama must plan for negotiations over the RMB conflict.

This is a two-level game where each actor has imperfect information. Obama, as the center point, would be forced to decide whether congress would prefer to enter formal negotiations or continue with consultations, and decide the same about the Chinese representatives. Mind you, in negotiations the best practice is not to exploit ignorance by blindsiding a rival.

It seems to me that the best strategy is to exploit imperfect information by redefining the issue in terms useful to your cause. For instance, it would be in a Chinese negotiators advantage to exploit an ignorance on the timeline for implementing revaluation to their advantage, pushing for a much more gradual revaluation rather than the steep “down payment” revaluation demanded by Goldstein and Lardy’s three-step program (2008: ).

Third, and most critical of all, there is the limitation of the straw man.  Although the framework of negotiation seems to conceive of the whole of a nation or institution considered a unitary player, in reality complex negotiation by definition is about a two-level game, as defined by Robert Putnam (1988) as a scope that views players dealing with conflict on the international level while simultaneously dealing with the consequences of their actions within the decision making structure.

With this in mind, it will be very useful to understand the political forces that have mobilized within each nation, but also to understand the different bearing each political force has on the decision making structure. With this issue, there are fractures between the legislature and the executive in the US, and between political elites and business elites in China. But with the majority of the arguments furthered by theorists, asserting the economic reforms ideal for long-term economic growth, it is difficult to segregate classes for a particular nation, and to understand whether the ideal is actually implementable.

A particular reform may have certain beneficiaries and certain victims, but within the economic literature, few document the classes that affect the implementation of the prescriptions. Yet, it is worth noting that this failing has a reason. Our understanding how Chinese decision makers are influenced by forces within the nation is crude at best given the opaqueness of the party-state: outside of public statements, we are not privy to policy debates that occur among the Chinese political elite.

Hence, while it is in my best interest as a research to understand negotiations as a two-level game, the limited information make it difficult to get a full, unbiased picture of domestic politics. Thus, within the established scope, there are some critical limitations. Examining a hypothetical negotiation process by nature is an act of self-delusion. Yet, if one is careful in one’s speculations, sketching out a hypothetical negotiation is a form of lateral thinking that can expose some of the blocks to successful implementation of RMB revaluation. One means of making a solid case is to assume that negotiations are always just a little bit unpredictable; awareness that gambits are simply a tentative arrangement allows one to fully comprehend the implications of analysis.

Finally, it is in our best interests to remember that the opinions voiced within the full body of academic literature represents only a small subset of the Chinese public, let alone those who have the political resources and will to influence the Chinese trade negotiation team.

2.2c Their Broad Goals

With China and the US as the principal players in the RMB conflict, it is worth defining their goals, as expressed by policymakers and intellectuals.  China’s basic goals in the RMB conflict are as follows:

To understand the US model of growth, particularly for development into consumption-based growth

To calculate the value of the current RMB policy on development

To calculate the value of neoliberalization

As to monetary policy, appeal to the principle of national sovereignty

To argue that in the context of financial liberalization

……Revaluation alone is not sufficient to reverse the trade or balance of payments surplus…Revaluation must be done gradually

…Immediate capital account liberalization will probably be harmful

…That there is inadequate evidence that flexible exchange leads to faster capital account adjustment

…That the choice between exchange rate flexibility and fiscal policy effectiveness is one that ought to be reserved to national policymaking for the foreseeable future

To build an understanding between US policymakers via SED consultations

To further cultivate an understanding on the topic

To assert authority over matters related to exchange rate liberalization in East Asia, viz the policy of transition via gradualism

Some goals are completely in harmony with US goals. Orthodox economists for the most part seem to be determined to understand how to transition into consumption-based growth, and a certain population of this orthodoxy (read: New Keynesians) has given greater weight to the consumption issue in light of the 2008 global financial crises. Additionally, some economists—not necessarily heterodox ones—agree with the logical arguments put forth by Chinese economists. And certainly, policymakers want to build rapport.  America’s goals apart from China’s are as follows:

To understand the optimal package of reforms necessary to revalue and float the RMB while accomplishing financial liberalization

To assert that the US has the moral high ground necessary to bring in the IMF and/or WTO or other nations into the conflictTo calculate the losses incurred by the trade and balance of payment imbalances

To appeal to the principle of optimal economic policy viz monetary policy (i.e. neoliberal development’s universal appeal)

To argue in the context of financial liberalization……Revaluation must occur ASAP, not gradually

…Revaluation plus other financial reforms can reverse the trade and balance of payment surplus

…The floating exchange rate is an economically optimal regime

…That monetary policy is preferable to fiscal policy to developed nations (neoliberal belief)

To assert (political) authority over judging economic malfeasance

To assert (intellectual) authority over neoliberal developmental policy

Non-principal actors have bearing on the situation in a variety of ways, but strategically their merit lies in the gambit of coalition building. By this token, each side of the table has its own international coalition from which to draw.

First, although the EU has many of the same goals (i.e. the EU also has a massive trade deficit with China) as the US in bringing suit against the China, the issue for one reason or another had less salience to EU policymakers up until the recent past.

One may also note that outcomes of diplomacy may well increase the salience of the issue to the EU. If China decides to diversify its exchange holdings, it may adopt the euro with increasing enthusiasm, thus bringing EU goals on the RMB conflict closer in line with US goals. Additionally, if the conflict breaks down into protectionism, there is also a chance the EU could get drawn into the economic melee. In sum, the EU is the most likely national addition if the US wished to make the issue multilateral.

Second, China too has allies, although there is greater political unsteadiness, all things being equal. Examining the literature, and there seems to only be a vague potential for cooperation among North East Asian nations, mostly relating to the (unlikely) possibility of founding an Asian Currency Unit or any other attempt to come together for monetary solidarity.

Third, the US may be able to recruit the IMF or WTO with the right amount of pressure. However, at the moment this seems like a difficult proposition, as IMF officials tend to prefer high-level consultation. WTO action is even less likely, as it need to resolve a major jurisdictional problem with the IMF before it could act on the matter.In sum, I have sketched out the contours for a framework for conceptualizing a hypothetical negotiation over Chinese currency revaluation and/or exchange rate reform. In any particular case, resolving the RMB conflict would involve actions taking place away from and at the bargaining table, actions expressing views within or against the rules of negotiation. The actors involved with the conflict are variable, and the myriad of views expressed are sometimes confliction and sometimes complementary. However, with our particular case, we must keep in mind the appropriate limitations.

3. RESOLVING PLAY

In the previous section, I detailed the complexities of the trade negotiation process, unlocking some key details of its emergent form. Even with this framework in mind, there is very little certain about how, or if, the RMB conflict will end. We do not yet know the actual intensity of debate that may ensue on this subject, nor do we know which policy options the US will take to pressure the Chinese into revaluing and floating the RMB. We do not even know whether Chinese policymakers will decide to solve this problem on their own.

It is in our best interest to capture the diverse amount of settings for debate and our uncertainty of the magnitude of the conflict that will be generated in the process.

Therefore, to forecast how the RMB conflict may be resolved in the future, I will hypothesize how negotiations will proceed on three potential levels, the particular debates that manifest in these particular levels, how each side approaches each debate in order to further their cause, and the conditions for or implications of escalating the debate.

I will discuss how the actors attempt to solve the conflict prior to formal negotiation (1) through three options: bilateral mediation, complete inaction, and unilateral policy. I will argue that China has an advantage at this level so long as it can prevent unilateral policy, and that perhaps is one of the most likely causes for escalation.During formal negotiation (2), each side will color the debate by launching many different strategies. The US will attempt to bring in allies and place the debate into a forum that favors its interests; it is in China’s interests, to aggressively employ whatever means possible to sidetrack debates, to appropriately argue that keeping policy in Beijing’s hands is to the mutual benefit of both nations, and to cautiously alert the world of the contradictions in America’s position.When negotiations have concluded and reaction policy starts to come into effect (3), the world will face an entirely new set of conditions.

I will argue that after failed negotiations each nation is constrained from committing to constructive actions. At this point, reactionary policies would probably seek to punish malfeasance, and may result in greater harm than help. It is in everybody’s interest to avoid this situation, but because nobody can guarantee that it will not occur, it becomes the lynchpin to China’s advantage in the second level.

3.1 Level One

Level one encompasses all actions that occur prior to formal negotiation. For that reason, we can assume that some of strategies applicable for this domain are being used today. Elaborating on the conditions facing each nation, it is notable that both sides tend to take RMB revaluation as a necessity, and that there are some key similarities on how they believe it should occur, namely how it should be figured into liberalization or economic change as a whole.

However, there is also a fair amount of evidence that there is ambivalence on each side, with the greater part being the battle in America among coalitions both domestically and internationally. For this reason, China will continue to have control over the issue if it can keep debate at this level, but escalation will be more likely if the trade imbalances sustain within the recessed global economy.

3.3.1 Conditions Prior to Formal Negotiations

To speak of conditions of this setting is to speak of a combination of consonance and dissidence, with the former being the consultative process occurring between the two sides, and the latter being the policy formation process occurring both as a result of consultation, but also in spite of consultation. How can it be that the consultative process is successful, yet its influence on reforms is limited at best?

Answering this question requires one to define the constituent parts of the consultative process. One part of the consultative process is the constructive debate between Chinese and American non-political elites. One piece of evidence of the dialectical gears turning at this level is Morris Goldstein and Nicholas Lardy’s Debating China’s Exchange Rate Policy (2008). Written to document the developments at a conference hosted by the Peterson Institute in Washington D.C. on October 19, 2007, this tome juxtaposes the opinions of American and Chinese intellectuals (e.g. Kenneth Rogoff and Fan Gang), political figures (e.g. Lawrence Summers and Wu Xiaoling), and business experts (e.g. Jonathan Andersen and Stephen S. Roach), with some arguing against the contention that an immediate revaluation is necessary, and some affirming it.

This conference is but one of forms of scholarly exchanges between experts in the field, and at least within the pages of the book it inspired, there is some hope that there is a middle ground on revaluation that is acceptable for all parties. With Goldstein and Lardy’s anthology in mind, one can assume that major academic conferences commence to figure out what combination of liberalizations are ideal for allowing exchange rate reform.Another, less visible part of the consultative process is mediation between top Chinese and American leaders. Mediation occurs through personal trips between high officials (read: the President, Secretaries of Treasury and State, the Premier, Vice Premier, State Councilors), private consultations, and bilateral forums for discussion, for instance, through the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue held biannually since 2006.

These venues are in stark contrast to meetings at IMF conferences and WTO ministerial meetings because they lead to less hard commitments and contractual agreements. Yet, these venues are greatly important for future negotiation. Although these meetings are relatively secretive and lack hard bargaining, it can be argued that they represent a major point of influence over a number of the reform process.

Mediation holds a special importance to hearing dispute resolution in Chinese society, and at high levels personal contact is a major attribute that politicians can bring to negotiation. Rapport should simply not be overlooked as a tool for building personal trust and successful negotiation (Lee and Hwee 2009: 67-70, 101-107, 150-167). I believe these consultations are useful for reinforcing the value of including exchange rate reform in the broader context of financial liberalization.

Despite continued discussions in academia and political forums, reforms have not occurred, and this has led to charges that while intending to gently suggest that reforms are in the best interest of the state, Washington has actually done nothing at all. Indeed, there is little proof that China has taken a major step in the direction of exchange rate modification, or financial liberalization for that matter.

One possible cause for this occurs due to a difference of interpretation of the meaning of reform. On the American side, we have rubrics of exchange rate reform like Morris Goldstein and Nicholas Lardy’s three-stage approach. This prescription occurs over three stages: first, an immediate 15% appreciation followed by yearly appreciations of similar magnitudes, coupled with widening the peg’s band for daily fluctuation by 1 to 1.5%, alongside financial liberalization and target fiscal policy; second, over the next three years, more appreciation of 6 to 8% a year, coupled with more broader reforms; third, four or six years following the second phase, a commitment to float the RMB with broad reforms (Goldstein and Lardy 2008: 53-54). On the Chinese side with politicos such as Wu Xiaobing, we merely have a commitment to eventual currency appreciation.

When Chinese CEOs agitate for RMB appreciation, as reported in a Bloomberg Report in March 24, 2010, even they show favoritism of gradual appreciation. The fact of the matter is that Goldstein and Lardy’s argument that a “down payment” of a major appreciation does not have any traction among most Chinese elites. It could be that they are still traumatized by the last speculative wave that occurred in the wake of exchange rate adjustment, they have not been sufficiently persuaded by American academics such as Goldstein and Lardy, but the true cause of varying opinion over the appreciation timeline—hence, the grounds for agreement over exchange rate reform—remains ground zero for dissonance among academics.

Another source of dissonance occurs between political factors responsible for negotiating with China on the RMB conflict. Whereas the executive branch has taken the strategy of biding its time and engaging in high-level mediation, congress has taken a more proactive approach in past years, including proposing seven bills from 2005 to 2010 (S. 295, HR 2942, S 1607, S 1677, S. 1254, H.R.2378 and S.3134) and circulating a petition dated calling for countervailing tariffs, audits of China against the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, and involvement of the IMF and WTO to oversee this case. The petition in question was dated March 24, 2010 and contained the signatures of 150 congressmen and women.

Dissonance on this issue between the legislature and the executive is only natural; after all, legislators are more accountable to constituents and lobbying groups such as the AFL-CIO, UAW, and the relatively nascent Fair Currency Coalition. Conflict between branches also occurred in the midst of the battle to pass Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), and the Clinton administration relied on strategic coalition building to minimize opposition when the bill came to vote in the House of Representatives as HR 4444 (Deveaux, Lawrence, Watkins 2006: 292-298). Needless to say, given the framework of the two-level game, the existence of a coalition with a competing set of negotiation tactics can harm the integrity of America’s bargaining strategy.

3.3.2 Scoring Points and Escalation

Given the conditions at this level, what strategies can players take to maximize their success? For America, their policymakers currently take the criterion for success in pushing for gainful reform with as little perceived coercion as possible. Linking reform to aid, as with the AFC, has damaged actors’ credibility in the past. Pushing for exchange rate adjustment to be conducted in bad faith would limit the nation’s ability to act on economic imbalances in the future. But where does that leave China’s goals?

Success for Chinese negotiators can be placed in the area where informal negotiation has most bearing on the end goals for the Chinese side. In other words, in order for China to score points in this round, they must do whatever it takes to keep their definition of RMB appreciation the most salient. By furthering the gradualist approach to currency exchange, the Chinese side manages to achieve a goal in word in common with the US but without the political risk involved with sudden appreciation. Any perceived loss of control on this issue may be interpreted as a loss of national sovereignty, and this is a blow the Party is unwilling to endure.

Additionally, this round is beneficial to Chinese negotiators because mediation, characterized by its flexibility of rules, allows them dictate the terms of debate. Whether their goal is to find a common ground between staying the course and the three-stage appreciation, or simply an attempt to defer action for as long as possible, remaining in the first stage of negotiation should be the main goal of Chinese negotiators at this time.

Yet, the threat of escalation is an interesting twist, for it can happen in one of two ways. There is the possibility of negotiation escalating into bilateral or multilateral formal negotiation—level two, and there is also the possibility that the executive branch will decide (or will be successfully compelled) to agree with congress’ logic and immediately impose a countervailing tariff—thereby escalating to level three. So long as Geithner and Obama keep mum about the exchange rate in the immediate aftermath of the SE&D, there is no real way to predict whether they will adapt the hardliner stance.

Assuredly, as the trade and current account move farther away from equilibrium, particularly in the context of the sustained high levels of unemployment, the pressure to take a hardened stance will begin to weigh on the executive. A level three escalation should not be ruled out entirely, and in that case it would be in Beijing’s interest to settle on the second best of formal negotiation. Chinese policy makers ought to continually observe the sentiments of the American public and their congressmen in order to anticipate a level three escalation.

As an additional note, it may be the case that China initiating an escalation to level two, ceteris peribus, benefits them. The first mover advantage may confer agenda setting powers they might not otherwise have, so in final estimation China would perform best by thinking strategically and believing that, when push comes to shove, engaging in formal negotiations may not be as onerous as they imply.

3.2 Level Two

Level two encompasses formal negotiations. Formal negotiations on this issue will probably occur through the impetus of an actor. The US will most likely make its case by bringing the EU onto its side, or by shaping the agenda to that of the IMF and/or WTO approved forms of good governance. Despite the logical weight of these arguments, multilateralism can jeopardize decisive action; multilateral litigation or arbitration can be a painstakingly slow process. Assuming a failure to set a bargaining range for RMB appreciation, China’s response should be to exploit the bureaucratic plod of the world stage to railroad the issue in order to buy time to implement reform unilaterally. By emphasizing that Chinese policy makers have the same interests as those expressed internationally, and then to suggest that the differences in opinion are unwarranted given America’s stake in the problem and its precedent to overreach into domestic economic issues.

China has the tools to succeed in the bargaining phase, provided it can keep American trade representatives at the table, or at the very least from advocating for sanctions or other reactionary protectionist policies.

3.2.1 Conditions During Formal Negotiations

Consistent to the framework proposed by Bazerman and others, it is difficult to forecast the emergent processes of negotiations on the RMB revaluation conflict. However, given the interests of the actors, there are two constancies that we can assume as probable in any given version of negotiation at this level.

First, to address negotiation options, having established RMB appreciation timetables to be the most sensitive and crucial area for debate, the best practice for reaching a compromise is by establishing a bargaining range for appreciation.

Second, to address negotiation forums, the US will rely on multilateralism, possibly as a means of escalation, to further their argument that China is a currency manipulator. Meanwhile, in the event of dissatisfaction with bargaining, China may take advantage of the weaknesses latent to this approach to negotiation. Although the greater portion of the argument is this section approaches the US and Chinese versions of the RMB appreciation policies as mutually exclusive, this is not necessarily the case. Compromise is possible, and the best way of doing that would be through arranging a bargaining range. Devereaux, Lawrence, and Watkins define the bargaining range as the buyer’s maximum subtracted from the seller’s maximum (2006: 20).

For the purposes of the RMB conflict, negotiators may bargain over a number of things that can be quantified using a bargaining range, including magnitude of appreciation, sustained years of currency appreciation, and so on. An example of the simplest formulation of negotiation of this style would be over the down payment appreciation, as per Goldstein and Lardy’s three step plan. There is not guarantee that this would work: if China is particularly inflexible about the notion of down payment, or simply adverse to allowing another nation to dictate the terms of its reforms, then negotiations will break down.

From here, each party would need to apply leverage to reach a resolution. One simple way to increase one’s position in formal negotiations is to bolster one’s ranks. As Jean Pisani-Ferry notes, this is certainly applicable for America’s position in this conflict. In the past, the EU has gotten a free ride off the efforts of US officials to bring China to task.

However, in consideration that the EU trade deficit is growing against China, especially in recent years, EU officials have begun to warm to the idea of proactively engaging China. Despite the conventional wisdom, the EU is capable of acting on the conflict: they do not actually fear the unintended consequences of revaluation and have a coordinated view on trade policy. In short, they now have willingness to accompany their capacity to act in tandem with the US (Goldstein and Lardy 2008: 268-278).

In addition to the EU, there is the IMF and WTO as contributors to making the issue multilateral. As mentioned previously, advocates of immediate action against China’s exchange rate regime (such as certain lobbyists and congressmen) are interested in getting the IMF and/or the WTO involved in the debate. With trade issues, multilateralism has its benefits, and American policy makers understand this.

Under the GATT/WTO system, multilateralism as a platform for liberalization is one that is highly resilient in the face of stiff political opposition. For one, it allows for great salience for the losers of reform, possibly leading to compensatory action More commonly, however, multilateralism is a great enabler for reforms because of how it locks nations into change, allowing political agents to focus protesters’ attention to it instead of themselves (Stern 2009: 172-175). A major benefit of multilateralism that is most relevant to this issue is that it allows for greater consistency of the norms and rules brought into play.

Bringing the RMB conflict to the IMF and/or WTO reframes the conflict in a manner that confers advantage to the US. Unlike the mediation phase of negotiation, bargaining within the framework of something like the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) gives both parties access to a less malleable negotiation system, forcing each to hold fast to their commitments, and effectively jeopardizing China’s strategy of deferment.

Unfortunately, there is also a major downside to the multilateral approach. Because multilateralism by definition involves many actors engaging in many rounds of negotiation, it is not the most effective platform for demanding decisive action. While it may be true that each party involved may have similar interests on the issue, this is no guarantee for timely performance. One articulation of this point is that the US has not employed the WTO to litigate China because there is a jurisdictional debate—there has been no precedent of the WTO intervening on currency issues.

Because this conflict occurs between two intensely bureaucrat organizations, it is safe to say that this jurisdictional conflict will not be solved without the passage of time or external pressure from US stakeholders.In fact, placing negotiation into a multilateral arena gives China an opening to delay even more effectively. If Chinese policy makers choose to do so, it could agitate for the inclusion of Japan, another economy that runs on an undervalued currency.

Either through coordinated effort or simply by virtue of expanded interests, China would exploit this situation by means of toxic issues, red herring subjects, and other gambits that would delay the process. In particular, the WTO DSB is an example of the inefficiency of multilateral bodies in resolving disputes. Unfortunately, the DSB’s record speaks for itself: as of 1998, a paltry nine of two hundred cases has successfully passed through every stage specified in the Dispute Settlement Understanding. Besides moving to delay action in a multilateral venue, China can also use multilateralism to minimize America’s claim over the issue through ways.

First, Chinese policy makers can argue that they ought to have first say over how reforms should take place. Chinese experts tend to argue this very thing through the “balance-of-payments approach to the monetary accounts” approach. Needless to say, between the two nations there is at least some ambivalence as to the full implications of the currency misalignment, and Chinese negotiators could exploit it.

Second, China could use multilateralism, a venue of greater salience, to agitate against the contradictions in the US’s reform agenda. Two possible means of accomplishing this include, first, an appeal to the importance of national sovereignty—an issue not unknown to cautious IMF technocrats.

Second, and more persuasive, China could use an appeal to the problems of the dollar as a reserve currency. Arguing against the dollar is an effective way to gain the developing world on your side, particularly within East Asia. Populated by countries with a flummoxing combination of undeveloped financial markets and yet held to the dollar standard, East Asian debtor nations facing “original sin” are sensitive to the demand that East Asian nations need to float their currencies, for they dealt with the insurmountable risk of currency mismatch compounded by maturity mismatch when they experimented with a float. Creditor nations in this position also suffer the problems of the float in addition to balance of payments imbalances.

In a particular point of view, their syndrome of “conflicted virtue” makes it difficult for them to appreciate their national currency to truly rid themselves of dollars or rectify the Americans’ reluctance to save. Yet, appreciation will definitely lead to deflationary spirals (McKinnon 2005: 5-14, 239-244). China could very easily draw from the paranoia of developing nations on this topic. Broaching this subject allows China to frame moves such as proposing a new world currency standard as opposing a negligent hegemonic power. Although implementing IMF special drawing rights as the world reserve currency is no easy task, it does issue a challenge to America that may offer significant leverage in the context of a second level negotiation.

3.2.2 Scoring Points and Escalation

Previously, I have established I have established that multilateralism is a double-edged blade in the advancement of US interests in the second level of debates. Yet, I have not explained how this affects the overall strategy of both sides of the RMB conflict. For America, it creates a very difficult choice for how to proceed. Multilateralism has had a mixed record, especially with an eye to solving disputes between the US and China.

With this in mind, it may be a good idea for China to suggest multilateralism when the threat of level two negotiation occurs, for policy makers could easily demonstrate that Japan ought to be included and from there railroad the proceedings. For America, a good strategy with consideration of the efficiency problems of multilateralism, is to consider “priming” a venue before starting negotiations. The US during the first stage generally has the incentive to bring the case to China, so it certainly has a window to prepare for negotiations. For multilateral organizations in particular, there are some specific ways to prepare for intense negotiation.

One possible way to do this is to get non-governmental organizations to do the heavy lifting viz framing an argument. Bringing in the UAW, AFL-CIO, USW, and other key constituents of the exchange range adjustment would allow for the construction of a compelling narrative. Finally, these NGOs could also be handy for consultation as to how the US could “sweeten” the deal with key concessions made to spare the workers who might be affected by the sudden deflation. Such a balanced approach would effectively undermine the framing techniques Beijing would attempt to use. The costs for outright dissension rise in a second level game, so it would be unwise for Beijing to consider ending the policy of delaying as end all strategy.

