This is a remarkable selection of recent debating essays between two camps within Chinese intellectual circles – Chinese New Leftists (xin zuopai) and Chinese Liberals (ziyou zhuyi). The publisher Verso is an imprint of the New Left Review in London. The editor, Chaohua Wang, however, is remarkably even-handed. Five leading Liberals and four celebrated New Leftists are given ample space to air their views; another seven who take different stands on various issues have sufficient opportunities to explain their particular subtlety. The essays are well-chosen, and the fairness makes this book a basic document for understanding contemporary China.
There has not been much Western attention to this important debate that has been raging in China since the late 1990s, let alone a collection of relevant essays. In fact, even in Chinese there has not been a book that lets the two sides clash head to head. This volume stands out as the only source of information available in English about this most important debate.