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Anarchism and Chinese Political Culture by Peter Zarrow Review by: Gregor Benton The China Quarterly, No.

125 (Mar., 1991), pp. 170-172 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the School of Oriental and African Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/654495 . Accessed: 06/05/2012 09:45
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The China Quarterly personal connections of many Chinese leaders, geographicdetails of the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea (an occasional battlefield)and a PLA chronologyfor 1988. In all, this yearbook is valuable for the quality of the authors, the tentative projectionsfor the future, and for its precise informationon certain points. Some weaknesses may naturallybe noted. There are, for instance few mentions of the Air Force and Army aviation (despite some news in 1988). The political role of the PLA and the weight of its political activities, declining in the recent period, suddenly obtained a new priority after June 1989. The emphasis of this book on "the PLA in the year 2000" may have been somewhat ambitious. HENRI EYRAUD

PLA and the TiananmenCrisis. Edited by RICHARD H. YANG.


[Kaohsiung,Taiwan: SCPS Papers No. 1, October 1989. 60 pp.] The Sun Yat-Sen Center for Policy Studies (SCPS) of Kaohsiung publishes in this booklet early evaluations of the Tiananmen crisis by five specialists. It is perhapsregrettablethat only one is from Taiwan, and the others are non-Asians. June Teufel Dreyer, author of many articles on Chinese defence mattersS tries to select the hard facts in a period where most information was unconfirmed. She stresses civil-military interconnections in People's China, factionalismin the Partyand PLA and the importanceof the triumvirateYang Shangkun Li Peng and Qiao Shi. Ellis Joffie,the well-known sinologist, asks why, how and with what results the Chinese army became involved in this tragic course of events. He re-examineswith some hindsight the five main aspects of this crisis. Gerald Segal, editor of ThePaciJic Review, gives his own narrationof those seven weeks in Beijing and weighs the implications at home and abroad. An anonymous and less specialized author (Americanor Europeandiplomat?)describeswhat he calls "a political melt down" and his own assessment of the role of the PLA. Finally, ProfessorPeter Kien-hongYu of Taiwan has a more militant opinion of factional struggleon the continent. He uses expressions like coup d'etat, civil war and power realignment. This first "SCPS Paper" gives a set of short, serious and diverse analyses of the Tiananmen crisis, written duringthe summerof 1989. The drawbackof such a swift reaction is, of course,that we now know a little more about it. HENRI EYRAUD

Anarchism and ChinesePoliticalCulture. BY PETER ZARROW. [New


York: Columbia University Press, 1990. 338 Pl?* $45?00*] When Peter Zarrow began to write this book, people kept on asking him if he was an anarchist. "Otherwise why bother?" was the implication. Some thought the subject irrelevant and perhapseven a bit dotty; others, that it had been "done" already. How slavishly we