Instead, for this round they should attempt to keep the bargainers at the bargaining table as long as possible, regardless of the concessions, for at this stage, China should believe that avoiding escalation is probably more important than avoiding assenting to America.Escalation in this issue, at least in the view of many, is tantamount to the nuclear option, and Lawrence Summers even acknowledges this by referring to the escalation into protectionism each side offers to be a form of “balance of terror”.

However, there is a certain consideration that may paint our understanding of how escalation into level three would occur: timing. To wit, at what point do we consider it likely for the opposing party to react to protectionist policy—would it be as congress is finalizing the bill or as the bill came into service? Ultimately, this gives leeway for the nuclear option to be used as a bluff. A strong offensive strategy, in other words, may be the right amount of external pressure to force a last-minute concession from Beijing. However, we must also keep in mind that such a reform would obviously be made in bad faith—there is no guarantee that one instance of assent would imply China would not renege on its promise.

3.3. Level Three

Level three encompasses the policy aftermath of failed negotiations. This level represents the Rubicon crossing point when political elites of both countries consider harder ways to bring about change, comprised of tariffs, economic sanctions, and other protectionist policies. Although there is a contingent that believes that sanctions would be to America’s benefit, I will argue that the political fallout from this event will probably be far more painful than the reform it might inspire. The only palatable way for the US to act in this domain, in my opinion, is as a bluff to inspire last minute concession, but even this technique is dubious at best.

3.3.1 The Endgame?

In the context of currency revaluation, protectionism does not necessarily lead to further conflict, owing to the continuum of protectionist policies. For the cases in question, let us assume that the US’s reactionary unilateral policy, in line with 2005’s US bill S. 295 would impose a countervailing duty of 27.5 percent on all Chinese goods. Would this action alone be enough to trigger sufficient backlash to create a real disincentive against protectionism? Robert E. Scott and Paul Krugman argue that American policy makers should has nothing to fear in being hardnosed in the face of Chinese currency misalignment. Krugman argues that a currency sell off would not affect interest rates, and that the resultant depreciation ought to give our export an advantage in the world markets, and also reminds readers that temporary duties placed on West Germany and Japan in 1971 gave them the necessary pressure to revalue their currencies. Scott adds that even if one act of protectionism gave impetus for protectionism internationally, the most likely situation would be rampant protectionism against China, possibly culminating into a multilateral response to exchange misalignments.

Yet, in my mind, this is an oversimplification of the nature of protectionism and economic warfare. For one, these views tend to underestimate the demonstrative effects of protectionism. As the GAO’s study in 2006 argues, countervailing duties are hard to effectively apply (a) without being accompanied by antidumping tariffs and (b) information about subsidization in China is incomplete, so double counting would be almost guaranteed (GAO 2006: 14-18).

Second, and more importantly, Krugman and Scott underestimate the negative externalities from protectionism. Namely, they conveniently ignore the potential that this economic conflict could perpetuate itself in political conflict. This outcome is hard to predict but should not be ignored. Taking the second point further, one finds that although China’s strategies following unilateral protectionism becomes suitably zero sum—that is, shape up or shape out—there absolutely will be freedom to act after this initial decision.

In other words, for American, escalating to the brink comes with some form of medium-run political costs. Such is the surcharge America pays for having unprecedented amount of oversight in the exchange rate regimes of nations around the world.

In this section, I have discussed how the RMB revaluation issue might unfold and some strategies for China in the three varying levels of escalation. First, prior to formal negotiation, China ought to do its best to defer formal negotiations. The only path to formal negotiations with assured success is in anticipation of sanctions.Second, in formal negotiations, it is in China’s interest to keep America at the bargaining table, and one possible means is by conjuring delays in a multilateral forum. However, assent should always be place at a higher priority than escalation. With the third level, countervailing duties are imposed on China. At this point, “the only winning move is not to play.”

CONCLUSION

Talking about the possible negotiations that would transpire in reaction to the RMB conflict solicited some interesting conclusions. First, on the topic of the historical contingency of China’s reforms, I found that inflationary cycles triggered by undisciplined fiscal policy led to the implementation of a pegged exchange rate. The continual purchases of dollar reserves is a natural outcome of this ad hoc system, but in recent years it has become increasingly unstable and the dominant economic theories suggest that it will soon reach critical mass viz the sterilization process.

Second, sketching a framework for understanding how negotiation on the RMB conflict would occur emphasizes the fluidity of gambits. Bargaining is an emergent process, one that evolves away from the table and at the table. Additionally, the limitations of hypothesizing the strategies employed in bargaining are clear: the resulting research may be able to conjecture on how players’ interests are represented and exploited, the analysis is cannot be well-grounded in empirical data, it cannot accurately represent a possible sequencing of bargaining strategies, and it reflects an bias on intellectual elites.

Finally, in analyzing a three level representation of negotiations, I find that it is in China’s interest to at first keep away from the bargaining table. When finally brought to the bargaining table, Chinese negotiators ought to do whatever possible to keep America at the bargaining table. We bring China to task on this issue because we believe we can stimulate their policymakers to enact good policy. Hence, we manipulate the flows of currency, purportedly adhering to the policy of mutual benefit.

Ultimately, I think that if this were really true, logic would be sufficient to convince Chinese economists to agitate for change, independent from American political power. But because today money is worth more than ever, I sincerely doubt we will be able to adhere to the articles of faith to let Chinese policymakers independently construct their nation’s exchange rate regime.

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Notes on “The Affluent Society”

•April 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This is the seminal text of John K. Galbraith (1969), an economist who did most of his work around the Vietnam era. An iconoclastic economist, he critiqued Keynesian modernization theory and Monetarism alike, and disputed whether individuals consumed in their rational self-interest. He wrote in a very bombastic but clear style, and dealt with issues ranging from the American military industrial complex to the Great Depression. Another outline exists, probably more well written than this, here.

My outline is structured around his definition of the term “the conventional wisdom” and the context in which he uses the phrase. To sum it up:
1) The conventional wisdom is the predominant set of ideas motivating fiscal policy in a country. It attracts the patronage of intellectuals, public figures, and businessmen alike, and stays afloat until proven wrong by circumstances.
In this sense, on dimension of the conventional wisdom is that it articulates the spirit of “institutional inertia” – the theory that unless “pushed” (either by means of political intervention or the danger of obsolesce), a given institution tends to go about the same goals using the same design.

2) The context of the phrase comes with a shift from one norm to another with the Great Depression. Prior, neoclassical liberalism was a-okay. But then the wisdom was betrayed by the Depression. The Keynesian reaction too has become a conventional wisdom, but has over the years been subverted by corporate interests, shedding away fiscal expenditures for the sake of private gain. Due to political problems (read: its inability to react to stagflation), the sexy new economic “magic” of monetarism may emerge as a new conventional wisdom.

:.::.::.::.::.::.::.::.::.:

I.
1) General question: What is the relationship between events and ideas?

2) Economic behavior seems irrational

3) Plurality of views

4) In the competition of ideas, audience approval is imperative. More so than veracity.

5) In the short run, acceptability creates consensus.

6) Acceptability?
a. Ideas that reinforce an individual’s self-interests and do not entail transaction costs are acceptable.
b. What people most understand is most acceptable.

7) Familiarity’s power makes acceptable ideas most stable.

8) “It will be convenient to have a name for the ideas which are esteemed at any time for their acceptability, and it should be a term that emphasizes predictability. I shall refer to these ideas henceforth as the conventional wisdom.” (8)

II.
9) Party discipline hinges on acceptability too. (e.g. for the US, the conventional wisdom is bipartisan)

10) The conventional wisdom is articulated among intellectual elites, and has been made with more or less scrupulously rigid academic standards.

11) For the conventional wisdom, originality itself can be substituted for a plea for originality.

III.
12) Why is acceptability important? Serves the ego and the motive for power to evangelize.

13) The recitation of the conventional wisdom is a comforting ritual, and “its purpose is not to convey knowledge but to beatify learning and the learned.”

14) Due to high demand, a large part of our society is devoted to rearticulating the conventional wisdom, and it is “a prerogative of academic, public, or business position.”

15) It is a reasonable expectation that public officials reiterate the conventional wisdom.

16) It is a reasonable expectation that reciting the conventional wisdom is perceived as a means of achieving business success.

IV

17) Argumentation does not conquer the conventional wisdom, events make it irrelevant. “The shortcomings of economics are not original error but uncorrected obsolesce. This has occurred because what is convenient has become sacrosanct.” (4)

18) Liberalism emerged as mercantilism was rendered irrelevant.

19) The conventional wisdom contemporary to Galbraith is the welfare state, with wisdom imparting that the processes “civilize” capitalism, when in reality the policies encompassed a break from classical liberalism.

20) Original conventional wisdom held the balanced budget as supreme.

21) Events changed to make the balanced budget a red herring.

22) Deficit spending during the great depression reversed the country’s fortune, despite the balanced budget remaining part of the conventional wisdom.

23) With the advent of Keynes and The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, circumstances had finally triumphed over the conventional wisdom. But at the same time, Keynes “was also on his way to constructing a new body of conventional wisdom, the obsolesce of some parts of which, in its turn, is now well advanced.” (16)

V.
24) All societies need to be protected from the ossification of popular ideas. “Ideas need to be tested by their ability, in combination with events, to overcome inertia and resistance. This inertia and resistance the conventional wisdom provides.”

25) Conventional wisdom shaman are rewarded materially; s/he only risks posterity by espousing the conventional wisdom.

VI.
26) While the conventional wisdom protects continuity in social thought and action, it bars societies from reacting to circumstances.

27) “The rule of ideas is only powerful in a world that does not change. Ideas are inherently conservative. They yield not to the attack of other ideas but to the massive onslaught of circumstance with which they cannot contend.” (19)

CONTEXT OF IDEA
A. Economic ideas from a time of poverty, yet today is an age of affluence. The iron law of wage, defined as natural v. market price continued to exist as the pinnacle to the Ricardian argument that capitalism ought to exist because it helps the impoverished.

B. Capitalism also aids the wealthy, leading to some skepticism and backlash against mechanisms for accumulation – monopoly and inheritance. Competition was conceived to be the mechanism for redistribution, but it too could be influenced. Finally, depression swayed popular opinion against the self-correcting machinery of the market.

C. On the right, the American take (via Veblen) on the market was that financial crisis was a natural part of the organic market (51). Popularity of Social Darwinism gave market competition its own pillar of importance. It could only operate in America unhindered by the government.

D. On the left, Marx modified the iron law of wages, arguing that impoverishment is a necessary means to ensure their position in society, one that is in turn advantageous for the capitalists. Argues against competitive model that it reinforces inequality, which in turn increases strife. Productivity, inequality and insecurity remained preoccupations.

E. Although originally promoted as key for capitalism, equality is declining in importance because some of the most severe problems related to inequality have been eliminated. The major turn was when Marxist prognostications did not become realized, and the wealthy increased in number and stopped advertising their wealth. Inequality became less of a popular issue.

F. Economic security tied to productivity. Private production is what matters, acting as a measure of achievement. Public production is of little importance. Matters of production may actually be low priority, but due to inertia we keep to traditional means of development. “We do little or nothing in peacetime to increase the rate of capital formation or the rate of technological progress in background industries despite the clear indication that these are the dimensions along which large increases in output are to be expected. We would not deplore the production we lost in depression. We are protected from this loss far more by the threat of depression to economic security.” (132)

G. Defense of production comes from how economists approach the theory of consumer demand. Wants are not cumulatively satisfied as more of them are satisfied, and the origin of wants ought to be taken for granted. From these theories came the notion of diminishing marginal utility: although a product can be in demand, as it becomes more ubiquitous its price can fall. Economic goals become less important with affluence. As per Alfred Marshall, there is no segregation between necessary and unnecessary goods. Firms operate on this presumption through diversity of products. “So long as the consumer adds new products – seeks variety rather than quantity – he may, like a museum, accumulate without diminishing the urgency of his wants.” (141) This presumption remains central to the conventional wisdom.

H. Due to the nature of consumer demand, that firms are dependent on product diversity to avoid the problem of diminishing marginal utility, “production only fills a void that it has itself created.” (147). “As society becomes increasingly affluent, wants are increasingly created by the process by which they are satisfied… Increases in consumption, the counterpart of increases in production, act by suggestion or emulation to create wants. Or producers may proceed actively to create wants through advertising and salesmanship. Wants thus come to depend on output. In technical terms, it can no longer be assumed that welfare is greater at an all-around higher level of production than at a lower one. It may be the same. The higher level of production has, merely, a higher level of want creation necessitating a higher level of want satisfaction. There will be frequent occasion to refer to the way wants depend on the process by which they are satisfied. It will be convenient to call it the Dependence Effect.” (152)

I. For public actors – politicians, businessmen, and intellectuals – production no longer means secure prestige, rather, it depends on the prestige of the goods. The modern liberal does not point to production as related to political success. Instead, GNP is the main determinant of success, despite the true measure of common masses’ quality of life being subjective.

J. With want expansion comes debt expansion. This cycle is a necessary component of modern capitalism. But an interruption to the process, an interruption to debt means an actual reduction in the demand for goods. “Poorer and poorer credit risks can be accommodated, but at last it becomes necessary to exclude the borrower who, as a matter of principle, does not choose to pay.” (174) Whereas government borrowing is mercurial, consumer spending is reliable, reacting predictably in response to real investment. “The encouragement to indebtedness which the society accords to the wan who wants to buy an automobile or even take a trip is matched by the stern mistrust with which it views the local government that might want to borrow for a school.” (179).

K. There is a battle over inflation. Galbraith claims it occurs when market demand is somewhere near the capacity of firms and available labor force to supply them. Production reaches capacity; increased output will need increase in capacity. Increased investment will mean more wages, investment into primary materials, return to capital, and profits, and these add to purchasing power and demand for goods, but this occurs before capacity is added to the firms. Thus, as production attempts to cater to demand, it also increases pressure to current capacity and the prospect of inflation prices increases. (186-7). This is the major part of the wage, price and profit spiral, and starts where strong market position is married to a strong countervailing force, ala unions (191). Meanwhile, firms without market position and workers who aren’t organized will suffer. This is really an issue in an affluent society because it is in conflict with the binding of production with the imperative of economic security (195).

L. Monetarists address inflation by restricting business investment. They do this by having the Federal Reserve increase the interest rate. This hurts small firms who cannot afford to pass the price to consumers. But because it is helpful for those with money to lend, it remains part of economists’ tool kits, albeit a blunt and crude part.

M. Fiscal policy – liberal; monetary policy – conservative. The former is part of the conventional wisdom. It works by raising taxes to reduce demand. Public spending, esp. for important functions, is done wastefully, and it cannot generally be reduced by reducing expenditure. Public services are also tempered by its lack of talent recruitment funds, for there lag time between public pay scales and the increase in prices. However, reducing demand comes into conflict with the production imperative. When full employment and full use of capacity is taken as the norm of an economy, countercyclical repression of demand is taken as a problem. Hence the promise of monetary policies. But these have to be specific monetary policies (read: interest rates and money supply) because price and wage controls are too manipulative for conservative interests. Politically speaking, conservatives disguise conflict between monetary policy and production through the “magic” of monetary policy; (Keynesian) liberals disguise conflict between fiscal policy and production at full employment by trenchant stubbornness, refusal to face problems. Liberals thus surrender to monetary policy, when fiscal policy can be used to solve the problems.

N. The conventional wisdom has that communities establish what amount of resources they want to devote to public goods. This is the social balance, a balance between private firms and funds used to provision the public good. It is reckless to practice self-denial and segregate public and privately produced goods when we have established that any particular goods do not necessarily satisfy real desires. “But given the dependence effect – given that consumer wants are created by the process by which they are satisfied – the conventional wisdom is not true. Consumers do not independently determine whether they prefer private or public goods. Private employment does protect against inflation – a process via monetary policy that is privately driven, but does not offer as much security as public employment.

O. Education drives technological advancement, so to this degree human capital is important. Education also seems to be part of the end of the want-synthesis process, elevating wants beyond material fetters through broader values. “The ultimate consequence is that the values of the affluent society, its preoccupation with production as a test of performance in particular, are undermined by the education that is required in those that serve it.” (249) The want synthesis process may one day break down. Indeed, this may occur as people question the teleology of the brand of capitalism that the affluent society embraces.

P. So long as we have a link between production and income security, inflation will remain a problem, and will continue to harm social balance. We ought to increase unemployment compensation and lengthen eligibility duration. Second, we ought to offer a source of income unrelated to production. The second can be provided when a minimum income is offered to individuals for their survival, generated through income taxes. Third, there ought to be wage or price controls, but there are obvious problems to this. Although the conventional wisdom holds that price/wage controls ought to be comprehensive, it is not actually true. Only large corporations need to be held to this standard, for they are the origin of the wage-price spiral.

Q. Social balance is also important because it ends the self-perpetuation of poverty. We don’t take corrective action because there is, purportedly, less quantitative precision. But insistence on precision is a tautological device which the proponents of the conventional wisdom use to insulate themselves.

The Roots of Intellectual Property in China: A Bibliography

•June 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Roots of Intellectual Property Rights in China

Background

This bibliography is for the purpose of my anticipated master’s thesis, to further explicate the nature of intellectual property (IP) law in China. Of course, this is not an easy goal as most scholars have noted, there is only a limited notion of intellectual property in dynastic China, only lately appearing due to the Western cultural exchange. My historical period will be Ming-Qing China, with emphasis on the Great Qing Code. I accommodated this bibliography to meet this goal by surveying Chinese law through history, sociological, and political affairs perspectives. Law is accounted for not only in terms of IP itself, but civil law as well; I depend on Philip C.C. Huang’s work in defining “civil justice” from Chinese law, which has no distinction between criminal and civil law, to accomplish this goal first and foremost.

I have structured this bibliography to meet two environmental goals. First, as a current student at University of Oregon, I wanted my bibliography to reflect what is available at UO students’ disposal. My source reviews, as well as the the whole of the first area of my sectional bibliography (Central Sources), are designed with this in mind. The call numbers I use are denoted by the libraries they are available in. Second, as a future student at University of Washington, I wanted to expand on these sources with information that would be available for myself at that institution. I have organized the sources that fit this description into the latter two areas of my sectional bibliography (Regional Sources and Universal Sources). The call numbers I included are regional numbers, rather than Library of Congress call numbers. Finally, I included a cumulative bibliography for the sake of strict alphabetization.

Sectional Bibliography

Central Sources

<KNIGHT> H 62.5.C5.T45 2007

Furth, Charlotte, Judith T. Zeitlin, and Ping-chen Hsiung eds. Thinking with Cases: Specialist Knowledge in Chinese Cultural History. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007.

Cultural study (e.g. social anthropology) and the law come hand and hand; this has been an established fact since Weber and Durkheim “started” the discipline of sociology. Thinking with Cases is a book that shows the value of cultural analysis for the study of law. The authors attempt to merge articles regarding “cases” together between three unusual fields: law, medicine, and religion. Obviously the first is the most helpful for studying law, but the brilliance of this anthology is that it tries to link these notions together to portray the utility and meaning behind the use of examples. It is in a sense foundational for the study of law because it examines the axiological divide between East and West in terms of method of analysis. The section on law itself is broken into three articles: one pertaining to late Ming casebooks (even including an examination of court case fiction, gong’an xiaoshuo) and law manuals; the next dividing hand books between prescriptive manuals, expository on law code, and opinions/sentences in terms of forensic analysis; the last regarding affidavits in Qing legal cases. All three of these are interesting pieces that are great for formulating notions concerning the historical roots of Chinese law, but it seems as though the first article is best due to its uncommon focus and how well in distills ancient law into an essence, brewing in even fiction to display how the legal process was seen in past dynasties.


<LAW> KNN 33.A4.E55 2005

Jiang Yonglin. The Great Ming Code / Da Ming lü. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005.

Professor Jiang was an assistant for William Jones in writing his translation of the Great Qing Code, so it can be assumed that the scholarship of this work is superb. The Great Ming Code was a formative precedent to the Great Qing Code, and was written by the founding bureaucracy of the Ming dynasty. Because the law code is filtered through the political times, the Ming Code is worth studying in how the political turmoil of the Ming’s restoration of Han culture resounded even to the ascendancy of non-Han people. Finally, the Ming Code is worth studying because it represents the first formal code garnering commercial law, including code pertaining to salt monopolies. As a result, I believe this source is important for understanding the roots of civil law.


<KNIGHT> KNN 34.A4.E54 1994

Jones, William C, tr. The Great Qing Code. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

As one of the primary sources for my writing, along with the “134 Qing Cases”, this book is unsurpassed in its importance. The Qing Code is the polestar to my thesis, and although it lacks a certain bearing to civil law beyond administration, it is still the major source of law in late imperial China. Jones rarely comments upon the text in any other form than introduction to his translation, so it is a “pure” text that can articulate cleanly with my secondary sources. His interpretation acknowledges the clear line drawing the Qing in relation to the Tang Codes, and he tends to talk of the law as a continuous tradition. These thoughts do not emerge in his translation, but they are helpful for interpreting his text, when there is a dearth of scholarship regarding the Tang Codes.


<CHINESE> KNN 34.T3 1993

张荣铮, 刘勇強, 金懋初点校. “大清律例“. 天津: 天津古籍出版社, 1993

Zhang Rongzheng, Liu Yongqiang, Jin Maochu eds. Da Qing Lu Li. Tianjin: Tianjin Classics Press (Tianjin gu ji chuban she), 1993.

This is the Chinese form of the Great Qing Code. There seems to be a lot more commentary in this version than the version by Jones. It resembles the Confucian Classics, with commentaries in small font accompanying the code. The nature of these seem more explicative than interpretative: contextual issues are generally taken care of in footnotes than in passage scribblings. It seems sensible that this form has a lot of advantages over the more straightforward English version. An example of this is the commentaries in the introduction to the 13th scroll, one encompassing family law (戶律). Commentaries in the first line explain archaic grammar and vocabulary, in addition to fill in a few of the interpretive blanks involving what constitutes a suspect in private law. The entire text is in simplified script, as well.


<LAW> KNN 63.4.M56213 1999

McKnight, Brian E and Liu, James T.C. trans. The Enlightened Judgements: Ch’ing-ming Chi. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999/

During the late years of the Southern Song dynasty, Chan Yanfu from Fujian province wrote an expansive collection of law cases. Intended to be the interest of local magistrates, this book is a translation and interpretation of Chan’s work. McKnight divides the book into chapters based upon what type of law the cases appeal towards, with the vast majority dealing with either family or public law. However, a great deal of cases concern property disputes. If there is a manner of contrasting intellectual property and (landed) property law, then this book is an appealing addition to the study of the history of Chinese law.


<LAW> KNN 64.L38 1967

Bodde, Derk and Morris, Clarence. Law in Imperial China: Exemplified by 190 Ch’ing Dynasty Cases, With Historical, Social, and Juridical Commentaries. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967.

Case studies are very important for the study of law, as they inform us how to act in an analogical way. This book is one of the first translated case study volumes, the Xing’an Huilan. Bound sets of prescriptions are held within a case study, and in effect this text will illustrate how the Great Qing Code operates. This book not only attempts to establish the basis of law in China in its first part, but through the translated case studies, it shows practical interpretation of Qing dynastic law. As a result, Bodde and Morris’s text is utterly essential, even if it has a focus on criminal law.


<LAW> KNN 122.E86 1980

Cohen, Jerome Alan, Edwards, R. Randle, and Fu-mei Chang Chen. Essays on China’s Legal Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.

This is an anthology of texts from a variety of historians, including Derk Bodde. Of particular merit is Brockman’s essay on commercial contract law in 19th century Taiwan and Fu-Mei Chang Chen’s essay on Shen Zhiqi’s commentary on Qing judicial decisions. Brockman discusses how customary law is the basis of contract law in Taiwan, an interesting notion for a pragmatic approach to civil law in historical China. The bulk of his work covers buy-seller exchange and negotiation, parts of law which do not really constitute the abstract principles of law as we know them. Fu-mei Chang’s work covers the Xing’an Huilan law case book that Derk Bodde so decisively translated and interpreted. She focuses specifically on a bureaucrat named Shen Zhiqi, whose private commentary on the Qing Code exercised a gigantic influence among legal scholars in the court of Qianlong forward. As a result, Fu-mei’s article is profoundly important to the study of Qing dynastic law, and repudiates this as an appropriate source.


<LAW> KNN 122.H43 2005

Head, John W. and Yanping Wang. Law Codes in Dynastic China: A Synopsis of Chinese Legal History in the Thirty Centuries from Zhou to Qing. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2005.

