Selected Writings of Li Shenzhi

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Translated by the David Lam Centre for International Communication, Simon Fraser University

Li Shenzhi (1923–2003), a leading Chinese statesman and academic, was a premier architect of China’s liberal intellectual revival in the late 1990s and an uncompromising campaigner for political reform and democracy in China. In the early 1950s, Li was foreign policy advisor to Premier Zhou Enlai, contributing to and promoting the moderate “Bandung Line” then being pursued. In 1957, his appeal to the government leadership for policies leading to “greater democracy” and liberalism led to his being labeled a “rightist” (one who criticized the Chinese Communist Party). His exile from the academic and political worlds lasted until the late 1970s.

Long a proponent for China’s engagement with the United States, Li was the founding father of American studies in China, setting up the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1981 and founding the Chinese Association for American Studies in 1988. 
In the early 1990s, Li began a decade-long critique of the regime—a role that, once more, put him at odds with the rulers of the party he had joined with such enthusiasm in his youth. At the time of his death, in 2003, he had become a leading voice in the movement for democratization in China. Despite his political difficulties, Li remained optimistic about the future of his country

The pieces in this volume, written by Li between 1991 and 2002 and edited by Ilse Tebbetts and Kettering Foundation program officer Libby Kingseed, span centuries of history. They present a worldwide view of cultural, social, and political differences and feature glimpses of the possibilities for a truly free and democratic People’s Republic of China. The book includes a foreword by Li Rui and a preface by Roderick MacFarquhar.

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Democratic Practice Around the World

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