Book Reviews

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China scholars cleave to orthodoxies; how dizzily we gravitate to established power; and how comical our "once-is-enough"approach to secondaryanalysis (unless it's about Mao). As it happens,Zarrowis no anarchist, but luckily he empathizes with the anarchistsstrongly enough and believes in the virtues of historiographicalpluralismand a Chinese Revolution not coterminous with Maoism- firmly enough to have sidestepped the starstruck cage and written this memorable book, which shines light from unfamiliar angles on familiar questions of China's recent past. It also reveals Chinese anarchism as unexpectedly varied, with two main schools (one, in Paris, cosmopolitan, iconoclastic, extroverted;the other, in Tokyo, of a more nostalgically indigenous cast) and two main generations (roughlybefore and after 1915). The writing is elegant and compact; the presentation is artful and occasionally brilliant. Zarrow's thesis is that anarchists were part of the mainstream of modern Chinese political thought and even the originatorsof much of it. In the course of their work they scored a run of"firsts" that few have recognized. They anticipated major themes of the May Fourth years and developed well ahead of their time many ideas - including some astonishingly advanced ones-later taken up by Chinese Marxists. The source of their creative vigour was China's rich tradition of political thought across the millennia. Daoism - especially its egalitarian and communitarian strains - provided anarchists like Liu Shipei with much of their vocabulary and vision: but Confucianism, with its notions of minimal government, human goodness and social mutuality, was also an important source of it. Buddhist theories of self and selflessness (and even some leading Chinese monks) provided additional justifications for revolutionary ideas of social justice. And all three traditions helped sustain a universalist vision of society that transcended race and narrow nation. Early Chinese anarchists knit together selected threads from China's "unique heritage of bureaucraticexperience and anti-state theory" and modern ideals imported from the west into a new and original intellectual pattern. So they enriched the general theory of anarchismwith fresh insights and emphases, especially about imperialism and feminism (though no-one in the west took much notice of their contribution). At the same time, by resorting to their own culturaltradition for argumentsand examples they came to represent for disaffected Chinese literati the chance of intellectual continuity at a time of radicaldislocation. By the late 1920s, however, most of them had moved far to the right, having learned the "value of order" in 1911 and found jobs and a conditional licence to think and write under Chiang Kai-shek. Some even joined their hands to the knife with which a generationof their uncompromisingintellectualprogeny was then butchered. Zarrowrightly points to the importance of anarchismfor the later development of Maoism, with whose forms - both late and early - it sharedmotifs (the celebrationof backwardness,the power of the will, the "mass line"). Equally remarkable are the parallels between Chinese anarchismand Chen Duxiu after he came out in opposition to the Stalinists in 1929. Zarrownotes that though Chen Duxiu had neverjoined the anarchists(on the contrary,he was their sternestleft-

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The China Quarterly wing critic), he shared with them a libertariansuspicion of the state that partly explains his Trotskyistconversion. But other connections too can be made between Chen and the anarchists, including a common commitment to internationalism and an opposition to militarism, even in its "revolutionary"guise; and- speaking now of the second generation of anarchists active after 1915-an equal opposition to native capitalists and foreign imperialists, and a primaryemphasis on the revolutionaryrole of urbanculture and the proletariat(though not to the exclusion of the peasants). GREGOR BENTON Xin Guixi Jishi (A History of the New Guangxi Clique) (Volume 1). Edited by Mo NAIQuN.[Nanning: Zhongguo renmin zhengzhi xiechang huiyi; Guangxi zhuangzu zizhiqu weiyuanhui;Wenshiziliao weiyuanhui, 1990. 542 pp. RMB5.80.] The new Guangxi Clique, an extraordinary coalition of talented generals, ambitious politicians, conservativeregionalistsand reformminded intellectuals, ruled Guangxi for 25 years, Anhui for 12 years and, for brief periods, several other parts of China before they were driven out by communist armies in 1949. With one or two important exceptions, their activities have been neglected by western and Chinese scholars out of all proportion to their importance in understandingthe life and death of the Nationalist government. As far as mainland scholars are concerned, the neglect is not difficultto understand. The Clique's legacy-one of reform and patriotism combined with bitter opposition to both the communists and Chiang Kai-shek- has not been easy for the post-1949 governmentto come to terms with. Such accounts that have appearedhave concentratedon the Clique's suppressionof the communist movement both inside and outside Guangxi. The title under review, the firstof a three-volume,one million word opus on the Clique, is an important departurefrom this tradition. It consists of more than 60 essays, all of them by membersof the Clique or their political opponents, most of which take the form of "recollections,"but some of which are contemporaryaccounts. Naturally, essays by or about Li, Bai and Huang (Li Zongren, Bai Chongxi and HuangXuchu), the "big three"of the Clique, figurelarge but there are interesting contributions from scores of lesser lights - the numerous middle-rankingsoldiers and bureaucratswho, though never mentioned in dispatches, were crucialto the coherence and longevity of the Clique. Their accounts throw light on all sorts of fascinatingobscurities such as the workingsof the GuangxiBank, and the importance of opium trade for the financial solvency of the Clique's reforms in the 1930s. This volume deals with the rise of the Clique, their participationin the Northern Expedition, their moves against the communists, and the administration of Guangxi in the 1930s, a period when the province was regardedby many impartialobserversas a model for the rest of China. The contents of volumes two and three - due to be published in the next four years - are presentedin volume one. They