China's New Red Guards: The Return of Radicalism and the Rebirth of Mao Zedong (Paperback)
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In China's New Red Guards, Jude Blanchette illuminates two trends in contemporary China that point to its revival of Mao Zedong's legacy--a development that he argues will result in a more authoritarian and more militaristic China. Ever since Deng Xiaoping effectively de-radicalized China in the 1980s, there have been many debates about which path China would follow. Would it democratize? Would it embrace capitalism? Would the Communist Party's rule be able to withstand the adoption and spread of the Internet? One debate that did not occur in any serious way, however, was whether Mao Zedong would make a political comeback. As Jude Blanchette details in China's New Red Guards, contemporary China is undergoing a revival of an unapologetic embrace of extreme authoritarianism that draws direct inspiration from the Mao era. Under current Chinese leader Xi Jinping, state control over the economy is increasing, civil society is under sustained attack, and the CCP is expanding its reach in unprecedented new ways. As Xi declared in late 2017, "Government, military, society and schools, north, south, east and west--the party is the leader of all." But this trend is reinforced by a bottom-up revolt against Western ideas of modernity, including political pluralism, the rule of law, and the free market economy. Centered around a cast of nationalist intellectuals and activists who have helped unleash a wave of populist enthusiasm for the Great Helmsman's policies, China's New Red Guards not only will reshape our understanding of the political forces driving contemporary China, it will also demonstrate how ideologies can survive and prosper despite pervasive rumors of their demise.
About the Author
Jude Blanchette holds the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Previously, he was engagement director at The Conference Board's China Center for Economics and Business in Beijing, where he researched China's political environment with a focus on the workings of the Communist Party of China and its impact on foreign companies and investors. Prior to working at The Conference Board, Blanchette was the assistant director of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego. Blanchette is a public intellectual fellow at the National Committee on United States-China Relations and serves on the board of the American Mandarin Society. He is also a senior advisor at Crumpton Group, a geopolitical risk advisory based in Arlington, Virginia. He holds an M.A. in modern Chinese studies from the University of Oxford and a B.A. in economics from Loyola University in Maryland.