A book covering the evolution of Chinese law from Hundred Schools of Thought to the Qing Code, this book is serviceable as a road map to the history of Chinese law. It is dependent upon a great deal of sources listed in this bibliography, including Bodde and Morris, Fairbank, and Hulsewe. As a result, this can be considered a “tertiary” source, something of a guide to applying more detailed secondary sources for the purpose of linked history. This will be the perfect for writing the framework for historical background of law prior to the Qing Code.


<KNIGHT> KNN 122.B37 1997, KNN 122.L39 1997, KNQ 1829.C66 1997, KNQ3202.F67 1997

Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Basic concepts of Chinese law. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.

Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Law, the State, and Society in China. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.

Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Contract, guanxi, and dispute resolution in China. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.

Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Foreigners in Chinese law. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.

I couple these books together because they form a four part series. The third part is entitled “Contract, Guanxi, and Dispute Resolution in China” and the fourth “Foreigners in Chinese Law”. Each has a particular focus, as their topic indicates, but most of them deal with law in contemporary China. For instance, the second book only devotes three chapters to Republican Era or Qing China. Meanwhile, the first book too deals only loosely in regard to Chinese history, most dealing with the past thirty years in Chinese law. These articles are of unmistakable quality, including work by Jerome Cohen (head Chinese law professor at Harvard) and William Alford (head Chinese law professor at Stanford). My task with law is not so much wholly focused on the historical qualities of law, but reconciling this legacy with current practices. To this end, Tahirih Lee’s series seems quite helpful. It is all very discursive in focus, and the most interesting article is one written by Hom and Malloy which deals with the two professor’s experience teaching law and economics to Chinese lawyers in 1993. It takes the format of a series of letters, and each author has a varying understanding of Chinese so it makes for a cultural experience inasmuch one on law. Suffice it to say, the entire volume would make for an interesting contribution to a thesis regarding Chinese law, no matter the subject.


<KNIGHT> KNN 1155.A958 1995

Alford, William P. To Steal a Book Is an Elegant Offense: Intellectual Property Law in Chinese Civilization. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.

By title, this is the perfect book. It examines a contemporary phenomenon, infringement, and the author attempts to discern why intellectual property law, especially the copyright, never appeared in Chinese civilization. Although a good portion talks about imperial China’s lack of “a sustained indigenous counterpart to IP law” (2), the mass of the book is about the failure of forms of IP law to become widespread in practice in China. A lot has to do with Republican Era and Maoist China, so it is a bit beyond my initial interest in the field, specifically with late imperial China. It seems as though the book’s talk about axiological law will deal largely with philosophy, wherein the idea of “novelty” and copyright are discussed in context of Classical Confucianism. This book should nonetheless prove helpful, if not one hundred percent essential, to any inquiry into Chinese law.


<KNIGHT> KNN 1572.C58 1994

Bernhardt, Kathryn and Philip C.C. Huang eds. Civil Law in Qing and Republican China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994.

This book is an anthology of writings concerned with civil and administrative law in late imperial China. Not only does it include the requisite chapters introducing law in China to the novice, but then it examines law in particularly notable instances. This is largely an interdisciplinary task, as many deal with social dimensions of the practice of law (who and what defines professional law practice) as well as analysis of textual sources on Chinese law. Because the breadth of this book and the credibility of the authors as astute historians (Zelin) as well as trained lawyers (Huang), this is quite an extraordinary piece for my thesis’s topic. And as demonstrated, civil law in China is incredibly important for my academic mission as well as many others; it exists as the critical theoretical link between yesterday and today, in terms of Chinese forms of law.


<LAW> KNN 1572.H83 1996

Huang, Philip C.C. Civil Justice in China: Representation and Practice in China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.

An important distinction for my project requires the imposition of a Western ideal onto Chinese law traditions. The distinction between civil and criminal law is something that does not sustain to Chinese sources of law, and Huang makes this clear by differentiating between civil law and civil justice. He makes the definition that civil law does not exist by virtue of the lack of a specific notion denoting private rights in China, and cites William Jones as representing the most extreme pole of this interpretation. On the other hand, he states that civil justice must have existed, for cases made to protect property rights and contracts almost never levied criminal punishment. This is the fundamental assertion he assumes, as he gives us a discursive explication of this form of “civil justice” in China, from lawsuits and mediation to strategies of “civil justice” related legislation. I believe this book is key for my thesis question, because people claim that intellectual property did not have associated rights in China. It might be possible to follow Huang’s example to appropriate a standard of upholding intellectual property in imperial China.


<LAW> KNN 1572.H834 2001

Huang, Philip C.C. Code, Custom, and Legal Practice in China: The Qing and the Republic Compared. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.

By title alone it is obvious that this book is important for my question. It means to place Huang’s established notion of “civil justice” into a period fraught with ideas brought in from the West. Huang sees it as an adaptation of a German model, but also as a revision of the Great Qing Code. This portion is the seed of my interest, to find the continuities of tenets from the Qing Code found today. He focuses heavily on civil law as well as property law (dian). He also expands upon other China legal scholars by examining the nature of custom in shaping law. All and all, this is another book in his series “LAaw, Society, and Culture in China”; each addition to this contributes greatly to the goals of my thesis.


<KNIGHT> KNN 3800.M33 1990

MacCormack, Geoffrey. Traditional Chinese Penal Law. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990.

The majority of this book focuses upon early imperial China, with only a small portion on Ming and Qing law in terms of history. However, a good portion does deal with the evolution of the tradition of law based on the Tang code, which is my primary interest for study. His main source tends to be the Da Qing luli huiji bianlan, which I want to spend a great deal of time studying. He talks about law textually, but also discusses how it was enforced from dynasty to dynasty. In talks about punishment, both in terms of capital punishment and compensatory damages, it goes a long distance to explain social roles within these, especially for the bureaucrat. Finally, he explains contract and family law in tandem. All of these chapters appeal to the highest textual sources — the Qing and Tang codes — but are sensible for each dynasty. This is quite an extraordinary book for this subject.


<KNIGHT> KNP 490.T383.A46 1994

Allee, Mark A. Law and Local Society in Late Imperial China: Northern Taiwan in the Nineteenth Century. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994.

Sociological aspects of law are valuable contributions to examining what makes a “legacy”, and certainly including Taiwan into a study of late imperial China is a good thing. This book tends to cover family law above all other forms, but in doing so covers the territory of civil law in China that is so crucial, for a principle notion separating Chinese law from Western law is that there was not explicit division between civil and criminal law. A good deal of the book covers criminal proceedings, including court procedure. It covers the so-called Dan-Xin archives, a rarely utilized bulk of law cases that deal with mostly commercial matters. All of this is tempered by setting: Taiwan during the 19th century was a military settlement, and this affected administrative law in a profound way. Although frontier politics is not a major part of this research topic, my specialty falls within the area, so this book would be an interesting addition, and would contribute some great case studies to law enforcement and crafting.


<LAW> KNQ 48.7.W75 2007

Hegel, Robert E. and Carlitz, Katherine. Writing and Law in Late Imperial China: Crime, Conflict, and Judgment. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007.

This is a multidisciplinary examination of law in Late Imperial China, perfectly attuned to the nature of my study. Including work by UO professor Maram Epstein, this book takes a tripartite examination of the nature of Chinese law. First, it looks at rhetoric in persuasion and how it pertains to law in dynastic China. Most of the articles in this section examine law via literature, which indeed held an influential fixture within late imperial Chinese popular novels (e.g. Judge Di). Part two examines legal discourse in the auspices of state authority. Most applicable in this section seems to be Buoye’s discussion of leniency of punishment found in the Qing Code. The final section deals with the interplay between legal procedure and literary tropes. This section is especially useful because it deals with the notion of legal case studies, which is a central part of demonstrating a workable practice for a theorized form of proto-IPR law. Thus, the last third of this book is worth examining.

<LAW> KNQ 92.C36 2004

Cao, Deborah. Chinese Law: A Language Perspective. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2004.

Despite the lofty title, this book may have limited use for the topic of historical law. Cao’s mission is not to address law universally as it is to deal with law in the here-and-now China. She appeals to historical forms of law only through Hundred Schools texts, largely through Kongzi, Han Feizi, Xunzi, and Lord Shang. From here, her approach deals with the modern form of Mandarin Chinese. However, I do enjoy the fact that she employs a broad understanding to law, even as she focuses on language. She employs linguistic (e.g. Gadamer) and critical (e.g. Habermas) sources to analyzing how law communicates universally, and then applies her knowledge to make case examples with the Chinese language, specifically focusing on cases of particular consonance. Great in theory, but of limited use to the mission of my historical study — perhaps Cao’s text will come in handy in understanding what makes the history of law a specific legacy, with application in today’s China.


<LAW> KNQ 500.M5413 1989

Jones, William C. ed. Basic Principles of Civil Law in China. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 1989.

Although a bit dated, this book deals with civil law in modern China. William C. Jones is the erudite scholar who translated the Great Qing Code, so it this book is unquestionable in its veracity and context in historical study (even if this book predates his translation of the Code). His understanding of civil law as a theory and practice is crucial for an understanding the essential bond between IPR law in contemporary and dynastic China.


<LAW> KNQ 1155.F46 1997

Feng, Peter. Intellectual Property in China. Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 1997.

Focused on issues and aspects of intellectual property law in contemporary China, this is probably the most technically sound book on IP law in China. It includes Chinese terms for technical terms (for instance, zhuoqingquan, “at the court’s discretion”, a term applied for the judicial discretion entailed in calculating economic losses in IPR cases). The book is systematically organized and includes citations that are intensely interesting and detailed. Perhaps the technical detail precludes reading by any scholar not familiar with law as a profession, but this would be a tragedy given the sheer amount of useful information held in this tome.


<LAW> KNQ 1160.H8 2000

Hu, Robert Haibin. Guide to China Copyright Law Studies. Buffalo: William S. Hein & Co, 2000.

As a research guide to intellectual property rights in China, this is a fantastic source. It has a brief bibliography, including articles and dissertations, all on the subject. It also includes a full listing of websites, institutions (i.e. affiliated with the government, such as the USTR) related to copyright law and China. The focus is mainly on contemporary law, but this only slightly diminishes the utility of this great source.


<KNIGHT> KNQ 1160.Q2 2002

Sanqiang Qu. Copyright in China. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2002.

Copyright in China as it is remains complicated, even without including the historical breadth of the legacy of law. This book sets out to examine the state of copyright law in China, especially the intricacies of the law since its admittance to the WTO in 2001, so it focuses one chapter heavily upon international standards. For my look at the nuances of IP law in modernity, my focus will be placed on international standards via international organizations so this is particularly useful. Qu also covers copyright law’s infringement (in a variety of media), what defines a copyrightable work (i.e. what is “original”), but draws careful attention to what makes Chinese law so unique. This uniqueness leads to deep political explorations, not only of the legal reforms occurring through the Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin administrations, but also looking at Western influence on law crafting. Its focal points are valuable for exploring the topic of law in China. Qu has written a great book with this, not only due to his own brilliant scholarship, but also that he has drawn his work from the top scholars in the field including Bodde, Alford, and Zheng Chensi.


<KNIGHT> KNQ 1572.M33 1998

Macauley, Melissa. Social Power and Legal Culture: Litigation Masters in Late Imperial China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.

As the term master implies, this book covers the vocation of the barrister in late imperial China in a sociological manner. It focuses upon popular perceptions of lawyers and other elites involved in law. Because the lawyer-elite is a social entity according to Macauley, she seeks to find the context of these elites, what made them powerful, and what effect they had upon the law. These litigation masters are not simply villians or frauds, she finds; they were power brokers with an agenda that was not completely selfish. Their mastery of the law was also not universal, for some were merely literate individuals willing to help those in need of legal aid. Giving a face to these individuals might prove helpful for identifying the legacy of law in China, and through them it is possible to see a dimension of their larger institutional context. Sociological studies such as this prove that an interdisciplinary approach exposes a lot of elements completely lost by a wholly textual focus.

Regional Sources

China intellectual property law guide. Frederick: Aspen Publishers, 2005. <KNQ1155 .C45 2005>

Available copies: 1. A copy of this book is available at the University of Washington Law Library.


China law reports. Singapore: Butterworths Asia, in co-operation with China Law and Cultural Publications, 1995-. <KNQ19.A35 C44>

Available sets: 1. This is an annual journal, and University of Washington Law is the only school with a subscription to it. They hold their copies in the reference area.


Neil J. Diamant, Stanley B. Lubman, and Kevin J. O’Brien eds. Engaging the law in China : state, society, and possibilities for justice. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005. <KNQ1155 .G355 2005>

Available copies: 7. This is a widely available book in the Northwest. Five of these copies come from Washington, including Seattle University and Washington. However, two are available in institutions in Oregon: George Fox and Willamette Universities.


Feng Xu. The law of China: dancing with the dragon in the 21st century.West Hartford: Graduate Group, 2005. <KNQ68 .X8 2005>

Available copies: 2. Available at Lewis and Clarke and Willamette’s law libraries.


Ganea, Peter and Pattloch, Thomas. Intellectual property law in China. Frederick: Aspen Publishers, 2005 <KNQ1572 .E54 2005>

Available copies: 3. The Law Library has a copy of this in their archives. Unfortunately, I was unable to get it in time. In addition, Lewis and Clarke and Washington’s Law Libraries both have this book available.


Gao Fuping. Zhongguo wu quan fa: zhi du she ji he chuang xin (Real right law of China: institution design and innovation). Beijing: Zhongguo ren min da xue chu ban she (China Public scholarly press), 2005. <KNQ640 .G366 2005>

Available copies: 1. A copy of this book is available at the University of Washington Law Library.


Karen G. Turner, James V. Feinerman, and R. Kent Guy. The limits of the rule of law in China. Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2000. <KNQ2025 .L56 2000>

Available copies: 7. This is available in the UO Law Library, however it was unable to find it on the shelves. In addition, there are six other available copies, most of which are at University of Washington.


Hong Xue and Zheng Chensi. Chinese intellectual property law in the 21st century. Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 2002. <KNQ1155 .X94 2002>

Available copies: 2. This text is available at Washington and Willamette Law Libraries.


Riley, Mary L ed. Protecting intellectual property rights in China. Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 1997. <KNQ1155 .P76 1997>

Available copies: 1. University of Washington Law Library has the only copy.


Svarverud, Rune. International law as world order in Late Imperial China : translation, reception and discourse, 1847-1911 Boston: Brill, 2007. <KNN2325 .S88 2007>

Available copies: 3. University of Washington and Lewis and Clarke have copies of this book.


Zhongguo fa lü (China law). Hong Kong: Zhongguo fa lü za zhi she you xian gong si (China law magazine electronic journal), 1994-. <KNQ6 .C65>

Available sets: 3. This is a periodical available, in full, at University of Washington Law library’s classified stacks. In addition, Lewis and Clarke has copies dating back to 2005, and Willamette to 1995.


Zhongguo fa xue hui (Chinese legal research society) and Bi jiao fa yan jiu hui (Comparative law research group). Bi jiao fa zai Zhongguo (Comparative law in China). Beijing: Fa lü chu ban she (law publishing inc), 2001-. <K521 .B6>

Available sets: 1. This is an annual journal, and University of Washington Law is the only school with a subscription to it. They hold their copies in the classified stacks.

Universal Sources

Alford, William P. Understanding Chinese Attitudes Towards Intellectual Property (IP) Rights. CIO, September 15, 2006.

Beijing, China. Embassy of the U.S. IPR toolkit: intellectual property rights in China Washington, D.C.: U.S. State Dept., 2005.

Columbia Journal of Asian Law (Hein Online). Also available through: LexisNexis, Academic Search Premier, and Legal Periodicals Full Text.

Congressional Research Service, Franklin Pierce Law Center. Intellectual property, cyberlaw and electronic commerce CRS Reports

Fan Zhang and Xie, Dennis. Chinese Copyright Protection Has Storied History, Strong Future.

Fitzgerald, Brian et al. Copyright law, digital content and the Internet in the Asia-Pacific. Sampsung Xiaoxiang Shi, Chinese Copyright Law, Peer Production and the Participatory Media Age: An Old Regime in a New World. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2008.

Harvard Cyberlaw wiki, “History Workshop”. Bibliography and References.

Journal of Business Ethics 69, No. 1 (Nov. 2006) Lehman, John Alan. Intellectual Property Rights and Chinese Tradition Section: Philosophical Foundations.

Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity New York: Penguin Press, 2004.

United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Intellectual Property Protection as Economic Policy: Will China Ever Enforce its IP Laws? Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005.

United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Ownership with Chinese Characteristics: Private Property Rights and Land Reform in the People’s Republic of China 2003.

United States. Department of Commerce. Doing Business in China: A Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies. Washington, D.C.: Department of Commerce, 2006.

United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Law in Political Transitions: Lessons from East Asia and the Road Ahead for China. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005.

United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The rule of law in China: lawyers without law? Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003.

University of Maine, Farmington. China page bibliography, Law and Society.

USA Today via Associated Press, 2005. China’s Shaolin Temple fights for name.

[edit] Cumulative Bibliography

Alford, William P. Understanding Chinese Attitudes Towards Intellectual Property (IP) Rights. CIO, September 15, 2006.


Alford, William P. To Steal a Book Is an Elegant Offense: Intellectual Property Law in Chinese Civilization. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995. <KNIGHT KNN 1155.A958 1995>

By title, this is the perfect book. It examines a contemporary phenomenon, infringement, and the author attempts to discern why intellectual property law, especially the copyright, never appeared in Chinese civilization. Although a good portion talks about imperial China’s lack of “a sustained indigenous counterpart to IP law” (2), the mass of the book is about the failure of forms of IP law to become widespread in practice in China. A lot has to do with Republican Era and Maoist China, so it is a bit beyond my initial interest in the field, specifically with late imperial China. It seems as though the book’s talk about axiological law will deal largely with philosophy, wherein the idea of “novelty” and copyright are discussed in context of Classical Confucianism. This book should nonetheless prove helpful, if not one hundred percent essential, to any inquiry into Chinese law.


Allee, Mark A. Law and Local Society in Late Imperial China: Northern Taiwan in the Nineteenth Century. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. <KNIGHT KNP 490.T383.A46 1994>

Sociological aspects of law are valuable contributions to examining what makes a “legacy”, and certainly including Taiwan into a study of late imperial China is a good thing. This book tends to cover family law above all other forms, but in doing so covers the territory of civil law in China that is so crucial, for a principle notion separating Chinese law from Western law is that there was not explicit division between civil and criminal law. A good deal of the book covers criminal proceedings, including court procedure. It covers the so-called Dan-Xin archives, a rarely utilized bulk of law cases that deal with mostly commercial matters. All of this is tempered by setting: Taiwan during the 19th century was a military settlement, and this affected administrative law in a profound way. Although frontier politics is not a major part of this research topic, my specialty falls within the area, so this book would be an interesting addition, and would contribute some great case studies to law enforcement and crafting.


Beijing, China. Embassy of the U.S. IPR toolkit: intellectual property rights in China Washington, D.C.: U.S. State Dept., 2005.


Bernhardt, Kathryn and Philip C.C. Huang eds. Civil Law in Qing and Republican China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. <KNIGHT KNN 1572.C58 1994>

This book is an anthology of writings concerned with civil and administrative law in late imperial China. Not only does it include the requisite chapters introducing law in China to the novice, but then it examines law in particularly notable instances. This is largely an interdisciplinary task, as many deal with social dimensions of the practice of law (who and what defines professional law practice) as well as analysis of textual sources on Chinese law. Because the breadth of this book and the credibility of the authors as astute historians (Zelin) as well as trained lawyers (Huang), this is quite an extraordinary piece for my thesis’s topic. And as demonstrated, civil law in China is incredibly important for my academic mission as well as many others; it exists as the critical theoretical link between yesterday and today, in terms of Chinese forms of law.


Bodde, Derk and Morris, Clarence. Law in Imperial China: Exemplified by 190 Ch’ing Dynasty Cases, With Historical, Social, and Juridical Commentaries. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967. <LAW KNN 64.L38 1967>

Case studies are very important for the study of law, as they inform us how to act in an analogical way. This book is one of the first translated case study volumes, the Xing’an Huilan. Bound sets of prescriptions are held within a case study, and in effect this text will illustrate how the Great Qing Code operates. This book not only attempts to establish the basis of law in China in its first part, but through the translated case studies, it shows practical interpretation of Qing dynastic law. As a result, Bodde and Morris’s text is utterly essential, even if it has a focus on criminal law.


Cao, Deborah. Chinese Law: A Language Perspective. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2004. <LAW KNQ 92.C36 2004>

Despite the lofty title, this book may have limited use for the topic of historical law. Cao’s mission is not to address law universally as it is to deal with law in the here-and-now China. She appeals to historical forms of law only through Hundred Schools texts, largely through Kongzi, Han Feizi, Xunzi, and Lord Shang. From here, her approach deals with the modern form of Mandarin Chinese. However, I do enjoy the fact that she employs a broad understanding to law, even as she focuses on language. She employs linguistic (e.g. Gadamer) and critical (e.g. Habermas) sources to analyzing how law communicates universally, and then applies her knowledge to make case examples with the Chinese language, specifically focusing on cases of particular consonance. Great in theory, but of limited use to the mission of my historical study — perhaps Cao’s text will come in handy in understanding what makes the history of law a specific legacy, with application in today’s China.


China intellectual property law guide. Frederick: Aspen Publishers, 2005. <KNQ1155 .C45 2005>

Available copies: 1. A copy of this book is available at the University of Washington Law Library.


China law reports. Singapore: Butterworths Asia, in co-operation with China Law and Cultural Publications, 1995-. <KNQ19.A35 C44>

Available sets: 1. This is an annual journal, and University of Washington Law is the only school with a subscription to it. They hold their copies in the reference area.


Cohen, Jerome Alan, Edwards, R. Randle, and Fu-mei Chang Chen. Essays on China’s Legal Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980. <LAW KNN 122.E86 1980>

This is an anthology of texts from a variety of historians, including Derk Bodde. Of particular merit is Brockman’s essay on commercial contract law in 19th century Taiwan and Fu-Mei Chang Chen’s essay on Shen Zhiqi’s commentary on Qing judicial decisions. Brockman discusses how customary law is the basis of contract law in Taiwan, an interesting notion for a pragmatic approach to civil law in historical China. The bulk of his work covers buy-seller exchange and negotiation, parts of law which do not really constitute the abstract principles of law as we know them. Fu-mei Chang’s work covers the Xing’an Huilan law case book that Derk Bodde so decisively translated and interpreted. She focuses specifically on a bureaucrat named Shen Zhiqi, whose private commentary on the Qing Code exercised a gigantic influence among legal scholars in the court of Qianlong forward. As a result, Fu-mei’s article is profoundly important to the study of Qing dynastic law, and repudiates this as an appropriate source.


Columbia Journal of Asian Law (Hein Online). Also available through: LexisNexis, Academic Search Premier, and Legal Periodicals Full Text.


Congressional Research Service, Franklin Pierce Law Center. Intellectual property, cyberlaw and electronic commerce CRS Reports


Neil J. Diamant, Stanley B. Lubman, and Kevin J. O’Brien eds. Engaging the law in China : state, society, and possibilities for justice. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005. <KNQ1155 .G355 2005>

Available copies: 7. This is a widely available book in the Northwest. Five of these copies come from Washington, including Seattle University and Washington. However, two are available in institutions in Oregon: George Fox and Willamette Universities.


Fan Zhang and Xie, Dennis. Chinese Copyright Protection Has Storied History, Strong Future.


Feng, Peter. Intellectual Property in China. Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 1997. <LAW KNQ 1155.F46 1997>

Focused on issues and aspects of intellectual property law in contemporary China, this is probably the most technically sound book on IP law in China. It includes Chinese terms for technical terms (for instance, zhuoqingquan, “at the court’s discretion”, a term applied for the judicial discretion entailed in calculating economic losses in IPR cases). The book is systematically organized and includes citations that are intensely interesting and detailed. Perhaps the technical detail precludes reading by any scholar not familiar with law as a profession, but this would be a tragedy given the sheer amount of useful information held in this tome.


Feng Xu. The law of China: dancing with the dragon in the 21st century.West Hartford: Graduate Group, 2005. <KNQ68 .X8 2005>

Available copies: 2. Available at Lewis and Clarke and Willamette’s law libraries.


Fitzgerald, Brian et al. Copyright law, digital content and the Internet in the Asia-Pacific. Sampsung Xiaoxiang Shi, Chinese Copyright Law, Peer Production and the Participatory Media Age: An Old Regime in a New World. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2008.

