Last October, at the Sixth Plenum of the Eighteenth Party Congress Xi Jinping used the slogan ‘governing the Party strictly’ (congyan zhi dang). What is both semantically and politically interesting about this phrase is the character zhi, a polysemic character which means to govern, regulate, and administer, but which is also etymologically associated with zhiliao, meaning medical treatment, therapy, and cure. This essay explores the implications of viewing governance as a form of medical treatment.
With the arrest of yet another activist, the airing of yet another public confession, the closure of yet another NGO working for the weak and disenfranchised, and the passing of yet another repressive law, the world has come to view Chinese civil society as if it were on its deathbed. But maybe what is dying is just a dream of civil society with little basis in reality. While we mourn the death of an ideal, it is imperative that we overcome our sorrow to look at the momentous changes that are currently taking place in the realm of Chinese civil society. In this issue, we offer a series of perspectives on these developments.
No expertise comes without constant doubt and a willingness to challenge established truths. Chinoiresie represents our attempt to question some of today’s understandings and certainties about China. It blends the image of a ‘chinoiserie’—a foreign interpretation and imitation of Chinese artistic traditions, a term that over time has come to assume the meaning of a clichè, a stereotypical view of China—with the concept of ‘heresy’—an unorthodox view aimed at challenging a given truth.
Edited by Ivan Franceschini, Kevin Lin, and Nicholas Loubere
The Made in China Yearbook series—published in collaboration with ANU Press—offers original articles in which scholars and activists analyse the latest trends in Chinese labour and civil society. With their unique blend of in-depth scholarly work written in a direct, accessible style, these books allow readers to situate current events and policies in a wider context, and therefore serve as an indispensable reference for international activists, practitioners, and policy-makers.