Testing the Limits

“Breaking a Han Dynasty urn” is the title of the photo taken by the often jailed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.   What do you suppose he intended to say with this photograph?

On to Spence and of course the protests of 1989.  The protests of course don’t fall out of the clear blue sky.  Though the excuse was the death of Deng’s former compatriot Hu Yaobang what was the “real” or longer term reason for the events?

Interesting at the opening of the chapter of how all the changes and reforms in China, like getting rid of the communes, weren’t really seen as completely positive.  China was in a muddle in many ways, and despite economic growth of even recent years, might still be.

There is a lot here.  The Not-Not manifesto is interesting.  The “communist weeds” vs. capitalist seedlings, and a literal return to 100 flowers.

Enjoy your final read of Spence.

One Response to “Testing the Limits”

  1. Nawar Nemeh says:

    I find it extremely interesting how, at the beginning of the reading, Chinese officials found it appropriate to ask for another “hundred flowers to bloom” in a clear reference to a Maoist policy that ended up putting several thousand intellectuals into government work camps. This is the third time the Chinese government demands criticism from its people, even encouraging it, and then is not able to accept it. Hu Yaobang’s speech, saying that one shouldn’t choose “socialist weeds over capitalist seedlings” is unprecedented in party rhetoric.

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