Furth, Charlotte, Judith T. Zeitlin, and Ping-chen Hsiung eds. Thinking with Cases: Specialist Knowledge in Chinese Cultural History. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007. <KNIGHT H 62.5.C5.T45 2007>

Cultural study (e.g. social anthropology) and the law come hand and hand; this has been an established fact since Weber and Durkheim “started” the discipline of sociology. Thinking with Cases is a book that shows the value of cultural analysis for the study of law. The authors attempt to merge articles regarding “cases” together between three unusual fields: law, medicine, and religion. Obviously the first is the most helpful for studying law, but the brilliance of this anthology is that it tries to link these notions together to portray the utility and meaning behind the use of examples. It is in a sense foundational for the study of law because it examines the axiological divide between East and West in terms of method of analysis. The section on law itself is broken into three articles: one pertaining to late Ming casebooks (even including an examination of court case fiction, gong’an xiaoshuo) and law manuals; the next dividing hand books between prescriptive manuals, expository on law code, and opinions/sentences in terms of forensic analysis; the last regarding affidavits in Qing legal cases. All three of these are interesting pieces that are great for formulating notions concerning the historical roots of Chinese law, but it seems as though the first article is best due to its uncommon focus and how well in distills ancient law into an essence, brewing in even fiction to display how the legal process was seen in past dynasties.


Ganea, Peter and Pattloch, Thomas. Intellectual property law in China. Frederick: Aspen Publishers, 2005 <KNQ1572 .E54 2005>

Available copies: 3. The Law Library has a copy of this in their archives. Unfortunately, I was unable to get it in time. In addition, Lewis and Clarke and Washington’s Law Libraries both have this book available.


Gao Fuping. Zhongguo wu quan fa: zhi du she ji he chuang xin (Real right law of China: institution design and innovation). Beijing: Zhongguo ren min da xue chu ban she (China Public scholarly press), 2005. <KNQ640 .G366 2005>

Available copies: 1. A copy of this book is available at the University of Washington Law Library.


Harvard Cyberlaw wiki, “History Workshop”. Bibliography and References.


Head, John W. and Yanping Wang. Law Codes in Dynastic China: A Synopsis of Chinese Legal History in the Thirty Centuries from Zhou to Qing. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2005. <LAW KNN 122.H43 2005>

A book covering the evolution of Chinese law from Hundred Schools of Thought to the Qing Code, this book is serviceable as a road map to the history of Chinese law. It is dependent upon a great deal of sources listed in this bibliography, including Bodde and Morris, Fairbank, and Hulsewe. As a result, this can be considered a “tertiary” source, something of a guide to applying more detailed secondary sources for the purpose of linked history. This will be the perfect for writing the framework for historical background of law prior to the Qing Code.


Hegel, Robert E. and Carlitz, Katherine. Writing and Law in Late Imperial China: Crime, Conflict, and Judgment. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007. <LAW KNQ 48.7.W75 2007>

This is a multidisciplinary examination of law in Late Imperial China, perfectly attuned to the nature of my study. Including work by UO professor Maram Epstein, this book takes a tripartite examination of the nature of Chinese law. First, it looks at rhetoric in persuasion and how it pertains to law in dynastic China. Most of the articles in this section examine law via literature, which indeed held an influential fixture within late imperial Chinese popular novels (e.g. Judge Di). Part two examines legal discourse in the auspices of state authority. Most applicable in this section seems to be Buoye’s discussion of leniency of punishment found in the Qing Code. The final section deals with the interplay between legal procedure and literary tropes. This section is especially useful because it deals with the notion of legal case studies, which is a central part of demonstrating a workable practice for a theorized form of proto-IPR law. Thus, the last third of this book is worth examining.


Hong Xue and Zheng Chensi. Chinese intellectual property law in the 21st century. Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 2002. <KNQ1155 .X94 2002>

Available copies: 2. This text is available at Washington and Willamette Law Libraries.


Hu, Robert Haibin. Guide to China Copyright Law Studies. Buffalo: William S. Hein & Co, 2000. <LAW KNQ 1160.H8 2000>

As a research guide to intellectual property rights in China, this is a fantastic source. It has a brief bibliography, including articles and dissertations, all on the subject. It also includes a full listing of websites, institutions (i.e. affiliated with the government, such as the USTR) related to copyright law and China. The focus is mainly on contemporary law, but this only slightly diminishes the utility of this great source.


Huang, Philip C.C. Civil Justice in China: Representation and Practice in China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. <LAW KNN 1572.H83 1996>

An important distinction for my project requires the imposition of a Western ideal onto Chinese law traditions. The distinction between civil and criminal law is something that does not sustain to Chinese sources of law, and Huang makes this clear by differentiating between civil law and civil justice. He makes the definition that civil law does not exist by virtue of the lack of a specific notion denoting private rights in China, and cites William Jones as representing the most extreme pole of this interpretation. On the other hand, he states that civil justice must have existed, for cases made to protect property rights and contracts almost never levied criminal punishment. This is the fundamental assertion he assumes, as he gives us a discursive explication of this form of “civil justice” in China, from lawsuits and mediation to strategies of “civil justice” related legislation. I believe this book is key for my thesis question, because people claim that intellectual property did not have associated rights in China. It might be possible to follow Huang’s example to appropriate a standard of upholding intellectual property in imperial China.


Huang, Philip C.C. Code, Custom, and Legal Practice in China: The Qing and the Republic Compared. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. <LAW KNN 1572.H834 2001>

By title alone it is obvious that this book is important for my question. It means to place Huang’s established notion of “civil justice” into a period fraught with ideas brought in from the West. Huang sees it as an adaptation of a German model, but also as a revision of the Great Qing Code. This portion is the seed of my interest, to find the continuities of tenets from the Qing Code found today. He focuses heavily on civil law as well as property law (dian). He also expands upon other China legal scholars by examining the nature of custom in shaping law. All and all, this is another book in his series “LAaw, Society, and Culture in China”; each addition to this contributes greatly to the goals of my thesis.


Jiang Yonglin. The Great Ming Code / Da Ming lü. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005. <LAW KNN 33.A4.E55 2005>

Professor Jiang was an assistant for William Jones in writing his translation of the Great Qing Code, so it can be assumed that the scholarship of this work is superb. The Great Ming Code was a formative precedent to the Great Qing Code, and was written by the founding bureaucracy of the Ming dynasty. Because the law code is filtered through the political times, the Ming Code is worth studying in how the political turmoil of the Ming’s restoration of Han culture resounded even to the ascendancy of non-Han people. Finally, the Ming Code is worth studying because it represents the first formal code garnering commercial law, including code pertaining to salt monopolies. As a result, I believe this source is important for understanding the roots of civil law.


Jones, William C. ed. Basic Principles of Civil Law in China. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 1989. <LAW KNQ 500.M5413 1989>

Although a bit dated, this book deals with civil law in modern China. William C. Jones is the erudite scholar who translated the Great Qing Code, so it this book is unquestionable in its veracity and context in historical study (even if this book predates his translation of the Code). His understanding of civil law as a theory and practice is crucial for an understanding the essential bond between IPR law in contemporary and dynastic China.

<KNIGHT KNN 34.A4.E54 1994>


Jones, William C, tr. The Great Qing Code. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

As one of the primary sources for my writing, along with the “134 Qing Cases”, this book is unsurpassed in its importance. The Qing Code is the polestar to my thesis, and although it lacks a certain bearing to civil law beyond administration, it is still the major source of law in late imperial China. Jones rarely comments upon the text in any other form than introduction to his translation, so it is a “pure” text that can articulate cleanly with my secondary sources. His interpretation acknowledges the clear line drawing the Qing in relation to the Tang Codes, and he tends to talk of the law as a continuous tradition. These thoughts do not emerge in his translation, but they are helpful for interpreting his text, when there is a dearth of scholarship regarding the Tang Codes.


Journal of Business Ethics 69, No. 1 (Nov. 2006) Lehman, John Alan. Intellectual Property Rights and Chinese Tradition Section: Philosophical Foundations.


Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Basic concepts of Chinese law. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. <KNIGHT KNN 122.B37 1997>

Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Law, the State, and Society in China. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. <KNIGHT KNN 122.L39 1997>

Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Contract, guanxi, and dispute resolution in China. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. <KNIGHT KNQ 1829.C66 1997>

Lee, Tahirih V, ed. Foreigners in Chinese law. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. <KNIGHT KNQ3202.F67 1997>

I couple these books together because they form a four part series. The third part is entitled “Contract, Guanxi, and Dispute Resolution in China” and the fourth “Foreigners in Chinese Law”. Each has a particular focus, as their topic indicates, but most of them deal with law in contemporary China. For instance, the second book only devotes three chapters to Republican Era or Qing China. Meanwhile, the first book too deals only loosely in regard to Chinese history, most dealing with the past thirty years in Chinese law. These articles are of unmistakable quality, including work by Jerome Cohen (head Chinese law professor at Harvard) and William Alford (head Chinese law professor at Stanford). My task with law is not so much wholly focused on the historical qualities of law, but reconciling this legacy with current practices. To this end, Tahirih Lee’s series seems quite helpful. It is all very discursive in focus, and the most interesting article is one written by Hom and Malloy which deals with the two professor’s experience teaching law and economics to Chinese lawyers in 1993. It takes the format of a series of letters, and each author has a varying understanding of Chinese so it makes for a cultural experience inasmuch one on law. Suffice it to say, the entire volume would make for an interesting contribution to a thesis regarding Chinese law, no matter the subject.


Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity New York: Penguin Press, 2004.


Macauley, Melissa. Social Power and Legal Culture: Litigation Masters in Late Imperial China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998. <KNIGHT KNQ 1572.M33 1998>

As the term master implies, this book covers the vocation of the barrister in late imperial China in a sociological manner. It focuses upon popular perceptions of lawyers and other elites involved in law. Because the lawyer-elite is a social entity according to Macauley, she seeks to find the context of these elites, what made them powerful, and what effect they had upon the law. These litigation masters are not simply villians or frauds, she finds; they were power brokers with an agenda that was not completely selfish. Their mastery of the law was also not universal, for some were merely literate individuals willing to help those in need of legal aid. Giving a face to these individuals might prove helpful for identifying the legacy of law in China, and through them it is possible to see a dimension of their larger institutional context. Sociological studies such as this prove that an interdisciplinary approach exposes a lot of elements completely lost by a wholly textual focus.


MacCormack, Geoffrey. Traditional Chinese Penal Law. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990. <KNIGHT KNN 3800.M33 1990>

The majority of this book focuses upon early imperial China, with only a small portion on Ming and Qing law in terms of history. However, a good portion does deal with the evolution of the tradition of law based on the Tang code, which is my primary interest for study. His main source tends to be the Da Qing luli huiji bianlan, which I want to spend a great deal of time studying. He talks about law textually, but also discusses how it was enforced from dynasty to dynasty. In talks about punishment, both in terms of capital punishment and compensatory damages, it goes a long distance to explain social roles within these, especially for the bureaucrat. Finally, he explains contract and family law in tandem. All of these chapters appeal to the highest textual sources — the Qing and Tang codes — but are sensible for each dynasty. This is quite an extraordinary book for this subject.


McKnight, Brian E and Liu, James T.C. trans. The Enlightened Judgements: Ch’ing-ming Chi. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999 <LAW KNN 63.4.M56213 1999>

During the late years of the Southern Song dynasty, Chan Yanfu from Fujian province wrote an expansive collection of law cases. Intended to be the interest of local magistrates, this book is a translation and interpretation of Chan’s work. McKnight divides the book into chapters based upon what type of law the cases appeal towards, with the vast majority dealing with either family or public law. However, a great deal of cases concern property disputes. If there is a manner of contrasting intellectual property and (landed) property law, then this book is an appealing addition to the study of the history of Chinese law.


Riley, Mary L ed. Protecting intellectual property rights in China. Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 1997. <KNQ1155 .P76 1997>

Available copies: 1. University of Washington Law Library has the only copy.


Sanqiang Qu. Copyright in China. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2002. <KNIGHT KNQ 1160.Q2 2002>

Copyright in China as it is remains complicated, even without including the historical breadth of the legacy of law. This book sets out to examine the state of copyright law in China, especially the intricacies of the law since its admittance to the WTO in 2001, so it focuses one chapter heavily upon international standards. For my look at the nuances of IP law in modernity, my focus will be placed on international standards via international organizations so this is particularly useful. Qu also covers copyright law’s infringement (in a variety of media), what defines a copyrightable work (i.e. what is “original”), but draws careful attention to what makes Chinese law so unique. This uniqueness leads to deep political explorations, not only of the legal reforms occurring through the Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin administrations, but also looking at Western influence on law crafting. Its focal points are valuable for exploring the topic of law in China. Qu has written a great book with this, not only due to his own brilliant scholarship, but also that he has drawn his work from the top scholars in the field including Bodde, Alford, and Zheng Chensi.


Svarverud, Rune. International law as world order in Late Imperial China : translation, reception and discourse, 1847-1911 Boston: Brill, 2007. <KNN2325 .S88 2007>

Available copies: 3. University of Washington and Lewis and Clarke have copies of this book.


Karen G. Turner, James V. Feinerman, and R. Kent Guy. The limits of the rule of law in China. Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2000. <KNQ2025 .L56 2000>

Available copies: 7. This is available in the UO Law Library, however it was unable to find it on the shelves. In addition, there are six other available copies, most of which are at University of Washington.


United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Intellectual Property Protection as Economic Policy: Will China Ever Enforce its IP Laws? Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005.


United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Ownership with Chinese Characteristics: Private Property Rights and Land Reform in the People’s Republic of China 2003.


United States. Department of Commerce. Doing Business in China: A Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies. Washington, D.C.: Department of Commerce, 2006.


United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Law in Political Transitions: Lessons from East Asia and the Road Ahead for China. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005.


United States. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The rule of law in China: lawyers without law? Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003.


University of Maine, Farmington. China page bibliography, Law and Society.


USA Today via Associated Press, 2005. China’s Shaolin Temple fights for name.


张荣铮, 刘勇強, 金懋初点校. “大清律例“. 天津: 天津古籍出版社, 1993

Zhang Rongzheng, Liu Yongqiang, Jin Maochu eds. Da Qing Lu Li. Tianjin: Tianjin Classics Press (Tianjin gu ji chuban she), 1993. <CHINESE KNN 34.T3 1993>

This is the Chinese form of the Great Qing Code. There seems to be a lot more commentary in this version than the version by Jones. It resembles the Confucian Classics, with commentaries in small font accompanying the code. The nature of these seem more explicative than interpretative: contextual issues are generally taken care of in footnotes than in passage scribblings. It seems sensible that this form has a lot of advantages over the more straightforward English version. An example of this is the commentaries in the introduction to the 13th scroll, one encompassing family law (戶律). Commentaries in the first line explain archaic grammar and vocabulary, in addition to fill in a few of the interpretive blanks involving what constitutes a suspect in private law. The entire text is in simplified script, as well.


Zhongguo fa lü (China law). Hong Kong: Zhongguo fa lü za zhi she you xian gong si (China law magazine electronic journal), 1994-. <KNQ6 .C65>

Available sets: 3. This is a periodical available, in full, at University of Washington Law library’s classified stacks. In addition, Lewis and Clarke has copies dating back to 2005, and Willamette to 1995.


Zhongguo fa xue hui (Chinese legal research society) and Bi jiao fa yan jiu hui (Comparative law research group). Bi jiao fa zai Zhongguo (Comparative law in China). Beijing: Fa lü chu ban she (law publishing inc), 2001-. <K521 .B6>

Available sets: 1. This is an annual journal, and University of Washington Law is the only school with a subscription to it. They hold their copies in the classified stacks.
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AWAKENED RADICALISM, EGALITARIANISM, NATIONALISM

•June 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

In the beginning of Henrietta Harrison’s biography of the scholar Liu Dapeng, she recounts the story of the Daoist immortal Lu Dongbin, connecting his ascension into Heaven with the conduct of Liu. “When [Liu] calls himself The Man Awakened From Dreams, Liu is expressing his exclusion from political power, but he is also pointing up for us both the fragility and the complexity of the Confucian moral order” (Harrison 19-20). The scholar’s life, in Harrison’s view, is a representation of the status of Confucianism in terms of ethics and politics. How does this model interact with the world at large? With some discussion (1) on creating an overview of the work, and then elaborating upon the status of the identity of the Awakened Liu Dapeng in regards to the three ethical standards of Confucianism: (2) ritual, (3) filial piety, and (4) benevolence. One can become elucidated on exactly what it means to be Awakened in turn of the century’s China.

Within the years comprising the Republican era, Sinologists have a great deal of material that can potentially be utilized. In particular between 1899 and 1919, events relevant for discussion are numerous and complex, even if the period can be wholly comprehended as an interregnum era. For Harrison and many scholars, this means that the fundamental key to understanding society is to find (A) what were the original cultural norms, (B) what were the norms to be adopted, and (C) how the society went from one norm to the other. Liu, to Harrison, seems to be a figure within the latter category, an anachronism naturally occurring as China undergoes cultural transformation. Harrison’s main goal for writing an analysis of Liu’s journal is to attempt to find the reconciliation of Confucianism and the lessons provided by Western imperialism. Her voice in doing so analyzed the culture with a balance of universality and specific context, to teach the reader in both [1]. In regards to the actual content of the book, Harrison writes in a fashion unusual for most biographies, focusing on particular themes rather than drawing upon events in chronological order [2]. As a whole, the book consists of an amalgamate of philosophical themes in the context of tumultuous history, in an attempt to explain the changes in ideology during the turn of the century.

For one to talk about change pursued by a society, it is logical to start by discussing Liu’s encounter with what initially seems to be the most anachronistic. Ritual, or li (禮) refers historically to the orthodox rites of a Confucian empire and household, such as the veneration of ancestors or the commemoration of high civil status. Scholars have extrapolated from the works of Confucius that the term refers more so to the conduct people follow in social engagements and in viewing relationships [3]. In the view of Liu Dapeng and scholars of political ethics, this was defined specifically as how the state mandated individual relationships. Ethics is defined by the Classics (venerated as items of the moral precedence of the Sage Kings [Harrison 27]) and the corresponding education system designed to normalize the tenets. The nature of rite in this scope is to exist as an arm of the legitimate regime, penetrating into the populace by normalizing their administrative leaders.

With the breakdown of the civil bureaucracy generally through the “New Policy” reforms and epitomized by the 1905 end to the civil service examination, such normalization became separated from education and examination systems (Zarrow 28-30)[4]. The penetrability of the populace was obscured: no longer could elites act as the model for virtuous behavior. To this end, the abandonment of the old normalization process had geographical dimensions. “Even as Confucian morality was detached from the state and condemned as feudal,” comments Harrison, “it came to be associated with rural areas” (Harrison 80). This lack of penetration and poverty within the inland areas can be a sign of a decline in the effectiveness of the bureaucrats, at this time facing an ethical crisis, if not a professional one.

Inland-dwelling Liu Dapeng was a model of such a breakdown of the stability of the civil service system. Him and the vast majority of his friends suffered an end to all prospects of social mobility and salary. (Harrison 87) Yet, he shows persistence in retaining a Confucian ideology in political matters, as few of his compatriots did. With this disintegration of relationship between precedence and the advocated politics as well as the monarchy-gentry bond, radical protestation could be the only result (Zarrow 47). If a government lacked the ability to instill its values within the people, let alone the ability to find suitable bureaucrats, the appropriate course of action would be to advocate for increased government reciprocity (minben, [Zarrow 15]). Led in part by Kang Youwei, the radicals pursued a unification between emperor and people to ameliorate this lack of accommodation (Zarrow 14).

Accordingly, Liu Dapeng can be found to be a voice within this greater movement. Having had his only legitimate road to political power dismantled to favor Western learning, he birthed an Awakened ego. He denied the world of institutions and political position (destroyed with the dissolution of the old teaching) and accepted his vision of an inner landscape shaped by Confucian values(Harrison 45) [5]. In doing so, Not only was he part of a historical practice of avoiding civil service in an immoral world [6], but he also joined the ranks of a growing population of disaffected intellectuals. His voice remained unique, his philosophy differentiated from that of Kang’s [7]. What could be the possible ramifications of such a rapid alienation of scholars, and what is to be made of their diverse opinions? These questions can be appropriately answered given an additional Confucian theme.

Filial piety, or xiao (孝), is denoted by the veneration of ancestors. Like li, one can dig deeper to find a more complex significance. To respect one’s ancestors is to correspondingly respect one’s position with society. In this sense, filial piety can refer to the relationship of the individual with the leader, a piety not simply limited to that of family members, but to the entire dynasty. In total, the tenet can be said to be a guideline as to who is superior and who is inferior in the social hierarchy [8].

To Liu, filial piety was of both practical and moral importance. He was completely dependent on his parents’ funds, and his schooling made him an advocate of it philosophically above all else, even using it as a judge of an individual’s moral quality (Harrison 57). Appropriately, the philosophy of egalitarianism, of throwing away filial piety, shocked and angered Liu to no end. He saw this “rejection not only of the natural affection between parent and child, but also of the whole moral order of the state, which he saw as structured around these natural bonds” (Harrison 79). This put him naturally at odds with the revolutionary movement that was gaining momentum in Tianjin and Chinese urban centers from 1900 to 1911 (Zarrow 50).

The goal of revolution fundamentally called for an immediate reversal of the status quo. Such a goal would not be stopped by friction between “conservative fathers and radical sons”: the scope of such resistance to the traditional familial composition was rooted in its link to the polity of society as a harmonious hierarchy(Zarrow 49) [9]. If the structure of the family reflected the structure of a society that was clearly anemic in the face of Social Darwinism, then it was essential for both to be reformed. The call for equality of family, and opportunity of political voice was issued by urban intellectuals, yet the fact remained that the perception of Chinese society’s weakness was a function of “an international hierarchy dominated by race and nation” (Zarrow 44).

Such an atmosphere of paradoxes and confusion is what characterized the era before the revolution. With the path to bureaucratic profession gone, and the identities within the family being threatened, Liu became increasingly bitter of the new norms in respect to education and administration. Fellow scholar officials everywhere also lost their identities and vocation; the antipathy turned towards the rulers and their reforms. Despite this anger focused on progressive reform movements, Liu embraced notions of popular sovereignty, and he predicted backlash with the connection of the state’s harmful actions and its perceived legitimacy (Harrison 97-98). When the revolution did come in 1911 and when Liu was appointed as a representative for the county assembly, he was in a greater state of vertigo. He voted for a constitutional monarchy with Yuan Shikai as head with the logic that it would restore the dynasty; instead, he was plagued with nightmares of a loyalist—having elected an emperor who was illegitimate (Harrison 100-101).

Toppling filial piety was the fall of yet another stratified hierarchy that was indicative of the revolutionary need to reshape the nature of status. Yet, when a semblance of the old order reappeared, not even Liu had a clue whether it was legitimate, let alone how to reconcile the notion of the Republic with the former dynasty. Liu’s Awakened self persisted, despite seeing dangerous portents everywhere: the fall of the moral path of power and the demonstration of this with the abolition of the reinforcing educational system. Yet, with the help of the Classic of Changes, Liu was confident that such chaos would not threaten the existence of the traditional moral order, given a bit of stability (Harrison 104-106). In the conception of Liu’s enlightened self was the very nature of non-participation and failure in political circles. Although disturbed by the political entropy and decline of morality in his environment, The Man Awakened remained confident that the essence of morality—sincerity and respect—would never die (Harrison 19). In such a statement lies the true value of the standard of goodness.

Benevolence, or ren (仁), is probably the most complex of the three basic conducts, yet was the least discussed by Confucius. To define it most simply is to compare it to li: whereas “ritual” is how one conducts oneself in the presence of others, “benevolence” is how a one conducts oneself beyond social interactions. Transcending relational goodness, it is personal moral fiber, latent in the very character of ren [10].

The most profound tenet of the Confucian ethic instilled in Liu, transcending even his affairs in the public realm, was his undying loyalty, manifesting in a sort of an air of self-righteousness. In all affairs, he was not one to compromise his principles, loyalty included. He was loyal to the Qing, calling the republic illegitimate; he was loyal to the old calendar, old style of education, and even took Zeng Guofan’s suggestion to keep a diary until his death; he was stubbornly a conservative when it was virtually a crime to be one (Harrison 11, 93, 97-98). This abidance to the old norms seemed to be in direct opposition to the chaos of the times. Perhaps his morality was the only thing keeping him sane: his strict abidance to his enlightened world of Confucianism was solace in a world of overwhelming change.

