Wild Lily, Prairie Fire
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Gregor Benton and Alan Hunter provide here a source book of documents of democratic dissent under Chinese Communism, most of them previously untranslated and difficult to find in the West. Ranging from eye-witness accounts of a massacre to theoretical critiques of Chinese Marxist thought, these essays are among the most powerful and important works of Chinese dissident literature written in this century. An extensive introduction maintains that the documents reveal a tradition of democratic thought and practice that traces its descent to the New Culture Movement of the 1910s and the founding generation of the Chinese Communist Party. Far from being a late twentieth-century import (along with capitalist economics) from Europe, Japan, and the United States, this tradition of dissent is deeply embedded in the experience of China's revolutionary movements.
The story of Chinese Communism has often been reduced to uniformity not only by political bureaucrats in China but by Western scholarship derived from official Chinese histories. Wild Lily, Prairie Fire paints a far richer picture. The book calls into question many of the usual beliefs about the relation between democracy and communism, at least in the Chinese case, which may now be seen to depart from the Soviet model in yet another crucial respect.
cultivating a broad, prosperous, open class of newrich entrepreneurs that the poor would (in theory) emulate and try to join. But to the extent that he succeeded, this new class of private traders quickly became impatient with his government. They considered his reforms too timid and too few, and they were hard hit and aggrieved by the credit squeeze started in 1988 to curb inflation. It was clear to them—and to others—that the government was split on how to react to the loss of popular
theoreticians who are also labor activists, and the intellectual participation in the Solidarity movement was very effective. . . . In a social movement, the burden should be evenly distributed throughout society. Yet this time, students and intellectuals bore more than 90 percent of the burden.”92 By the time the students had overcome their exclusionist instincts, broadened their focus to include wider social 58 INTRODUCTION issues, and realized the need to extend the principle of
more, only a very few graduates from schools of this category have gone to mountainous and rural areas to undertake common physical labor. CULTURAL REVOLUTION, 1966–1976 119 Just to promote special privileges and benefits, in the matter of living conditions these schools have openly opposed Chairman Mao’s teachings on guarding against special privileges and running all enterprises with diligence and frugality. They have built gorgeous premises and made living very comfortable and plentiful.
of cadres are the compound of feudal, bourgeois, and revisionist educational systems, because of their special privileges, because they are the hotbed for breeding the seeds of revisionism and the tools of Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road represented by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, who are trying hopelessly to restore capitalism in China. The moment has come to thoroughly liquidate and smash into pieces the collective boarding schools for children of cadres. Chairman Mao has
city when his parents pointed out that he was their only son. Through his parents, he found a factory job. In 1973–74, Wang and three others wrote the well-known wall poster On Socialist Democracy and the Legal System, for which they were imprisoned (see Document 19). After Wang’s release from prison, he joined the newly born democracy movement. In April 1979, he wrote a manifesto titled “The Struggle for the Class Dictatorship of the Proletariat” in the Guangzhou unofficial journal Renminzhi