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In the last few years, the Chinese labour movement has witnessed significant developments, not only with the occurrence of some of the largest strikes in decades but also the emergence of grave challenges for workers and activists. Made in China is an open access journal that springs from the belief that this calls for more serious analysis from both scholars and practitioners, as well for a critical engagement with a broader international audience interested in forging international solidarity.

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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.

ESSAYS

Saint Mao

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Christian Sorace

While the Cultural Revolution began with Mao urging the masses to overthrow the hierarchies of the party-state, this explosion of democratic energy was constrained by Mao’s unchallenged sovereign authority. The ultimate paradox was Mao’s desire for an acephalous, egalitarian, and fully politicised society with himself serving as its head. These contradictions are a problem of political theology: the party-state’s claim to ‘serve the people’ elevates it to the role of divinity and transforms citizens into religious communicants.

ESSAYS

The Cow and the Goat Descend the Mountain: Fighting Modernity with Poems

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Ivan Franceschini

A few years ago a big crowd had gathered to enjoy the music of blind folk singer Zhou Yunpeng, an artist famous for his socially committed songs. Then time seemed to stop, while a flow of words from poets of different ages and places started chasing each other, softly accompanied by the music of Zhou’s guitar. Voices from the Tang era engaged in a lively conversation with bards from the Song and Qing ages. People who lived centuries apart borrowed Zhou’s voice to express exactly the same feeling: an acute longing for their families and their hometowns.