Morality of type of personal morality represented by ren manifested historically with the building of rhetoric to support nationalism, particular on the part of Liang Qichao. Through “The New Citizen” (1903), he developed the ideals of popular sovereignty as epitomized by the term guomin. Reciprocity in government, he believed, was not simply through representative government and an active participatory citizenry, but also through the mutual reinforcement of “public” and “private” morality. Liang posited that the solution to the fragmentation of society, characterized by the sheer ideological chaos of the era, was to use all of society’s tools (namely education) to create a coincidence between civic interest and self-interest. Achievement of such a connection was possibler by combining the boosting of group cohesion with personal cultivation (Zarrow 63-64). The answer to the problem posed by imperialism was finally being answered: to beat a cohesive nation-state, the victim must become one. In this manner ren as a personal trait and enforced by ritual conduct, became more inclusive to the group: moral fiber fundamentally transformed into something less contextually based, and more of a universal quality, not bound by the regime in which it was vested [11]. Personal freedom (especially from the dynasty) to the extent of allowing self-determinism to Liang was essential for popular sovereignty. “A nation goes into decline when its people do not know the difference between nation and the dynasty” (Zarrow 65).

While Liu Dapeng was quite adaptable in terms of adopting a commercial lifestyle amidst the failed opportunities as a politico, he lacked the capacity to think of statecraft in a progressive manner as per Liang Qichao. Although he believed in the importance of personal freedoms, he was unable to think of himself as anything but a Qing loyalist attempting to express his views in an illegitimate institution (Harrison 105). In political affairs, this sort of strict personal code acted as a hindrance to his political campaigning when he refused to take part in any nepotism, in part due to his declining wealth. While Liu Dapeng was truly caring for his state to the point of opposing Japanese incursions (Harrison 105), he had no particular identity within the new dynasty (being a Qing loyalist) and his code of ethics interfered with the type of individual freedoms advocated by Liang necessary to express himself politically [12].

To Liu Dapeng, it may be that ren was manifested in his Awakened self: it was, after all, the moral world driving his actions [13]. His enlightened character dominated his private thoughts and poetry, not his public self striving to adapt to the changing conditions of the Republic. This aspect of his personality is what he was determined to cultivate, even as it made little sense to those around him (Harrison 158). His code of conduct impeded any political achievement or welfare he could have brought to his family, yet he staunchly refused to compromise his Confucian view of the world. Even in his commercial dealings, he remained respectful and kept his integrity uncompromised to the point of mediating familial business crises at his own expense (Harrison 123). Thus, in a significant way, Confucian morality had not died off in revolution, but thrived in the minds of conservatives such as Liu Dapeng, even as they negotiated modern circumstances.

Having discussed (1) the overview of Harrison’s work along with the central Confucian tenets of (2) li (3) xiao and (4) ren, some thoughtful conclusions can be made. First, Liu Dapeng can be seen as a product of the state’s eventual breakdown of ritual in the form of the education system, having lost his ability to pursue a meaningful political career with these New Reforms. This can be seen as the birth of The Man Who Awakened From Dreams, linked intrinsically with the decline of self-cultivation as the focus of the civil examination system. He is thus part of the demography of the Radical Confucians, and was in favor for a few of their policies (such as the populace having a role in the state of the dynasty) but as a Qing loyalist was far from ascribing to their belief of revolution. Secondly, Liu can be seen as an ardent supporter of xiao, putting him at odds with the radical youth that advocated for equality within family circles. To this end, he viewed the relationships within a “harmonious hierarchy” as necessary for stability. Yet, he tended to side with the reformists in regards to their views on Social Darwinism, believing that a reformation would be necessary to overcome China’s predators. For Liu, reforms were to be on a moral level aimed at eliminating the villains in government, as opposed to the ideological changes that more progressive scholars suggested. Finally, in terms of ren, it can be argued that Liu’s enlightened ego was the basis of his benevolence. Rather than explicitly falling into the thinking of nationalists such as Liang Qichao, his thinking tended to stray into more conservative lines, advocating for the cultivation of self at the top (with bureaucrats and the court) to reform the state, rather than the development of a nation that transcended dynastic cycles and depended on the common people.

The ultimate vision that Liu can instill into historians in regards to the period of reconciliation between Eastern and Western ideology is one of a diversity that remains very difficult to classify. Liu Dapeng and his fellow conservative scholars might have held onto their Awakened view of the world, but facing a world of iconoclasm they adapted selected portions of their philosophy to fit the times. The journey into the next century with China was not one taken solely by the state, nor specified groups of intellectuals. Nay, it was a difficult set of changes that every thinker had to surmount. In doing so, scholars such as Liu found that while a measure of their dreams had to remain unfulfilled, they could continue to cherish their traditions and perceptions of society to the extent of its present existence.

[1] Universality being traits shared by multiple cultures. Specific context being traits held solely by China, sometimes in regards to the historical precedence and sometimes within the period alone. I think Sinologists in general attempt to extrapolate this pair of scopes in a corresponding way, as a method of commenting on human society at large and as a way of understanding China alone. This to a small extent is not explicit, but it seems to be the implicit goal of historians to find relevancy in all of its manifestations.

[2] Unusual in the scope of how the average biography (such as Bergere’s on Sun Yatsen) is organized, but only moderately in the context of the interpretation of Chinese history, where scholars like Timothy Brook (“The Confusions of Pleasure”) rely on thematic organization for better comprehension. It is important to note that although I say that the focus is on themes, that the book as a whole is still narrated in a chronological fashion, ala “The Confusions of Pleasure”, gearing chapters to flow with a semblance of chronology but addressing themes within chapters.

[3] And by scholars, I refer specifically to Herbert Fingarette’s “Confucius: The Secular As Sacred”. I do not dare presume to know the context of the character from Classical to Modern Chinese, but in the context of the Classics and Fingarette, this is what I gather.

[4] In regards to the education system, the breakdown of the ethics as the focus was a slow process that has roots early into the Qing. Money could buy status even earlier, during the Ming (i.e. Purchase of Dragon robes, the scholars’ studios). As early as there were missionaries in China, there has existed a curiosity behind Western technology, even if it was stifled from top (i.e. The reign of Qianlong), and it was only a matter of time before the decision was made to Self-Strengthen by adopting Western technology. The exam reform can be seen therefore as a turning point, but not necessarily the singular cause of such downfall of ethics.

[5] Perhaps it is a bias of mine to use Daoist terminology when I write about Confucianism. But, I believe “Inner Alchemy” is the most precise word to be used in this situation. His view of the world was viewed in relation to his own identity (i.e. His age and position in the family, his education), like all Confucians, and therefore what he saw was a world shaped by his own morality. It is difficult to explain it in anything other than the holistic vocabulary of a Daoist.

[6] Example being Cao Zhi, prince and poet, who because of his position in society was forced to escape politics (for fear of death). Ruan Ji who drank to keep himself out of politics. Even as far back as Qu Yuan have the tragedies of service to the emperor been a dominant theme. Most seek solace by adopting Daoist traditions—solitude in work, hermitage, inebriation and poetry composition, etc. I think Liu Dapeng has quite a bit in common with these themes. My source for this information is a combination of Professor Fishlen and Sunflower Splendor.

[7] Liu preferred to reinstall the Xuantong emperor and isolate the reform to replacing the corrupt bureaucrat and court, whereas Kang wanted a constitutional monarchy and a moral revolution in several avenues besides Confucianism.(Zarrow 27-30, Harrison 100-101)

[8] The simplicity of the statements belie the actual complexity of the subject. In short, my connection of individual and leader is based upon the Five Relationships, and the common ideal that the relationship between a son and his father should be emulated at a political level. Superiority and inferiority are fundamental to this argument, thus indicating that the public should defer to the leader.

[9] Conservative fathers comprising of the Qing loyalists and even some of the Confucian radicals. I think I will prove that Liu is part of this category. As for the radical youth, this could be linked to not only the revolutionary radicals, but the resulting New Youth, who sought gender equality and an egalitarian society as a whole.

[10] This is my two sentence summation of Fingarette 37-56, thus in a sense a gross oversimplification. But in a way, all attempts to discuss ren is an exercise of futility in this regard. The very manner that Fingarette deals with the virtue, like Laozi—explaining the object by telling the reader what it is not—makes the task of specifically talking about the virtue very difficult. For the purposes of this essay, it represents the internal morality of Liu Dapeng, and his sense as to what society should be in his personal opinion. As to clarifying what I mean “the very character of ren”, I mean an analysis of the character via its radicals: a person (ren) and two (er). That is, that the action of a person in the context of a population (er) is the only way to see benevolence, yet it remains exclusively personal (ren). Even beyond my interpretation, the very ambiguity of possible interpretations reflects thoughtfully on the ambiguity of the term as a whole, I believe.

[11] That is, the nature of benevolence was not necessarily tied to the li relational duty one has based upon who is leading. It transformed into something tied to the nation—the Han race. Zarrow himself draws upon li more fully than ren to talk of the Han nation: he sees it as commonality in behavioral patterns, despite diverse geography and specific traditions (Zarrow 57-59). I prefer to look at it in the scope of ren because it seems more personal when isolating the conflict in how to see China politically, as opposed to the group identity. Zarrow’s comments are more of a look at popular identity rather than one exclusively looking up at who leads.

[12] My usage of dynasty is a reference to the Republic. I refer to it as dynasty to reflect how I believe he sees himself—as a loyalist of a fallen dynasty within the historical precedence of the preceding eras. That is, in his view that it is not a nation of like-minded individuals and identities as per the view of Liang Qichao, but as yet another dynasty with Yuan as a leader. It even has the tell-tale corruption of a illegitimate dynasty, so it is a plausible belief for a person conditioned to expect such rule in a time of foreign oppression (i.e. The Mongol rule during the Yuan, the Jurchen rule in the Jin, even the Manchu rule in the Qing) and overall chaos.

[13] Compare to my usage of “inner alchemy”.

RADICAL CONTRADICTION

•May 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

RADICAL CONTRADICTION

During the Summer of Love, in July 1967, Time Magazine featured a cover story determined to scoop the vitriolic nature of the then booming Hippie subculture:

“…the hippies hope to generate an entirely new society, one rich in spiritual grace that will revive the old virtues of agape and reverence. They reveal, says University of Chicago Theologian Dr. Martin E. Marty, ‘the exhaustion of a tradition: Western, production-directed, problem-solving, goal-oriented and compulsive in its way of thinking.’ Marty refuses to put the hippies down as just another wave of ‘creative misfits,’ sees them rather as spiritually motivated crusaders striking at the values of straight society where it is most vulnerable: its lack of soul. In a sense, hippiedom is a transplanted Lost Horizon, a Shangri-La a go-go blending Asian resignation and American optimism in a world where no one grows old.” [1]

The hippies’ embrace of Eastern thought reflected frustrations with the dominant philosophy in the West, or as this author established, the West’s priority for the individual to be linked to the means-end duality. At the utilitarian extreme of this ideology, humans are described simply as agents for the accomplishment of a particular goal. “Asian resignation”, however strange the phrase sounds today, was a spirit that negated this system, and de-prioritized people as cogs within a progressive machine. The cover story in the July 1967 issue of Time Magazine illustrates that this partial misrepresentation of Eastern thought was one perpetuated through the critics of the Hippies, but I contend that the Counterculture movement itself, through what it symbolized then, radical activism seeking to expand America’s popular culture through the introduction of new belief systems, and what it became—the New Age movement. I believe that while each has its own virtues, generally seen through their attempts to make Chinese religion accessible to more segments of American culture, the spiritual for the Counterculture and the consumer for the New Age [1]. Yet, each has their own corruption of the version of culture they attempted to introduce to America, with the New Age being at greater fault than the Counterculture.

The specific failings of the Counterculture and its legacy are not only entrenched in the sources which are misrepresented, but also in the damage the movement incurred upon mainstream society. When the Counterculture interpreted Buddhism, they extracted the religion’s aesthetic vision, with the unfortunate consequence that the New Agers have built a consumer culture around this aesthetic that contradicts its most integral precepts. When the Counterculture attempted to disseminate Daoism, the movement in its excitement internalized a lackadaisical methodology, and in New Age publishing the practice has damaged even the most lucid renditions of classical sources. Through the Counterculture’s roughshod study of the complex tradition of Confucianism the movement muddled religious lines, forming the religion into a syncretic mess of folk mysticism that New Age quacks attempt to explain with pseudoscience, deluding the American masses from the native and historical forms of Confucian thought. In total, the shape the counterculture has had upon popular culture, through New Age religion and other forms of bastardization, has created a crude caricature of Chinese culture and detracted from the intercultural understanding between the Western and Eastern axis.

The Counterculture frequently took Buddhism as its flagship religion, and in their reverence to the school of thought they created their own art to encapsulate the spirit of the practice; unfortunately, this was the beginning of Buddhism’s encounter with the spirit of Capitalism. Minimalism is the key idea for this form of art, as they attempted to capture the feeling of enlightenment through the stripped-away essence, where one is supposedly part of the larger world by breaking himself down to his key components. Between the stark rock gardens and the sleek lines of IKEA furniture, something went awry in the beautification under these rules, and the modern “Zen home” was created. In this domesticated form of Buddhism, one need not be part of the monastic community, or even know the Four Noble Truths to look the part. Not unlike the consumer products created through the Bauhaus school of design during the 1920’s, what we can see today is a Zen aesthetic that is not only pleasing, but cost effective[2]. Buddhism, the West via the New Agers has discovered, is highly marketable. There is no particular damage to the general notion of introducing religion to popular culture. However, the contradiction between marketing Zen design in cheap furniture and popular music and the transcendental dogma of Buddhism is staggering. The dogma of Buddhism, whether affiliated with the Mahayana or Theravada schools, does not condone strong attachment to material possessions, let alone the use of a mere aesthetic to communicate the simplicity of the monastic lifestyle[3].

Buddhism has had its spirit stripped away, as a result of the Counterculture introducing it to the American mainstream and more so due to New Age in exploiting its chic aesthetic. The people responsible for the damage are not those who first interpreted the religion and transmitted it to the West, such as D.T. Suzuki. Instead, it seems to have been when the amateurs who took the religion as an individual experience and plunged the West into a distorted Zen sensibility, to the point where Zen lost its original meaning as a deeply meditative state and become an un-meditative buzzword[4]. This is but a small portion of corruption within a larger bit of good, however. America has lent a particular ideal of engagement in political affairs that was in the past not as explicit in worship in Buddhism. Although this brand of activism tends to transcend cultural lines (both Gary Snyder and Thich Nhat Hanh advocated politically active forms of Buddhism)[5], the lines continue in other forms of practice: Buddhism has become oriented towards attracting non-Asian worshippers, and as a result, export-oriented Buddhism has become estranged from even its core tenets. Our grasp of Buddhism today is far more warped than before we were familiar with the term, and as a result it has hindered the capacity for the average American to study Buddhism. In this sense, the Counterculture and New Age movements have done a great deal of damage to Buddhist spirituality.

If one needs to learn what Daoism is, it only requires one word for description: elusive. The goal of the religion itself evades the learner, and this is explicit in the Daoist texts. On the one hand, Daoism posits that true knowledge is ineffable, and that words only serve to detract from meaning. Yet, Daoist texts are highly poetic, so it is hard to say there is a set way of interpreting any of its texts. Interacting ineffability and poetics leads the Daoists canon to be some of the most difficult texts to read, let alone translate into another language. For instance, the Daodejing and Zhuangzi both rely upon highly allusive language that is difficult to recreate in English. This has given rise to the need for many different scholars to provide translations to the texts, both academics (such as Philip J. Ivanhoe, Arthur Waley, D.C. Lau, and James Legge) and non-academics (such as Ursula Le Guin). There is no guarantee that the non-academics cannot provide an academic insight in their translations, for instance, Le Guin’s version of the Daodejing is reputed to be one of the best poetic translations in existence. A close reading of texts through a cultivated intellect—whether attached to academia or not—leads to an effective translation; when the aloofness of a writer is emphasized over the content of his or her rendition is problematic.

The Counterculture’s promise to Daoism, of broader societal awareness of Daoism, meant open access to translations, but it also gave open access to publishing for the New Agers as well. Non-academic publishing, where academic review is not as consistently available, does not bar these authors from publishing bad or stolen translations. All the while, consumers and devotees place their good faith in these religious books that they have been translated in a dedicated fashion. Unfortunately, open publishing does not have the means to ascertain authors’ credibility as translators. The message of Daoism, whether derived from the Daodejing or the Zhuangzi, is consequentially bastardized through unverified non-academic sources, which are created for or on behalf of the aging former members of the Sixties’ Counterculture who characterize this New Age.

In particular, the bastardization occurs through misinterpretation and intellectual property infringement. The most hazardous way to author a rendition of the Daodejing is one that does not refer to the original text in its original language. Lacking even a basic proficiency of Vernacular Chinese (baihua) let alone with Literary Chinese (wenyan), these authors generally compare translations to make their own editions. The problem is that these versions are not derived from a definite source, but from the author’s own thoughts. As Russell Kirkland suggests, these takes on the Daodejing do not reveal a “true Dao”, rather “[that] modern Westerners to bear in mind that such a conception of the spiritual life does not actually reflect the ideals jofany form of ‘Taoism.’ Rather, it reflects the Protestant Christian ideals of Martin Luther, sanitized, of course, of all the hateful dross of Christianity.”[6] He criticizes Stephen Mitchell’s work first and foremost as a work demonstrating a lack of understanding, even to the point of colonial appropriation, or a sort of deluded Western-Orient fetishism. Even worse, because the Daodejing is so frequently translated and is considered a public work, it is often infringed. A copy of the Daodejing published in 2002 by NuVision Publications LLC is a word-for-word copy of Mitchell’s work, and it continues to be sold to this very day. The New Agers who buy NuVision’s products, which are in the vein of religious and occult good, buy what amounts to damaged goods. [2] These New Agers represent not only the masses confused by popular culture as to what is truly Asian, but also the very people who spread the misinformation.

Compared to Daoism and Buddhism, the American understanding of Confucianism is comparably small and obscured. Generally, we tend to envision Confucianism as a religion through a mish-mash of Chinese folk practices, running the gamut from Tai Chi to Feng Shui and ancestral veneration. It is a contentious debate whether Confucianism can even be called a religion. Despite this controversy, forms of Confucianism have been integrated into American culture as an amalgamation of these tenets, deemed as either Chinese thought or more generally under the umbrella of “Eastern thought”. The identity of Confucianism is obscured, rather than clarified, when elements which are uncharacteristic of the original spirit and historical utility of the orthodox texts are forcibly merged with Chinese folk practices. Confucianism is not so much a strict school of completely uniform beliefs as it is a series of individual thinkers with a few similarities, or as P.J. Ivanhoe puts it, “we all are still under the spell of the myth of ‘timeless Confucianism’ [where] we either fail to see the differences between [individual thinkers] or see them yet find them so surprising”[7]. Although this can be said about quite a few religions, the divergent beliefs between classical Confucianism and imperial Confucianism (today deemed “Neo-Confucianism”) are so difficult to document due to language barriers and textual hazards.

This problem seems to occur as a common problem among not only Western masses, but Chinese scholars as well. The classical education in historical China was reinforced by the civil service examination, which in turn was subject to political machinations. During the Song Dynasty in the 11th and 12th centuries, an influential scholar, Zhu Xi, wrote commentaries for the Chinese classics (e.g. the Analects of Confucius, the Mengzi, and the Book of Odes). In the centuries after Zhu Xi’s death, the civil examination system integrated Zhu Xi’s version of the classics. As per this form of Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, these classics push a highly metaphysical interpretation of texts that were originally completely secular in their ethical orientation, demonstrated through Confucius, “If you cannot serve man, how can you serve the spirits?”[8] A methodical pace is demanded by many Sinologist experts in religion, with attention upon each transformative event in the philosophy. Method was an element completely devoid in the Counterculture, which tended to cobble everything together without any regard to capturing its true spirit in its haste to introduce unfamiliar elements into the American mainstream. Although we can hardly blame them for these problems, for even academics have problems extracting Confucian ideology from centuries of Neo-Confucian, it is reproachable that the misappropriation of Chinese culture continues to this day through the New Ager’s grasp on consumer spirituality. Similar to the state of open publications, New Agers, purported to be experts in the field, exploit people’s lack of information regarding Feng Shui to make a quick buck[9]. They apply Feng Shui to the office, when it was originally applied to marriage dates and grave sites. Geomancy is employed in a novel way; adapting an old concept for new affairs in itself is not a bad thing. Alas it too is a complete charade, for these con-artists deem Feng Shui to be scientifically proven to aid people’s affairs, yet the experts themselves lack credentials of scientific or even Chinese philosophical merit, a diluted form of Feng Shui derisively termed “McFeng Shui”[10]. Ultimately, their chicanery gives all elements of Chinese thought a bad name, despite the fact they have a tenuous connection at best.

Western interpretation of religion has its good traits. Buddhist thought boomed in the West and created a new generation of devotees. Daoism, when given mainstream popularity, has texts that have translated in the West more than any other non-Western religion. Confucian texts have introduced many people to the basic ideals of Confucian thought. However, the Counterculture’s involvement has led to bad developments as well, ones that I trace to the crass entrepreneurial practices of the New Age. Buddhism’s boom pushed the religion into art, which transpired into a contradictory and soulless version of the religion. Daoist thought has been corrupted in translation, through shoddy rendition and downright theft. Confucianism has been subject to misappropriation by shysters who make fraudulent claims of Confucian mysticism, and as a result the religion has been shunned more than accepted. The Counterculture, representing the first attempts to open America to external forms of religion, features good qualities of openness in religious materials in regards to Eastern thought. As informed consumers and students, we must recognize that this good comes with certain bad, and we should at least attempt to establish a custom of seeking credibility of our teachers before we accept their teachings. For the sake of better encapsulating the authenticity of these religions, it would be best to recast their role in American culture, one detached from the Counterculture’s lack of method, and shunning the New Age’s no-holds-barred consumerism.

[1] I define the Counterculture as a lineage of transmission. It runs from practices to the 1950’s (via the Beats and D.T. Suzuki in particular, to a broader platform. Although they attempted to grasp at whatever alternative thinking that went beyond the mainstream, I believe China and its philosophical mission at times ran so strong (Ames and Hall, Anticipating China) that it was especially attractive.. The New Age movement, in contrast, is specifically referring to a mainstream adoption of the Counterculture that occurred in the decades after, which I find to be most virulent in terms of consumer culture, vis-à-vis LOHAS (through Ray and Anderson’s The Cultural Creatives) which is a lifestyle which is one part spirituality mixed with four parts spending habits. The greater part of the lifestyle is consumer culture, as seen how the term “LOHAS” is most used to character the socially aware sovereign consumer. My argument will say that while both movements tend to misinterpret Chinese spirituality, it is the New Age movement’s consumer culture that contradicts the very spirit they attempt to channel.

[2] Prof. Robert Felsing originally warned me about the dangers of plagiarism for this case, with each document available online: (http://libweb.uoregon.edu/tools/wikis/chinwiki/index.php/Goals_of_the_course_%28course_syllabus%29.) My assertion that NuVision primarily caters to New Age is through the assortment of books they publish, which include popular books that have lapsed into the public domain (e.g. Voltaire’s Candide), but also a wide selections of books on spiritual and occult subjects (e.g. Duncan’s Ritual and Monitor of Freemasonry).

WORKS CITED (Partial)

Chan, Edmund. “Four Noble Truths.” The Buddhist Encyclopedia. May 2008. 19 May 2008 <http://buddhism.2be.net/Four_Noble_Truths&gt;.

Denzer, Anthony S. Masters of Modernism. 2004. 23 May 2008 <http://www.mastersofmodernism.com/?page=Modernism&gt;.

Hall, David L., and Roger T. Ames. Anticipating China. Albany: SUNY P, 1995.

Ivanhoe, Philip J. Ethics in the Confucian Tradition. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett Company Inc., 2002.

Kirkland, Russell. “THE TAOISM OF THE WESTERN IMAGINATION.” Center for Daoist Studies. 20 Oct. 1997. 1 May 2008 <http://www.daoistcenter.org/Articles/Articles_pdf/Kirkland.pdf&gt;.

Lau, D.C. The Analects. New York: Penguin Group, 1979.

“The Hippies.” Time Magazine 7 July 1967. 20 May 2008

<http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,899555,00.html&gt;.

Thich Nhat Hanh. Being Peace. Berkeley: Parallax P, 1996.

[1] http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,899555,00.html (boldface at my own inclusion)

[2] http://www.mastersofmodernism.com/?page=Modernism, also http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/gropiusw2.shtml

[3] http://buddhism.2be.net/Four_Noble_Truths tanha is the term I am talking about, desires. It starts with material possessions, exemplary through the monk’s lifestyle, and moves beyond to attack egoism.

[4] The original word for Zen in Chinese (禪) refers to meditation, for instance “just sitting” (坐禪). The buzzword usage can be found through a quick search online. Zen has become applicable for anything simple in terms of the LOHAS lifestyle, e.g. http://zenhabits.net/.

[5] See Being Peace, as well as Nhat Hanh’s biography http://www.plumvillage.org/HTML/ourteacher.html

[6] Kirkland 15

[7] Ivanhoe 137

[8] Analects IX: 12

[9] E.g. the Black Sect Tantrism http://www.yunlintemple.org/temple.htm, which supposedly practices syncretism between Tibetan Buddhism and Feng Shui, and in academic circles is suspected of the type of quackery I mention. However, there is no proof that one way is more spiritually sound than the other, merely that one is more historically accurate that nother.

[10] http://qi-whiz.com/node/1569

SOME PEOPLE USE MOUNTAINS: Han Chauvinism in Cultural Revolution Xinjiang

•May 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Some people use mountains to identify national boundaries. In West China, there are plenty of mountains with geographical significance. The Altays define the northwest border of China, the Tianshan Mountains bisect Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) latitudinally, the Hindu Kush Range marks the southern border between Xinjiang and the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), and the Himalayas lie upon the southern end of the Tibetan plateau.

Modern people, however, prefer to use legality as the basis for defining identity. This naturally changes contingent upon ideology and regime. As identity changes, so do the underlying conditions for the relationship of humanity, especially as a function of relational exercise of power. Therein lies the notion of ethnicity-based chauvanism. Still absent in this relationship is the definition for what can prompt a legal code to fluctuate so profoundly; for this matter, the notion seems to root in how one groups ideology with regime. If one can define the two elements as co-dependent factors, where one is just as likely to determine the other, then it can be said that a potent time where ideology and regime are both liable to change are times (relatiovely) devoid of social control, and in regard to China this can take radical forms. For the purpose of analysis, the event where social order reaches a nadir that necessitates radical transformation of political affairs, is revolution.

There are many revolutions meaningful to the notion of chavanism, however. But few of these events were as uniformly disturbing to collectivity and individual Western minority as the Great Proleterian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) that raged from 1966 to 1976 through the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The narratives of the lives damaged by the ravages of this time are true testaments to the authoritarian potential of states that boast even the most egalitarian doctrines towards protected nationalities. Unfortunately, the historical narratives of the decade, like all historical documents, represent a socially unequal demographic: whereas there exist several memoirs of Tibetan participants during the years of the Cultural Revolution, there are few to no documents about the people of their northern neighbors.

Where there seems to be none, there actually exist stories. While we wait for their voices to emerge, we can also anticipate the content of what they share. For like the Tibetans, they are in a sense the mouthpiece for their social, economic, and political existances; an area of enquiry that boasts significant scholarship as well as a slew of similiarties between the two territories. The procedure to accomplishing this takes a tripartite form: one must research the explore the social existances of both Xinjiang and Tibet; next, one best examine the voices of Tibet and seek their guiding light to illuminate the possible Revolutionary experience in Xinjiang; then, one uses the synthesis of conditions with experience of Tibet as a model for an expected series of personal events for XUAR during the Cultural Revolution.

First, in exploring the environment of both territories hitherto the Cultural Revolution, case examples of chauvanism at the point of revolution will inform the analysis. In Xinjiang, this means a brief look at the periods of rebellion encompassed through (1) the second half of Qing colonization (c. 1864-1890), (2) the local struggle against the tyranny of warlord rule (c. 1931-1949), and (3) the revolt against land reform during initial years of rule by the Communist Party of China (CPC) (c. 1950-1962). For Tibet, resistance is found in (1) the first century of Chinese chauvanism (18th century), (2) the initial defense of Tibet from the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) encursion (1947-1954), (3) and the uprising of Lhasa that spelled years of exile for many Tibetans (1955-1960). Besides looking particularly at the manifestations of Han chavanism in these periods, the

Second, the voices to be examined for Tibet are twofold diverse actors during the Cultural Revolution: (1) Bapa Phuntso Wangye (Phunwang), the founding member of the Tibetan Communist Party and reputable member of the CPC bureaucracy who served eighteen years in prison jailed as a political degenerate; (2) Tashi Tsering, a younger Tibetan who studied abroad as well as actively participated in the first years of the Cultural Revolution. Both confronted ethnic tension, as well as political turmoil as each were jailed for varying years.

Finally, to determine the common experiences of the individual in Xinjiang necessitates a close look at Han chavanism during the Cultural Revolution in Xinjiang. In particular, seeking the points of (1) what actions would have forced ethnic tensions to be exacerbated, (2) who suffered the challenges of the era, and (3) what entailed the difficulties for non-Han residents of Xinjiang to surmount during this period largely characterize the procedure for this portion of the debate. Seeking particular phenomena that existed similarly to Tibetan conditions or experiences is a must for this debate; a procedural comparison between Tibet and Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution will reveal a more tangible image that without.

The first moments of Han chavanism in Xinjiang were exposed a generation into the Qing’s administration of the area. Xinjiang at that time was divided territory in terms of administration techniques: in the “Northern Circuit” (beilu) north of the Tianshan Mountains, generally referred to as “Dzungaria”. This area was under the rule of the high commandery (jiangjun) that was based in the Ili River valley on the western border of Xinjiang. In the “Southern Circuit” (nanlu), an environment wildly different from the north—a series of Muslim oasis towns encircling the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin—required command to be distinctively autonomous. A hierarchy of local elites (begs) and Qing-eneoffed local nobility (jasaks) reported to councilors (canzan danchen) stationed in the older cities of Kasghar to the west. These officials were generally Manchu banner men of high rank, but generally imposed few restrictions on the control of local populations beyond a series of taxes1. Such was the system of administration from initial rule to the Yakub Beg rebellion (1760-1864).

But the fate had a different plan for politics in Xinjiang. The Dzungars who had once had support of the Tarim cities had used the cities as fortifications; they were ruined with the destruction Emperor Qianlong’s scorched earth campaign inflicted upon the area. Without the Dzungars, who held the linkage between steppe and oasis city with great esteem, these cities began to fall into disrepair, and yet their denizens were heavily taxed2. Additionally, literary sources have conveyed us a certain disdain among the Han in the local military-agricultural cities (bingtuan): by 1760 officals were referring to the local Muslim population as being “dogs”3 and complaining of their hard-drinking, “raw”-ness (fuxing), but Millward makes the distinction that these phrases were uttered in ignorant nervousness, rather than in an odious manner; he sees a transformation of moods occuring with the Yakub Beg rebellion. There was a clear ground for revolt, between the subtext of prejudices as well as the refusal for the Qing court to properly fund their expansionism. [1]

In June 4th, 1864 the rebellion began, as Kucha attracted aggravated Muslims to gather and protest their treatment stemming from the lack of post-war support. The city was segregated to allow for a small group of colonial officials and soldiers, yet it was far too small to deal with the rapidly spreading chaos: as they began to band together and burn the administration buildings, the Qing soldiers could not repel them. Before long, local elites began to take part in the revolt, and it blazed into Kashgar, Yarkand, Urumqi and throughout the entire country by late July4. The local begs were ordered to massacre participants in the violence, and few complied. As Kucha destroyed its Han administrators, new leadership emerged and began organizing expeditions to attack other garrisons, including the main Qing garrison at Barkol in March 1865. The explosion of violence gushed into other personal conflicts, and two Sufi orders began battling it out for domination. Yet, the motives of the battles were not stationed in religion, and they were not defined by ethnicity. These were certainly unifying elements, but they did not primarily motivate the actors to revolt. Rather, Hodong Kim simply describes the violence as a struggle for authority, where the multinational Qing imperial ideology did not win out5 The vacuum of Qing rule encouraged local elites to battle for control. As the Kuchean Yakub Beg gained control over Xinjiang, he tried to assert his imperial ambitions by allying with the western powers. The Qing, in a maneuver that was the orthodoxy in Central Asia during Great Game politics, co-opted teir alliance building, and sent out and army that promptly crushed Yakub Beg by 1871.

In this, we observe that economic conditions can coexist with chauvanism to bring about resistance. The resistance itself, took the form of a plurality of views and ethnicities, that fought a regime that had lost the mandate to use such a pluralistic identity. The era of cultural autonomy had ended with this show of violence, and the years following “Hanization” would acquire new tools as Han citizen and prisoner settlement in Tarim were promoted, and the weapons of this new demographic were language and customs. Qing thinkers Gong Zizhen and Wei Yuan best encompassed this form of Han chavanism: a natural defense against violence incitement via assimilation6. But it was not long before a new era fashioned new terms for resistance to be made against these weapons. Control became further entrenched in culture, so effective rebellion necessitated the creation of a culture of revolution. New lines for the oppressed were drawn during warlord rule based upon class, but even among this new perception old thought festered. It was during another power struggle that the inclinations of xenaphobia manifested as chauvanism once again; two organizations of radical thought manifested with differing aims and ethnic identities—it was only natural for one to contend against the other.

In the 1910’s, Xinjiang’s economy was still bleak, and tensions continued to rise with the ineffectual control of the Kuomintang (KMT) and barbaric rule of warlords, their strict policies of security that ultimately elevated racial boundaries. By 1931 another violent explosion wrecked the unity of the nation, as local revolts inflamed into all-out war and Tarim and Kashgar seceded from China to form the East Turkestan Republic (ETR). Warlord rule persisted in the new nation, propped up by USSR influence, and did not represent the views of the people any differently from authoritarian Chinese rule. As a result, tension between KMT, ETR, and the populace continued to mount, and in 1944, the county of Yining in Ili seceded from Xinjiang simultaneous to the disintegration of the ETR. Unlike the ETR, the Yining regime was not a function of warlord struggles, and sufficiently represented the locality, in the form of the Xinjiang Turkish People’s National Liberation Committee. Similar to the ETR, however, the Yining regime was greatly influenced by USSR ideology; the propaganda focused upon the nationalistic rhetoricof the building of a pan-Turkist or pan-Muslim nation, rather than an overtly leftist message7. So it was that the ETR was founded for a second time, under terms relatively autonomous from Han elites The ETR’s reign lasted until 1947, and for those three years the ETR enjoyed economic stability with help from the USSR. It did not, however, restrain Han chauvanism.

For the next ten years, Han chauvanism came from two different ideologies, flouted by two different agents. While the harassment campaigns the local KMT leaders led against the Ili-based ETR regime had little connection to the future, the inevitable arrival of the PLA once they had bested the KMT had serious implications upon future attempts at self-sovereignty. It is quite counterintuitive to speak harshly about the attempts to fit Xinjiang into the PRC fold: once they became part of the PRC, their currency stabilized and prosperity once again returned to Xinjiang; conventional experiences tell us that the initial CPC encounter with the frontier was quite bloodless. While it is true that the fatalities were low in recouping Xinjiang Uyghur, the liberties that were tread upon are tantamount to any crime of ethnic chauvanism. When the ETR folded in 1947, the people in Ili did not abandon their radical nationalist beliefs, yet the CPC expected them to, given their supposed respect for minorities’ right to self-determinism—the sharing of this ideals spelled that “greater nationalism” was to supercede the needs of “local nationalism”.

When the northern allies of the ETR were hesitant to join the CCP without persuasion, as they were habituated to resisting the attempts of any Chinese organization effort., persuasion came in the form of a suspiciously timed airplane crash that killed the entirety of ETR’s leadership. 8 But in a sense the goal of establishing an “autonomous” order can be seen as a rather genuine act of selflessness by the CCP. The PRC knew the problems that the KMT had with rebellion and in Xinjiang and the difficulties of communicating from capital to periphery. By establishing Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), the CCP leadership hoped to implications of chauvinistic assimilation in introducing socialism to Xinjiang. Materially, this panned out by planning for minority cadres to fill government positions by 1953. As Millward mentions, however, this “arguably contributed to [indigenous] acceptance of PRC rule, [but] aided the cause of PRC control in Xinjiang through the nested administrative system that put majority Uyghurs in structural competition with other groups and kept real power in the hands of upper-level party officials, who were predominantly Han.9

Thus a new method of control was conceived by revolution. Legally, the Uighurs and Turkish minorities of Xinjiang were representated (de jure). But in terms of the function of this doctrine, it was not observed, and the enforcement proved that the minoritiy representatives were popularly (de facto) discarded. As time passed, the people of the province began to understand the root of their disenfranchisement, and began to dissent for enforcement of the constitution. This turn of events merely played in the foreground as the next phase of Han control over Xinjiang’s affairs began. And it is our duty to take this to heart in regard to the Cultural Revolution: forms of control overlap and sometimes are difficult to discern.

While the subjects may have been unsettled about their de facto disenfranchisement, it seems as thought the determining factor for dissent is largely economic in base. Within this broader economic view, the notions of a region’s overall prosperity is coupled with the welfare of the individual. It is on the terms of the latter, of social equality, where the origin of the next form of resistance laid. The land reform (c. 1950-1962) was a very controversial time in China, and generally the perspective of those who suffered retains a semblance of meaning to class, whether based on a point of view oriented towards hereditary or an arbitrary or personal element of counterrevolutionary substance. Like the rest of the country, the reforms seized landlords’ property and distributed it to the landless, a popular move for a sizeable population of Xinjiang’s serfs. However, for grazing land, the notion of giving up (sedentary) property did not mesh well with the local economy; they measured value through livestock as a property, and relied on land as per usufruct usage as opposed to dedicated land use. In this sense, collectivization in Xinjiang was messier than the rest of the country, and took a unique twist of hurting local cultures in the Dzungaria steppe more than Han, for they were the nomadic ones. 10 Furthermore, land reform had to deal with mosque endowments. They attempted to control the flow of tithes to the mosques, sometimes pressuring elites to match tithes in taxation. The CPC authorities also furthered the demographic shift by turning the traditional bingtuan into labor camps for political prisoners and immigrants. They were levied for civil engineering and land reclamation, to put land en masse to the plow11. Ultimately, all of these acts were ones that contravened the traditional Xinjiang way of life and limited the prosperity of non-Han workers, as well as hindered the development of the province.

Recourse for matters both petty and provencal was allowed through the Hundred Flowers movement. Many local administrators were sick of the selfish behavior on part of the Han immigrants and politicans. The promise of pragmatic reform was a tempting reason to speak out against the early reforms, and critics took the moment to espouse the virtues of greater autonomy. But when the Anti-Rightist Campaign swiftly followed, the hardships were multiplied, focusing upon “local nationalists” and people with ties to the ETR—who were seen as patrons to the hated USSR. It took years before many of the 1,612 cadres blamed of these dire crimes were rehabilitated12. As a sum total of chauvanism and resistance, the attacks upon ethnicity occurred through economic development ignoring the environment and the indigenous knowledge the locals held about it, and it hurt the individual and collective alike both in principle and practically. When room was provided for all begrieved people to criticize the party, the resistance was co-opted entirely, and the excuse for detention was, in one way or another, an issue of local identity (beyond international politics).

It should be no surprise that this sort of nationwide movements had a similar toll upon Tibetian life as well.

There are many parallels between Xinjiang and Tibet’s experiences with Chinese colonialism. Perhaps the common experience originated with the precedent of the two areas being incorporated within a greater whole, the Mongol Empire. The Manchus in terms of their very own identity were defined by the passage of the Yuan Dynasty, so it is a suitable place to start for Tibet. From the beginning of the throne’s reign, the two sides were on unequal terms: although the Dalai Lama was exempt from the traditional court kowtow, he still had to bow in submission to the Qing emperor. But the throne truly became active in the affairs of Tibet when their vaunted enemies, the Dzungars, began to upset the Mongol balance of power in the frontier land by courting the Tibetan religious aristocracy. Circumstances turned bloody when the Dzungars invaded Lhasa in 1717, and Qing armies counterattacked; although they were welcomed in Lhasa, the encorporation of Kham—the easternmost portion of TAR—into Qing Sichuan, as well as the creation of a Lhasan garrison was not a comforting move. Aggravating the throne further, the Qing also created a regency in Lhasa that split the formerly united political power of the Dalai Lama, propping up local gentry who supported the Qing throne. Without religion to unite the elites, civil conflict was unavoidable. As rival factions of native bureaucrats squabbled with each other, the son of a influential minster plotted to enlist the Dzungars to gain political dominance. The Chinese garrison disposed of the figure, but it incited riots—the Dalai Lama once again turned to Qing help. One resounding beating later, the Qing reversed themselves and the Dalai Lama once again had complete control politically. Finally, the true extent of the Qing’s dominance over their politics materialized when the Tibet was invaded by the Gurkhas. The court gave the Manchu governor of Tibet (amban) priviledges equal to the Dalai and Panchen Lamas, tasked him as the official go-between for Lhasa-Beijing affairs, and even gave him the power to settle succession disputes13.

The driving notion for Chinese intervention was that agency was a commodity. Qing China, as a force more powerful than Tibet, could help in their affairs if given the chance to direct the leadership. However, at the same time it is suggestive that China’s interests were not with benevolently protecting an equal nation of people, but with fighting a sworn enemy (the Dzungars), and occupying Tibet as a means to recouping their war debt. What makes this case even more similar to the Xinjiang colonization was the method of asserting control. An administration that was originally autonomous in reality became more and more directly in Chinese control through building local administration buildings, and creating a strict system of patronage among local elites. Such parallels compell us to ponder, is there any similarity between the techniques employed by the PLA to gain control Xinjiang, in regards to Tibet?

While KMT affairs embroiled Xinjiang up to 1947, the period in Tibet prior to ascension into CPC regency was fraught with civil conflict that exposed the KMT’s ambivalence towards autonomous regions. Chiang Kai-shek, fighting a losing war, needed to regain grasp over Tibet, yet could only do so surreptiously; in Tibet itself, a revolt occurred against Chinese-backed leadership, as the Sera Monastery rebelled. China did not even attempt to mediate this conflict or implement its disingenuous policies. As a result, as Hsiao-Ting Lin contends, China had completely lost Tibet14. A vindicative Tibet was certainly acting the part, and when the CPC was gaining control of China, Tibet had expelled all KMT officials from the land, but not without them designating the new Panchen Lama in Kokonor, a final rebellious act that Tibet refused to recognize. Immediately, the Panchen Lama allied with the CPC, and it was used as a bargaining chip to gain “liberation” on their terms15.

Analogous to the notion of these terms of “liberation” is the Seventeen-Point Agreement, stemming from the 1950 announcement that liberation was a major goal. In truth, it was a major goal, and Mao’s regime tried their best to initially be sensible. As Goldstein mentions,

On one occasion Mao told his generals they had to be partient and go slow in Tibet: ‘Tibet and Xinjiang are different’, he said. ‘In Xinjiang in the old society there were 200,000-300.000 Chinese but in Tibet there was not even a single Chinese. So our troops are in a place where there were no Chinese in the past.’”16

At first the PLA tried persuasion. Meeting failure, they decided to engage the Tibetan miltia at Chamdo. It was too futile a struggle against the organized PLA ranks. Negotiation was necessitated through the veritable conquest of Tibet, and in this agreement China gained for the first time in history a written agreement conceding Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. Many Tibetans felt the terms of the Fourteen-Points Agreement was blatantly unfair, and precluding claims to many forms of autonomy was dangerous. But at the same time, many believed it to be a necessity, as Tibet had clearly been a feudal society in the past. The PRC represented progress in the form of the drive for social equality and modern prosperity.

Hence, the ascendancy of Han authority was perceived as an uncomfortable change, but one that ultimately would lead to some good. Yet, the chavanism brought to the negotiation table was quite obvious. Instead of courting Tibetan leaders through promises of cooperative reform and development, the PLA brought the threat of overwhelming might to the bargaining power. It naturally gave them the ability to demand what they wanted, even if it seemed like they wanted to perserve Tibetan autonomy. This sort of disingenuous practice certainly resembles the role minority positions played in Xinjiang. What is codified on legal documents and what happens due to either practices that are unenforced or occur in the background of political activity are wholly seperate entities, and it is the basis for the majority of modern political abuses of ethnicities. Certainly, this is demonstrable through the difficulties for Tibetans outside of “political Tibet” (henceforth referred to using Phunwang’s term, “Greater Tibet”). When reforms occurred in Sichuan and Qinghai, they were to the diminishment of ethnic Tibetans, yet they could not afford even the constrained recourse that political Tibetans could utilize to have their problems mediated. Their crises pushed them across boundaries to seek refuge in Tibet, where they could protest safely. As tempers raged, the possibility of a major uprising became certain. 17

It was 1956, and both Lhasa and Beijing were plagued by a dreadful feeling of uneasiness. Reforms in Tibet would not progress smoothly; every moment of socialist revolution became, as a Qinghai Provincal Committee remarked, “A very violent class struggle of life and death.”18 Moments of rapid reform would come accompanied by incindiary revolts. As a portion of a larger movement, Greater Tibet was being forced into a black and white discussion: there was to be no alternative to socialist land reform, especially for nomadic life. Unlike policy in Xinjiang, however, there seemed to be greater sensativity to the downfalls of these programs, and Beijing constantly consulted the Dalai Lama in terms of reform. Yet, this sensativity was confined to the political Tibet. As refugees streamed into Tibet’s urban areas unorganized rebellion became carefully crafted: what started as open revolt in Kham in 1956, became a small portion of a larger militarized freedom force based in the mountains outside Lhasa by 1958. The Dalai Lama was unable to resolve how to deal with this force, or even whether to identify them as friend or foe; Beijing, on the other hand, refused to even entertain the idea that there were problems in Tibet. All of this changed the following year, when the rebels openly asked for the Dalai Lama’s support. He refused to support them. The PLA laid siege to Lhasa, while the Dalai Lama fled for India. Mao declared the result a victory, for Tibetans would be less resistant to reform without the presence of the Dalai Lama19.

With the revolt crushed, the timetable for socialist reforms was shortened. New administrative techniques were adopted as well, changing the former system of cooperation with Lhasan elites. An old system that used the Dalai Lama as an intermediary between Tibetan subjects and Beijing policy was discarded in favor for a new system that pushed to enfranchise local intellectuals. Like Xinjiang, schools for minority cadres were set up and the Chinese language was triumphed over Tibetan education, which fortunately continued. The positions these cadres eventually received were far less influential than those of their majority counterparts20. In a sense, the project of assimilation occurred in Tibet much like it did in Xinjiang. Chauvanism at this time was through a similar mechanical implementation of national policy to a province that could not support these policies. But a difference does exist in the modicum of sensitivity that the Chinese expressed in their dealings with the Tibet, especially in terms of the value of their religious autonomy. Whereas the CPC was careful to respect the authority of the Tibetan monastic community, it seems as though at times they overstepped this sensitivity in Xinjiang, when they demanded excessive taxes from mosques’ tithes. Yet, certain things are the same; between Xinjiang and Tibet, it is absolutely certain that the CPC did not have policies responsive to the needs of nomads, an important element that made land reform very unpopular throughout the Chinese frontier. It is also certain that the forms of control used by the Han over their subjects was seen by individual spectators, views that help inform historical analysis.

Bapa Phuntse Wangye (Phunwang) acts as the optimal scope for examining the events in Tibet prior to the Cultural Revolution, as well as a cogent recording of the individual’s experience with the more radical moments in the Maoist era of the PRC. He was born in Batang, an area part of Kham (although not part of political Tibet) and was rapidly habituated into adopting radical thought. He grew up with a childlike adoration for a KMT offical who also desired to bring self-rule to the Khampas through armed resistance. Not only does Phunwang admire his ideals, but his modernity, and from there he desires to be exposed to modernity to share it with his home town21. Eventually, he becomes further radicalized (specifically, through Lenin’s Concerning a Nationality’s Right of Self-Determination) and adopts communism as an ideology due to notion that a political identity can transcend national borders. Starting as merely a schoolyard idea, radical thought develops Phunwang into an activist. Most important to his radical ideas was the notion of development. “The world is changing very quickly. I think if we do not reform ourselves, we will destroy ourselves. We won’t have to worry about the Chinese or anyone else. We will be our own worst enemy.”22 These thoughts crystallized into the formation of the political group, the Eastern Tibet People’s Autonomous Alliance. This group would be the lifeblood of Phunwang’s political aspirations from roughly 1945 to 1975. With a plan for national independence formulated, Phunwang and his compatriots finally had the basis to lead a war of revolution. Eventually, Phunwang associated these originally independent ideas to operations within the CPC as they began to win the civil war. But upon activating within the party, he found that his ideas were not garnering much support in the CPC; in reality, Tibet had been captured with no deference made to his popular plans. This was not unlike the case with ETR in Xinjiang: Phunwang’s dreams of a truly autonomous Tibetan government were slowly eroded, despite continual assurances that the CPC bureaus in Tibet would not retain authority over local bureaucracy23.

What he does discover, however, is that he was not a trusted member of the party. Despite his persistance to achieve his radical dreams through the umbrella of CPC authority, his superiors believed him to be actively sabotaging the party through his old ambitions24. Meanwhile, his own views towards the party begin to change. At first idealistic, he begins to understand that what is ideologically right for the party’s practices are not the reality at hand. The communism he had first learned was through books, and the communism practiced in his province was far from this form. He began to suspect what his Tibetan friends were assuming: that these communists were still Chinese at heart, and therefore exploitative25. The struggle to fight the existance and perception of “Great Han Chauvanism” (da hanzu zhuyi) was a continuous process for Phunwang, but eventually he was the one of the targets of the chauvanism. For his superior, Fan Ming, began to implement more advanced reforms without Phunwang’s approval, through direct consent from above. It prompted his ire, and during the Hundred Flowers movement he argued for the creation of minority “republics” similar to the USSR “socialist republics”. Although this idea was incredibly exciting to Tibetans, it was also a very dangerous idea—both insinuating a relationship with the hated USSR, and preaching too much “local nationalism” for the tastes of the CPC leadership26. He had become, irrevocably, the enemy.

Phunwang’s experiences in prison obscure our vision of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet, for it ranged from 1960 to 1978. But at the same time, it gives historians the tools for examining the memoirs of minority activists, for Phunwang’s prison memories are quite similar to even Han students’ memories of the events. His prison tenure was years of meaningless captivity. It was years before his jailers admitted what his crimes were, and even then they were somewhat ambiguously linked to his radical activities prior to the PLA entering Tibet27. When emerged from prison in 1976, he could only experience the Cultural Revolution second hand, through the aftermath of the chaos, via his family who were stationed in Beijing at the time. What he experienced was incredibly tragic: his wife had been locked into her stall at work where she commited suicide in 1969. People had continually abused Phunwang’s family in ignorant racist terms. The student activists believed them to be spies, who harbored secret telegraph equipment as well as artifacts constructed from human skin28. He experienced the same sort of numbness that other participants and victims felt: numbness. He had exited the prison and was given no apollogy or explanation for the actions of the state, and events occurred so quickly he could account for them. And most tragic for Phunwang, his years of good intentioned radical activity had been rejected as bad thought for no significant reason. Unlike other observers, however, he had the persistence to seek out the rationality to explain these events, and in 1985 he was finally given the validation of having his Tibetan party verified as a true communist party29.

What can be adopted from Phunwang’s limited view of the Cultural Revolution? Certainly, it is that not everyone is capable of having a lucid view of the events. But also, that having a lucid view is not a prerequisite to compiling a lucid history. The sudden onslaught of history he received upon release from prison suffered the same irrationality that others perceieved in the period, and his reaction was suitably alike: a numbness that gave way to a continued effort to achieve his goals in a reformed nation. But it also exposes the goals for most Tibetan intellectuals on the eve of the Cultural Revolution. Like Phunwang, many Tibetans wanted to use membership in the PRC as a vehicle to achieve development. However, they too wanted political autonomy, and saw it as a rational end for communist policy, as it was part of the constitution as well as Leninist ideology. Unfortunately, propagating this notion was also seen as comprimising the intergrity of Chinese nationalism, and to an extent this was seen as mutually exclusive with the goal to develop through the PRC. Most of all, the evils of the “Great Han Chauvanism” that Phunwang fights against was that it valued the identity of one nation over another, when autonomy demanded for the two to be equals. He in response advocated constitutional reform on part of the PRC, including steps to recognize Greater Tibet, the study of native languages, and autonomy in local affairs and militia30. The crimes of Han chauvanism in this regard are accounted for in Phunwang’s narrative, as well as his personal response to the problem; it is natural for us to expect this kind of discourse on part of Xinjiang intellectual’s memoirs as well. However, what can be expected from a first hand participant in the Cultural Revolution?

Tashi Tsering is just the man necessary to submit a personal narrative for ethnic minorities regarding particupation in student activism. Whereas Phunwang was a first generation communist originating from the periphery of Tibet, Tashi Tsering was a slightly older figure who had been sent to Lhasa at a young age, where he served as gadrugba dancer to the Dalai Lama. Also unlike Phunwang, his education was very cosmopolitian. In 1957 he left Tibet for Calcutta, India. A year later, he was accepted into St. Joseph’s in Darjeeling to finish his secondary education as well as to study English. He observed the rebellion occuring in Lhasa at first from afar and then on location. It was distressing for him to imagine radical change for Tibet, but at the same time hoped such change would accompany development. Sentiments hospitable to modernizing continued as Tashi Tsering continued with his education, even as he went to the west. In 1960, he travelled to New York to study at Williams College, and the next year to Seattle to study at the University of Washington. As his education progressed, he began to realize that modernization could not occur from a government-in-exile, but from within the PRC. This led him to return home, despite the wishes of his friends who worked with the exiled Dalai Lama.

When he returned to China, he anticipated continuing his studies at Peking University; policy dictated that he had to study at a minority institute31. His studies were rather frustrating, as he found correct ideology taking the forefront over subject matter. Around this time the GCPR was launched, and Tashi did not feel at danger at the moment, for he was for radical change and was not a capitalist roader. Because he was at Beijing at the time, he was also part of the revolutionary fervor; in this, he was proud of his conscious decision to return to China rather than serve the Tibetan exiles. However, this declaration did nothing but promote the ire of his classmates32. At the end of 1966, Tashi and his Tibetan classmates decided to return home to pursue revolution. Greeting his friends from the past, he perceieved the first victims of the Cultural Revolution. Progressive Tibetans were being struggled against, and he could but rationalize that they had done something counterrevolutionary33.

In reality, it was religion that was inspiring struggle. Lhasa was a deeply Buddhist city, but even burning lamps in offering to a deity was grounds for punishment. Like a “wet hat”, the formely liberal policies had dried (through the 1959 uprising) to become uncomfortable and chauvanistic for the Lhasans. Tashi Tsering identitied the crackdown on religion as being far too indiscriminate. Yet he persisted to be a Red Guard because he wished to root out counterrevolutionary elements. Unfortunately, he was quickly identified as one of these elements. On October 13, 1967 he was publically struggled against. His fellow Tibetans were adamantly believed in his guilt. His crimes were not ideological, but experiential. Tashi Tsering was an enemy because he had visited India and America. They sought his repentance for these small crimes, but additionally saw a greater crime in a Tashi who was an advocate for Tibetan independence. Like Phunwang, Tsering suffered weeks of intimidating interrogation. Unlike Phunwang, his captors were his classmates. After weeks of interrogation in his school, he was sent to a makeshift jail on campus, inhabitated by both Han and Tibetan people. Segregation during the Cultural Revolution, according to Tsering, only occurred via class lines. Months passed in this jail as he feared the fate of his friends, as well as his country amidst rumors of war with the USSR. In 1970, he was finally sent to a larger formal prison in Changwu County, where he was sent once more to Xianyang prison, then Chengdu, and then finally Sangyib prison, where he was prisoner from 1971 through 1973. Like Phunwang, Tashi was assigned solitary confinement and was not sentenced to a specific length, a luxury that political prisoners from the Lhasa Uprising were allowed. He was interrogated by Tibetan and Han interrogators alike. The terms of his release were equally mysterious; he chalks it up to bureaucratic mismanagement.

Upon his release from prison, in the later years of the Cultural Revolution, Tashi surveys the impoverishment that the movement has perpetuated upon Xianyang, Lhasa, as well as his home town. Everyone seemed half dead, and under tge cinnybe system production rates had fallen tremendously. Mao’s death is a monumentous relief for his mind, as he hopes the chauvanism that had occurred during the years of the Cultural Revolution would dissappear with him. The following years followed Tashi Tsering returning to Xianyang, seeking rehabilitation. Finally, in 1978—the same year Phunwang was rehabilitated—Tashi Tsering’s imprisonment was ruled as unjust and the CPC recompensated him for his losses.

In many ways, Tashi Tsering is quite similar to Phunwang. Both valued a semblanece of national independence coupled with the developmental force that the PRC could provide to Tibet. Both were genuinely passionate about developing Tibet, and took many potentially hazardous paths in order to achieve their goals. And both saw the power in maintaining identity through preserving the Tibetan language. However, the forms of chauvanism the two faced were starkly different. We see ethnic chauvanism occuring in Phunwang’s narrative predominantly through his family’s experiences during the Cultural Revolution, as well as his personal experiences with the difficulties affecting politics as a minority politician. But in Tashi Tsering’s views, he was suspected by everyone—both through Han Chinese in Beijing, and his villagers alike! Furthermore, his experiences in prisons equally Han and Tibetan, showed that class background and (probably) personal conflict determined guilty individuals during the Cultural Revolution. This makes the Tibetan experience quite similar to the average Han victim of Cultural Revolution violence. Moreover, it demonstrates the challenges that are promulagated in a GPCR experience just by being unique; Tashi Tsering aggravated Red Guards to struggle against him simply because his international quality made him provocative and different.

What makes Xinjiang different, then? Exploring this question requires an approach seperating these differences from the similiarities. We can draw the differences of Xinjiang’s experience only through the historical record; then, we can use this model to judge against both the techniques and resistance to chauvanism, in tandem to the lessons extracted from the narratives of the time.

Examining Xinjiang as a function of the mechanical operations of national movements puts us in 1960, with the Great Leap Forward; in Xinjiang, it took the same path as it did elsewhere in China, albeit with its own share of problems. Reforming nomadic agriculture, as explained, was a source of great misery during this time, and collectivization of livestock forced the pasture to become sedentarized, and in Dzungaria, the steppe cannot sustain such concentrated activity. Ultimately several collective pastures failed34. In later years of the movement, collectivization became retrenched, and as commune were reorganized, McMillen notes, “[It] essentially represented the re-emergence of the bifurcation between state and society”, as administrating so many people in so many diverse farming conditions was too difficult a task35.

Whereas the university played the role of bringing together radicalized students during the Cultural Revolution in Han Proper, in Xinjiang the bingtuan state farms served a similar purpose. Red Guards traveled to Urumqi to form “the Second Red Headquarters” and the military began occupying the bingtuan for their own radical purposes. Immediately, the local commissar Wang Enmao was accused of being a capitalist roader because he refused to join the local revolutionary committee. He reacted by forming his own Red Guard group designed to defend Xinjiang’s revolutionary cadres from outsider Red Guards.36Like the rest of the nation, the State called upon the PLA to enforce order, to no effect. Despite the dominant view that the cities of Xinjiang were merely backwater frontier towns, they experienced the very same violence as urban areas to the east did. For instance, on January 26th 1967, tens of thousands of Shanghai youth clashed in Shihezi. They had attempted to seize control of a textile factory and were arrested by conservative Red Guards, and then promptly executed. Factionalism was widespread in Xinjiang as it was in Shanghai or Beijing. 37 The chaos was so intense at one point that Wang Enmao threatened to occupy the Lop Nor nuclear testing facilities to ensure that Red Guards would demilitarize38. It took several years after 1971 for order to be restored. By that time, Wang Enmao has been purged and Lin Biao’s soldiers had begun to replace the more moderate PLA officers in the area. Even when order was restored, it took decades for Xinjiang’s economy to recover, due to the epicenter of Red Guard activity having occurred in the bingtuan.

Millward emphasizes, however, what is not discussed, namely, what occurred in Uyghur majority locations. Reports read of radical troops engaging in border raids with Soviet Russian troops, and locals had a very real fear of starting an international conflict. Being non-Han during the midst of this movement did not allow you the opportunity to be more radical, in fact, it made you the target of radicals. Uyghurs were commonly and baselessly accused of being involved with separatist conspiracies, especially those with background in ETR. Even high ranked officers of non-Han descent were targets for slander. Getting rid of the “Four Olds” in a Han majority region might mean desecrating artifacts, but in Xinjiang it meant xenophobia in the most violent fashion possible. The Qu’ran was burned in public, mosques vandalized with pig flesh, and racial epithets crowded the air. There were no pretenses for maintaining the notion of “autonomy” in Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution. Everything crude and ignorant that had been suppressed for the sake of magnamity was being exposed as a weapon, not criticized.39 These crimes are not discussed through party self-criticism, Millward laments, and to discuss this persecution even today is considered treason.

To this degree there are quite a few dissimilarities between Tibet and Xinjiang. Perhaps to some degree part of the intial colonial experience, where Xinjiang existed as the war spoils for the Qing court, Xinjiang seems to have experienced a larger degree of native revolt and overall Han antipathy. Because of this, it is likely the potential for ethnic conflict, during the moments of loosened social order of the Cultural Revolution, is far greater in Xinjiang than Tibet. In terms of great game politics, both provinces dealt with the western powers—Tibet with Britain (and to a degree, America) and Xinjiang with Russia/USSR—the sheer hostility that China harbored for USSR during the Cultural Revolution would make life in Xinjiang slightly tenser than Tibet in regards to international conflict. Finally, the ethnic demographics between Tibet and Xinjiang were greatly different: in Xinjiang there was a resident Han population as well as several minorities—people of Turkish, Mongol, as well as Sogdian heritage. In Tibet, there was a far more homogenous population, and the significance of this disparity cannot be under-emphasized.

In documenting chauvanism, it has taken the several important overlapping forms. First, was the ability for the Qing to control affairs indirectly through patronage of local elites; despite the identities of these local governors being equivalent to the local population, the reality was that they practiced the policies of the Qing court. Second, was the CPC’s action of co-opting prexisting political organizations and ideology, in an attempt to fortify their control over the political atmosphere of their regencies. Third, was their practice of applying uniform policies onto these regions, despite their status as autonomous from the whole of the PRC. Fourth, the CPC employed shows of might to heavily influence negotiations that they claimed to be truly cooperative.

In addition to modes of Han chauvanism, there are means for minorities to resist. First, was the armed revolt, usually dictated by dire circumstances. Second, there was “local nationalism”, whether based on ethnicity (e.g. pan-Turkism) or religion (e.g. pan-Islamism), it was more or less a mechanism for organization for armed conflict initially, and turning into a formal ideological stance as the localities became imbedded into the PRC. Third, and most important, was resistance to assimilation by means of codifying one’s culture. Like the previous forms of chavanism, these means to resist are not mutually exclusive, although their progressive development spells that the later developed techniques are generally more effective within the confines of modern PRC politics.

Among the two narratives we analyzed, there were several congruencies. One similarity between Phunwang and Tashi’s stories was that both were relatively disengaged during the Cultural Revolution. Their memories of the event are not at all nostalgic, but clouded by the bars of prison. In liberation, they are numb and cannot reconcile the events that have passed with their years of political engagement. Once again, the Cultural Revolution is portrayed as an aberration, and it is only after pushing the CPC to realize their misconception of their forms of political activity do they feel at peace. A second similarity was that their analysis that “Great Han Chauvanism” was the main enemy to the welfare of Tibet. They saw it persist despite the idealistic rhetoric of the CPC’s constitution. Yet, they did not give up even when directly attacked by this chauvanism. The centerpiece of their narrative was a merger of the collective and individual: they believe in the power of progressivism, and their ability to act upon the progressivism to change their faulty nation for the better. Finally, both identify that the PRC is an important body to Tibetan politics in the sense that it can drive Tibetan development. Both see the primary problem with Tibet as the lack of social welfare and backwardsness of the province. They agree with communism’s aim as a modernizing force and both strive to realize a goal related to developing Tibet. As a whole, both are Tibetans who are emblematic of the multifarious goals of Tibet: they simultaneously seek modernism, as well as resist chauvanism by means of codifying Tibet’s language and culture, and in general, this is the basis for modern Tibetan activism.

So where does Xinjiang’s possible narratives fit in this slew of themes? I believe they would fall within the notion of activism, albeit in a capacity wholly unique from Tibet’s expression of this action. The general sense of activism, to unite the reinforcement of an autonomous culture (the modern form of resistance against assimilation) with the hunt for modern prosperity, is something shared between the two regions. On the basis of the differentiating factors, it is questionable whether any one Uighur or Hui memorist would report, as Tashi Tsering, that the Cultural Revolution struggled wholly through class identification, for they would know preternaturally from generations of authoritarian rule that nearly every act of violence has a bit of chauvanism latent within it. Xinjiang memoirists would certainly remember the events are irrational, for they were merely the victims of a mechanical national movement, and in truth their political intentions had little to do with their punishments, as seen with the Tibetan activists.

A final would point truly seperate the Xinjiang stories from the Tibetan ones: considering the coexistance of Xinjiang ethnic minority and majority populations, what could differentiate the Han story, if both are judged as a function of their “backwater” environment by migrating students and elites? Perhaps answering this distinction could serve the great purpose of blurring lines of identity, formerly clearly drawn alongside ethnicty. Although studying the Cultural Revolution might demand that a lot of events deemed merely “irrational” to be explained on cogent terms, to do the opposite exposes the sheer arbitrary nature of identity. In the end, while some people use mountains to define who they are a person, it is only one view. Legality changes through the winds of time, as does the ephemeral perception of man. But some things do not change and cannot be demarcated by a mountain range. Authority will always be authority no matter how it disguises itself, and a story will always be a story no matter how it dresses itself up. It is those without either who pass with the wind, and the responsibility of the historian is to account for these fleeting moments.

[1] It can be contended that the occupation occurred as an attempt to recoup war debt; to this extent the leadership would be hesitant to spend additional silver to finance grain subsidies for poor villagers or to properly recompensate their banner troops. As a result, the province was backwards and it was a powderkeg of tension.

1Beyond the Pass 32-33

2Kim 1-3

3Beyond the Pass 194: the original charcter for Muslim features the current character for the ethnicity (回族) as a phonetic alongside the dog radical. It was quickly banned, but for a brief period this was a popular derogatory term.

4Kim 45-48

5Ibid 68-71

6Beyond the Pass 240-247

7Wang 90-97

8Starr 86-87

9 Ibid 91-82

10 Ibid 88

11Eurasian Crossroads 250-253

12Ibid 256-263

13Grunfeld 40-47

14Lin 194-198

15Lin 201-205

16Snow Lion 38-42

17Snow Lion 46-54

18Grunfeld 124

19Ibid 141-154

20Ibid 166-179

21Tibetan Revolutionary 17-21

22Ibid 67

23Tibetan Revolutionary 148-153

24Ibid 155-159

25Ibid 160

26Ibid 200-218

27Ibid 256-265

28Tibetan Revolutionary 262-276

29Ibid 304-308

30Ibid 280-298

31Struggle 92

32Ibid 106

33Ibid 109

34 Starr 93-94

35 McMillen 146-147

36 Starr 95

37 McMillen 198-206

38 Ibid 215

39 Starr 96-100

THE CHAINS OF IDEA AND THE CAGE OF SOCIETY: Contrasting Gramsci’s hegemony (incomplete)

•May 17, 2008 • 1 Comment
    Man is unhappy and wicked as long as he is chained by law, custom and received ideas. He needs to be freed in order to be saved. The creative power of destruction has become an article of faith.1

A certain amount of universality exists in such a statement, that a life dictated beyond the realm of humanity is not conducive to a harmonious life. In the scope of the conundrum above, conflicts persist in society due to the subordinate role of its consisting members in relation to its norms. Norms can be defined in a number of ways, including the form of laws, regulations, and traditions as Gramsci previously states. In a broader sense, norms might be stated as but one half of larger systemic analysis, placed within the framework of the Marxist thought heavily influencing Gramsci. One segment works to satisfy the material desires of the society, meanwhile another segment acts as the environment in which the laborers interact. The interaction between the two formulate a world propelled by conflict: whether within the sphere of political economy or political culture. But to directly address the problem stated above is to look at the latter—the social environment of the economy that determines the distribution of assets—is to focus upon the cultural materials of a society, and how it interacts with the process of satisfying the material concerns of society.

Defined through Marx, conflict through domination of norms can be seen as the perpetuation of ideology through a base-superstructure system. In analyzing his scholarship (in particular The German Ideology and Preface to a Critique of Political Economy) with a focus upon the superstructure, one finds that it creates a viewpoint suitable for reinforcing false consciousness into humanity regardless of class identity. Further scrutiny of Marx and Engels’ definition of this relationship can be sought by the suitable term hegemony by Gramsci, through his early Prison Notebooks. Identifying hegemony in conjunction with a Marxist definition of superstructure should provide the basis for Gramsci’s cynicism towards “recieved ideas”. Hegemony is best understood in three forms: how he describes it (compared to Marx), how hegemony is established and maintained (especially through intellectuals), and how it is a necessary condition for historical materialism and therefore revolution of the proleteriat (and freedom in a Marxist sense). A case study is provided to demonstrate the interaction of  humanity satisfying their desires and how they organize themselves to achieve this goal. Through only a brief glance at Max Weber’s analysis of the reciprocal development of Capitalism and Protestant Christianity through The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, it is evident that domination through a closed system that influences the interests of involved parties consequentially changes the definition of agency in the perceived world, perpetuating a form of alienation of mankind from their social interests through constant rationalization in a time where the legal underpinnings of the rational are becoming more and more obscure in satisfying societal needs.

To Gramsci, the ideal method of reading intellectual material is the method of a prisoner, drawing a the guiding spirit from the book like blood from a stone. Through attentive, almost obsessive, detail of the larger themes in texts and the motives behind their creation, and who encompasses the population receptive to these themes2. It is in such a spirit of sensativity of context that Marx’s analysis of dialectical materialism can be explained. With a focus placed heavily upon social relations and the superstructural portion of society as a whole, reading Marx can act as a suitable background for a close reading of Gramsci. Discussion of the themes of (a) the development of a dominant class, (b) the definition of ideology, as well as (c) Marx’s understanding of the two interacting teleologically creates a definition of Marx effective for describing the dialectical materialism for the sake of Gramscian critique.

Dominant class is naturally defined through class. Class is defined by commonality in labor as well as the entire production system. Labor defines class only insofar as the division of labor shapes the social relations of production. Production changes with time, as do the  science, technology, and the instruments of labor. As production changes, a surplus of value-added by labor is observed, and creates the beginnings of the division of labor. With the advent of the social class, comes historical modes of relation, otherwise seen as different regimes of exploitation. Bourgeoise Capitalism is the stage of exploitation that Marx identifies as the contemporary regime. Yet, the domination of the capitalists—the dominant class—only serves to create an opportunity for the subordinate class to resist. By virtue of recognizing their subordinate position of society, the proleterian class can begin revolution. Hence, once one recognizes their identity through a Marxist scope, one can survey the whole of the social landscape, host to the theory of historical materialism that determines the terms of domination between classes. It is reasonable to believe that the existence of the dominant class as a theoretical of view society creates the possibility of the creation of a praxis to accompany the theory. Any activity that exhibits having an application to the means-end formula can be said to be praxis. Marx and Engels argue that one condition suitable for furthering the historical materialism is the balance of practice and theory to a state of equilibrium. The best course of action is Communism; proleteriat political cooperation, prostelization of class consciousness to bourgeoise, and the end of exploitation of surplus labor by means of capital.

Yet, this explanation of exploitation merely accounts for one half of society. The base of society, in Marx refers to this in his Critique to Political Economy as the paring of the base and the superstructure. Marx’s goal may be interpreted as finding an equilibrium between the opposing pair of thought and practice; it follows that it is necessary to find the equilibrium of each opposing pair in Marxist thought. Translated into theory over the base and superstructure, a criticism of Marx is that his focus is upon the base over the superstructure in his analysis. Citing example work such as Capital, the domination of the proleteriat is seen to be predominantly the value the dominant class exploits from the subordinate class, as opposed to the values the dominant class expropriates unto the subordinate class. Existence of such a critique exists for Gramsci to utilize in the confines of his cultural analysis. Effectively, this allows for the interpretation of a force that dominates both realms equally, as opposed to depending upon the dictates of political economy alone, the hegemony, and an elaboration of steps necessary to further historical materialism (the counterhegemony).

Turning the focus to ideology, one can find an elaboration on the true relationship between the base and superstructure. Marx interprets ideology as being related to the Hegelian means: ideology can be used to order the world (as to reach an end), but it obscures the interests of parties adhering to the ideology as well. In combining these two elements, ideology can be illustrated as a function of ethico-political motives to who engineers. Naturally, the dominant class has the ability to engineer ideology more efficiently than the subordinate class, due to their social surplus. The ethico-political motive imbedded in the dominant ideology, therefore, is the maintance of the social surplus. To this end, Marx identifies a link between social relations in the material sense, and in the ideological sense; the former determines the latter, according to Marx. Ideology is also not limited to political doctrines or religious dogma: any social view must contain ideology, for it cannot immediately be proved as objective. Additionally, ideology is rendered as a closed system: contradictions must be solved within ideologies, lest they fall into disuse. Ergo, ideology acts as a link between base and superstructure; the dominant ideology is the subjective means for the dominant class to maintain their domination, self-sustaining in its ability to correct contradictions as they appear, functioning as an extension of the dominant class’ compulsion to sustain their dominance.

Two areas of interest are promulgated by critics of Marx. The workings of ideology in how they maintain this self-sustainability is an area of considerable interest to Gramsci, who finds the notion useful in application to Marxism itself. Critique is used to find the underlying social interests driving ideology, and critique can find the appropriate practice to solve the contradictions in a doctrine. Marx’s teleology benefits the greatest from this act. Second, and primarly, questions have been raised regarding causality. Is evaluating the nature of ideology presupposed to the evaluation of material conditions? Is it not conceivable, that considering the base-superstructure is seen as a unity of opposites, that the base should affect, as well as be affected by the superstructure? Gramsci investigates this claim as reciprocity, and Weber too can be seen as proffering an interpretation on this sort of unitary viewpoint. For now, it is simple enough for the critic to find that the emphasis Marx plays upon the base as the prime mover in determining social conditions allows for the emergence of an alternate focusing upon the superstructure.

Teleology provides an end for the means illustrated by ideology, travelling a path designed to subvert the power of the dominant class. It is with this unity of terminology that allows for a focus upon the notion of Hegelian means and end. Both are in a state of rapid flux, in attempting to create a suitable ideal end point and a suitable procedure for achieving the end point, to match the perceived interests of a subject. Hence, there exist not one but two ends: the subjective end—the ideal satisfaction of the subject’s interests, and the realized end—the outcome that actually occurs. There is an inherent gap between the two end points, however, it is possible to shorten or lengthen the gap between the two, in particular through careful manipulation of means.

For Marxism, the idealized end point is Communism, an environment devoid of class domination. Emancipation is the end, equilibrium between thought and practice is the means. The historical materialism is described as eventually bringing about the environment suitable for Communist revolution: through the devaluation of labor and expansion of the ranks of the working poor, class consciousness spreads and a strong Communist party is created through the common experience of historical materialism. Yet, the procedure behind creating the strong, cohesive Communist party is not so decidedly simple. Consider the following: if bourgeoise ideology changes constantly, and it obscures the nature of social relations, should it not have the ability to condition class consciousness?

Indeed, Marxism itself holds an ideological component, so it ideally should have pace to constantly change as bourgeoise capitalism does. To hold fast to a static conception of Marxist literature is to be conservative; to think of the gulf between the subjective state of Communism and the contemporary, realized state of Communism is too vast to ever be bridged is merely a result of the false consciousness instilled by the ideological component. The solution for ideology is simple: critique. Through critique, contradicitions are found and exposed; the dialectical materialism is expanded in this manner to encompass the superstructural component of society, and in an ideal scope it adopts the Hegelian dialectical. Dialectical process is defined by creating a theory (thesis), subjecting it to critique (antithesis), resulting in the creation of a new means (synthesis). The means created by such a process is a purposive means. For Marx, this explains why he believes that thought must be tempered by practice to fullfill the potential of historical materialism. What he fails to realize is that his philosophy of praxis garnered activism and critique of bourgeoise society in a pronounce material sense, his fight was for social equality through socially progressive legislation. What needed to be subjected to critique was not only the static conception of Marxism, but the manifold elements in bourgeoise society exhibiting elements of ideology. To not subject critique to these elements would be to neglect a process necessary for forging the means to reach an end closer to the ideal state of Communism. [1]

Thus, through combining dominant class, their ideology, and the teleology behind it, one finds ample room for critics of Marx to synthesize new forms of Communism. For Gramsci, this meant literature sketching out the appropriate actions necessary to overcome the dominance of the bourgeoise through the superstructure and to adapt to the changing nature of the bourgeoise capitalism that allowed domination to persist in the face of mass exploitation.

In this sense Gramsci acts as both critic as well as disciple of Marx rooted in the parameters of his dialectical materialism, generating critique in order to further the flag of Socialism. His thoughts  are a function of his environment: the Prisoner Notebooks Gramsci produced focuses upon popular culture because it was only tracts he was allowed to have access to. Yet, through close reading, it is obvious that his scholarship is as important as it is influential. Gramsci’s attack focuses upon common sense not only because the constraints of his environment, but also the form of domination it represented. Societal norms represent an ideal combination of coercion and force used to ensnare the mind of the masses. So coercive is the force of norms that it demands universal consent from the masses at a level of individual lifestyles. Such coercion is almost devoid of conspicuous use of force because they can lack formalized codification, usually deriving their common adherence from long de facto culture-based behaviors. Norms are ideal exercises of power, in essence, because they are so deeply ingrained into society that the majority of individuals cannot possibly conceive of acting against them. Through the exploration of this form of power, Gramsci represents a greater movement of postmodern political theorists to analyze what defines false consciousness in its purported existence. This totality of base rule and superstructural domination is called a hegemony.

The new form of domination can be thrown off, naturally. To explain the appropriate actions, Gramsci relies on three terms to explain the bourgeoise hegemony. He adapts Georges Sorel’s idea of the historic bloc to explain the unity of the base and superstructure, and sketches out a practice based upon the didactic value of the interaction between the two sectors. Using this didactive currency are organic intellectuals, who are capable of spreading class consciousness through exerting a brand of ethico-political leadership. Once a party of sufficient size has been organized through the work of the intellectuals, the nature of their class struggle is rendered by Gramsci as a war of position. The type of struggle Gramsci envisions is seperated from Marx’s revolution in the areas of society where it predominantly affects—particularly civil society, via cultural and ideological struggle. Understanding the three terms allows for one to arrive at the definititon of counterhegemony, of which the success of Socialism lies.

Defining the term “historical bloc” is quite a difficult task. Gramsci never defines it under Sorel’s terms, preferring to define it under his own terms:

    Structures and superstructures form a ‘historical bloc’. That is to say the complex, contradictory and discordant ensemble of the superstructures is the reflection of the ensemble of the social relations of production. From this, one can conclude: that only a totalitarian [“all absorbing” according to the footnote] system of ideologies gives a rational reflection of the contradiction of the structure and represents the existence of the objective conditions for the revolutionizing of praxis. If a social group is formed which is one hundred per cent homogeneous on the level of ideology, this means that the premisses exist one hundred per cent for this revolutionizing: that is that the ‘rational’ is actively and actually real. This reasoning is based on the necessary reciprocity between structure and superstructures, a reciprocity which is nothing other than the real dialectical process. 3

A dialectical process, as demonstrated, is a unitary pair of opposites that lead to progress. The progress of historical materialism, defined by Gramsci in this statement, is linked to the dialectical relationship of the base and superstructure. To look at the unity at any given moment is to perceive a historical bloc, a “a particular moment of unity of structure and superstructure and of thought and action”4. Hence, in the creation of the historical bloc Gramsci welds Marx’s unitary pairs together. With base and superstructure welded together, the interpretation of Marx’s statement that being is defined through definite social relations, the production of material, is flawed. If the interaction between material inequality and dominant ideology is reciprocal, then it must be that being cannot be clearly defined from thinking, as the world inside the human consciousness mimicks the real world that social relations occur.

Also, it is worth noting that Gramsci’s conception of totality is not simply a political one, for Gramsci says that it encompasses all ideologies—it is a social conception, as well.  The totalitarian system that can bring unity to praxis and structure brings together the economic, moral, and political segments of society. A functioning totality of these segments formulates a notion, a worldview combining subjectivity and objectivity. The notion is generated through continual sublation of old ideas containing contradictions. Bourgeoise capitalism, Marx defines through Capital, stems from the notion that goods can be produced solely for exchange5. Communism can inversely stem from the Communist Manifesto‘s notion that the “positive supersecession of private property”, among other factors, are the means to emancipate man. Gramsci’s historical bloc, on the other hand, stems from the notion that unity of culture, ideology and economical life leads to the means to emancipate man. What can be made of this ambivalent disparity?

It is appropriate to return to Hegelian thought to find Gramsci’s key idea. Hegel alludes that the desired end (or beginning) of all subjective means as the unity of notion and being. The emancipation of man is the subjective end man seeks, according to Marx: Notion is defined as Communism and the Being consciousness defined as definite social relations. To Gramsci, the Being does not form a unity with Notion, because Being must be both thought and definite relations (as social relations are determined by ideology). Marx might view that an entirely objective view of the world to be impossible, but he neglects to seek how ideology shapes the subjective view of material. In creating the historical bloc as a moment where superstructure and base is unitary, theory (in the form of recieved ideologies) becomes equal to practice as a criterion of truth. Ambivalence to Gramsci for the sake of this argument is perpetuated because theory and practice reciprocate and are equally important for the revolutionary cause, and that even Marx claims that the unity between theory and practice creates a basis for revolution from below. In this claim, Marx favors one way over the other—that economics hold primacy over human development.

In this contradiction lies Gramsci’s idea for the principal task: he finds that the vast array of intellectual production can create many solutions that contradict each other in finding a fairly common goal (human welfare). His principal task is to organize these diverse philosophic, economic, and political tracts into a dialectical unity. One way to describe this dynamic is that ideology acts the part of form, and material conditions act as the content (for the purposes of critique and aligning form to match content)6. When various means are placed within such a unity, the end becomes clear and contradictions are resolved rapidly. This task puts the organic intellectual into the focus of the Gramscian critique. Hegemony is defined by his task: it is a society where all forms of culture reach an end equivalent to material circumstances at the same time shapes the nature of production. Bourgeoise hegemony  is defined by the historical bloc as a moment in history where all cultural facets tout the whims of the dominant class through dominant ideology while the laws garnering economics sustain the dominance. If the superstructure remains an area of enquiry for Marx’s critics, it remains to be seen who and what are the factors perpetuating ideology. [2]

Gramsci’s conception of the intellectual is rooted in the Marxist conception of the intellectual as a manufacturer of ideology. Intellectuals, although an entity to be considered beyond class analysis, have their interests shaped by class.  Accordingly, there are two brands of intellectuals: those who produce “organic” ideologies, and those who do not (inversely, producing “traditional” ideologies). Organism is defined as acting in concert with history, in the sense of showing class consciousness. Paradoxically, acting as a feature of history to Gramsci is marked by collectivity; acting occurs upon the political level, hence one needs necessary political support of the masses to effectively change society in any fashion. Intellectuals can thus be stated to gain their power in through their leadership potential. Political action occurs within the State, but values of the constituting members of society are influenced by the civil society. Intellectual involvement can influence the spheres of civil and public society. Combining these two points Cain states,

    the function of the state and of political society is coercion…civil society provides a protective layer between the infrastructure and the state or political control…the conquest of civil society is a prerequisite for the final conquest of political society…hegemony is something like ideological control or control within civil society; in the expanded conception hegemony, like the state, is both civil and political: is a way of saying that a class is in superstructural dominance.7

Superstructural control for Gramsci is both political and ideological, and entraps both civil and public society. Coercive power through ideological manufacture can be found to be foundational in the design of common sense, where the production of ideas in civil society ostensibly have a political dimension. If common sense holds political sway, and it is modified by all those who contribute, then it must be that there is a possibility for any part of the masses to become intellectuals. This is tempered by the statement that, “[a] philosophy of praxis cannot but present itself at the outset in a polemical and critical guise, as superseding the existing mode of thinking and existing concrete thought (the existing cultural world).”8 Socialist theory in its optimal form should act as a critique of this common sense, so it may engage the masses. The culmination of this theme is that hegemony is the production of a dialectical relationship between force and consent: hegemony cannot exist without an intellectual leadership9. Intellectual force is a requirement for the creation of the collective will, of which historical acts cannot occur10. Through intellectuals, historical bloc can be pursued: in its organic nature, when ideologies become analyzed at a class level, it becomes the necessary framework for every struggle to occur.  [3]

Struggle organically is still a zero-sum game, according to Laclau, because “a failure in the hegemony of the working class can only be followed by a reconstititution of bourgeoise hegemony.”11 But, this statement to Laclau is not to emphasize economic determination, but as a limit to hegemony. Where one is relative to the modes of production cannot be a valid presupposition for where one is relative to this political battle, because of the fashion intellectuals operate in constantly redefining the norms of society. Within hegemony, political ideologies as a representation of peoples’ interests, is not really representation. Contrary to this statement, the act of representation changes the nature of what is represented; hegemony is dependent on constructing interests for the sake of constructing a collective will. Class struggle is not the name of the game through this sort of theory, but a war of subjective positions, and battles between social agents and classes12. Gramsci describes the battle in a manner that expands upon class struggle and places it into this complex social system, where oppositional identity is undefined from the beginning of the hegemonic process13. Revolution in Gramsci’s gaze is an  ambivalent relationship between the notions that (a) interests are static and linked to class struggle, and (b) that their interests are wholly subjective upon the historical bloc with which they are identified.

Gramsci’s theory of hegemony accepts the complexities of politics, and at the same time assigns it a primacy in relation to economics. Struggle in his mind accordingly take complex political dimensions that are not wholly determined by identity within modes of production. Struggle, for Gramsci, took a superstructural dimension that went beyond economic status of a society. The conflict found in hegemonic blocs could be advanced as a war of position:

    The superstructures of civil society are like the trench-systems of modern warfare. In war it would sometimes happen that a fierce artillery attack seemed to have destroyed the enemy’s entire defensive system, whereas in fact it had only destroyed the outer perimeter; and at the moment of their advance and attack the assailants would find themselves confronted by a line of defence which was still effective. The same thing happens in politics, during great economic crises. A crisis cannot give the attacking forces the ability to organize with lightning speed in time and in space; still less can it endow them with fighting spirit. Similarly, the defenders are not demoralized, nor do they abandon their positions, even among the ruins, nor do they lose faith in their own strength or their own future. 14

Subversion of bourgeoise capitalism to Gramsci involved entrenched warfare where class struggle did not define politics in the same manner that it did not create static combatents in the conflict. War of position is waged through “progressive disaggregation of a civilization and the construiction of another around a new class core.”15 Battle is waged not through class struggle naturally, Gramsci argues, but through articulation. Class interests must be asserted through the historical bloc, through every politically accessible sector of civilization, until the hegemonic subject conceives of class interest as their own: an egoistic identity becomes discarded for the sake of one constructed by the historical bloc, and in Communism’s case an identity based upon relations of production. What is essential to be known about the nature of this battle is the fact that “there is no logical and necessary relation between socialist objectives and the positions of social agents in the relations of production; and that the articulation between them is external and does not proceed from any natural movement of each to unite with the other.”16

How does this social constructivism meld with the activities of the intellectuals with the apparent need for a “collective will”? Common sense is demonstrated to have a political bearing, based upon its historicity. But it is a chaotic one, due to the amount of people modifying it. Found within the common sense is good sense, forming a tentative oppositional relationship with common sense. Good sense is to be promoted as a sense that goes beyond narrow interests and acts as a critique of the imposed will of the dominant culture. For Gramsci philosophy, particularly the philosophy of Marxist praxis, is a form of good sense. It is good sense not because it creates new forms of thought. Marxist praxis is defined by practice, so it is good sense because it “supersedes the existing mode of thinking and existing concrete thought.” Tackling the dominant class through revolution to Gramsci follows this plan of entrenched war. One fights as an intellectual through critique of the society at large, through bolstering common sense into a good form. Political solvency is found through a collective will, and class struggle infiltrates this schema of action not as a natural part of the historical bloc in of itself, but as an ideal regimented into society at large through education provided by the intellectuals.The unity of the base and superstructure is at stake in this form of education, as Gramsci states, “if people become conscious of their social position and their tasks on the terrain of the superstructures, this means that there exists a necessary and vital nexus between structure and superstructure.”

Gramsci’s conception of the war of position is thus constructed upon a Hegelian mindset: critique is the essence of historical progress, exposing and exploiting ambiguities created through discourse. To critique is an essential activity, a self-unfolding extended to society, aimed at exposing the articulations of “the alienated development of the Idea”17 that sublate into all segments of a civilization. The struggle to make these connections are fraught with logical fallacies, and the most important to Gramsci and his fellow critics is the Freudian concept of overdetermination, that social relations are not determined by one source, but a multiplicity of sources all connected to the unitary Idea. Ultimately, this spells out that social identity lacks a singular literality, “social agents lack any essence, and their regularities merely consist of the relative and precarious forms of fixation which accompany the establishment of a certain order.”18 Gramsci adds an essential part to this argument with the idea that common sense or norms have primacy as a function of politics, but within this framework that not one element determines the course of history, one must wonder if the creation of hegemony presupposes the view of economic determinism of social identity. If hegemony presupposes economic determinism, how is identity shaped socially outside of the political economy of Marx and Engels? Furthermore, does this logic lend authenticity to the Communist regimes that lack cultural hegemony, to even be called “Communist” in the first place? Gramsci lends credance to mass education to establish an alliance, a totality of Communist interests, and through this political machination the entire truth of class identity in the form of the dialectical of base-superstructure will appear as a monad.

To identify the notion in vaguely Weberian terms, the domination of a larger system of hand acts as a “mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convuslive self importance.” By virtue of  the self-interests of the engineers of the system, as well as the self-sustaining nature of ideas, “this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved.” Weber writes about the the issues involved with reforming the political system at large in the presence of an overarching “iron cage” of wanton consumption devoid of spiritual meaning in his magnum opus, The Protestant Ethic. For the sake of brevity, the argument is best restrained to three particular incidents of hegemonic culture: (1) the methodological similarities between Weber and the Gramsci and (2) Weber’s likeminded identification of the powerlessness of the individual within his historical conditions.

The methodological of Weber is quite similar to both Gramsci and Marx. All three look upon the historical background of a contemporary condition. For example, Marx analyzes the background of law in The German Ideology, where he outlines the historical materialism as a geneology of domination. Gramsci, meanwhile, discursively writes about everything from Machiavelli to the Italian Renaissance. Weber, too, writes about the history of various religious sects, looking at domination in a similar fashion as the Marxists. In this way all three strive to use critique as their investigation of the axiomatic: to find the hidden processes of historical events. They all seek out how this occurs through relationships of certain events. And all three (especially Gramsci) seek to use multiple points of view to establish a commonality, a sort of discursive objectivity; they seek the leitmotif constituting the connection between discursivity. What is different between the theorists is the nature of such a connection. Marx attempts to synthesize a praxis out of his scholarship, as signified by his Theses on Feuerbach, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is, to change it.”19 Weber, on the other hand, is ambiguous about making a normative stance. Perhaps, it could be said that his ambiguous stance is his ideal of elective affinity constituting the methodological base of his Protestant Ethic: he finds that capitalism and protestant ethic do not presuppose one another, rather, he finds that the two emerge simultaneously to create a “spirit” furthers both causes20. [4] Gramsci advocates, above all else,  “a relationship at once pedagogical and hegemonic”, that revolution is to come from below through mass education, leading to a collective class consciousness21. Nonetheless, Weber can claim a more pragmatic, less deterministic, utilizing logic that uniquely does not rely upon historical causality; it is this trait that resembles Gramsci in comparison to Marx, where the true bearing of cultural hegemony upon the end goal of emancipation is tenuous taken out of a Marxist context. [5]

Marx, Gramsci, and Weber all see man as chained to a historical legacy. “The relationship of the world of self-interest to the laws governing it,” states Marx, “[and] the movement of that world within its law is necessarily a continuous abrogation of the law.”22 History in the form of rational self-interests constrains men, where the man is split between his public duties and his civil greed.  In a more general way, men do not have volation over any history but an egoistic view, conditioned through particular historical circumstances23. To Weber, the history that binds humans is one that requires no choice to pursue. Men are but part of a “tremendous cosmos of the modern economic order”, with the alienating aspect of the world being the lack of passion and value behind this “machine production”. Gramsci, as a Marxist, believes alienation from species-being is the root of conflict. However, in avoiding the vulgar economic determinism, Gramsci cites the political conflict of humanity being based upon scattered leadership that did not utilize organic intellectuals to seek out good sense. Thus, each theorist arrives at a relatively similar end: history creates an environment where humanity is subjected to conditions beyond their control, and emancipation can be found through discarding self-interests and petty materialism to embrace a higher order, whether based upon class consciousness or ascetic spirtuality, to create volition in one’s life.

Hegemony through Gramsci seems remearkably familiar to Weber’s conception of the “iron cage” in this analysis. Whereas Marx finds a system based upon a methodology favoring economic determinism,, Gramsci identifies a unique culture espoused by bourgeoise capitalism that allowed for a disjoint development between base and superstructure. Weber is very similar to Gramsci, finding that Protestantism has a certain connection (the elective affinity itself perhaps reflecting the ambivalence of Gramsci and Marx towards determinism) with the development of capital. Moreover, Marx sees a historical path with man chained in labor to a fate of domination, Gramsci sees man chained to history through a cyclical pattern of enslavement of the mind. Weber tends to find a combinatilon of the two, with a particular spirit instilled into human consciousness driving him or her to become dominated in the system of production. The specific constant between the three theorists, it seems, is that domination is present in modern society, and that  dominates the man from his posessions to his mindset. In this spirit, all three act in tandem for creating common ground for the discipline of sociology to blossom into structuralist theory, where intellectuals continue to unlock the secrets of the social conception of man.

When one explores Marx and his terminology (dominant class, ideology, teleology), Gramsci and his ideas (historical bloc, intellectuals, and war of position), and how Weber contributes dynamism to the critique of bourgeoise capitalism in the sense of his methodology and conceptualization of domination, one confronts a handful of conclusions.

ORGANIC INTELLECTUALS

WAR

THE WEBER CASE-STUDY

[0] As a preface, it may seem a bit of a cop-out for me to develop an archaeology of the first generation of Marxists based upon a model of opportunity and potentiality: that by virtue of the very existence of the ability to critique a theory, the criticism is realized. I realize that there are processes behind all reform of dogma; at the same time, I realize that I face the dual crises of focus and scale in writing my essays. I hope then that my cop out with the rational of “it can exists, and so it does” works to mitigate my problem selectively, and in a manner best befitting the notion of sublation. The processes may not appear, but are selectively introduced to fit within the theme of the paragraph.

[1] One may accuse me of lack of germaneness for this paragraph. I acknowledge it is discursive, but only as the current scholarship (based upon Althussian overdeterminism and structuralist theories) dictates. Note that I temper my argument not to the ends of indeterminism versus determinism—that argument in itself is complex subject to debate. I attempt to tackle the “essentialist monism… through a proliferation of dualisms” (Laclau 12) issue of teleology, and attempt to show the ambivalence created through the theories of Marx and first generation Marxists. The argument Laclau engages influences my methodology heavily, coming into my thesis that critique is the device pushing all cogs of historical materialism in any level of dialectic: whether it be atomized to a single argument, or to an entire ideology, and for the sake of Marx, the application gives credance to endogenous criticism. That is, a discourse of change, reform, and revolution cannot be sustained in a single form due to the hypocrises encountered from an endogenous application of the theory.

[2] This view does not really characterize my own, nor a critique of Marx as a whole. Rather, it is a critique of a selective reading of Marx, the like that inspired the rise of “vulgar Materialism”. I use it as an argumentative technique to show the degree that Gramsci rebukes even the possibility of economic determinism.

[3] Oppositional in the sense that good sense inhabits common sense, but contain opposing traits, the former being more coherent, or deserving to be coherent than the latter, for example.

[4] “A final introductory point concerns the purposes or intentions of the pragmatists, i.e. whether they personally and consciously wanted the universalization of rights. The elective affinity argument, however, does not assume that the people who construct the social cause, e.g. the Calvinist preachers who made the Protestant Ethic or the pragmatists who theorized moral equality, foresee and intend the effect. The causal process is implicit and at the level of cultural affinity. It happens behind the backs of the intellectuals who produce the cause. Actually James, Dewey and Mead were liberals and would probably have approved the universalization of rights. Peirce, though, seems to have been a reactionary and not in favor of legal equality. In his case you have to credit the force of the ideas and not the purposes of the thinker. “

[5] That is, unless you believe the second phase of Communism is true emancipation, hegemony for the purposes of achieving individual freedom is a bit contradictory.