China’s Reading Forbidden Zone?

In The New Left Review,  Zhang Yongle:

The publication date for this long-planned selection of articles from Dushu—probably China’s leading intellectual journal of the past decade, as well as its most controversial—has turned out to be highly ironic.sdx Publishing Company: Beijing 2007, in six volumes.’, FGCOLOR, ‘#E3E3E3’, BGCOLOR, ‘#000000’)” name=”_ednref1″ href=”″> [1] In July 2007, even as the six-volume Essentials of Dushu collection was appearing in the bookshops, its two chief editors, Wang Hui and Huang Ping, were being dismissed from the monthly magazine by its parent company, sdx Publishing. The official grounds for this seemed scarcely plausible: initially there was talk of falling circulation, although in fact the number of Dushu subscribers had risen under Wang and Huang, from around 60,000 to well over 100,000. sdx then announced that it was implementing a company policy that required all chief editors to be full-time, rather than complement their work with university teaching, as was the case for Wang and Huang. The company could provide no explanation, however, as to why it had suddenly ‘remembered’ this policy, which had existed for many years without ever being enforced.

The dismissals provoked a storm of controversy among Chinese intellectuals: debate raged in cyberspace, newspapers and journals over the merits of the ‘Wang and Huang era’ of Dushu. The editors’ detractors argued that the two had turned the journal, ‘universally recognized’ by the Chinese intelligentsia in the 1980s and early 90s, into a platform for a small ‘new-left clique’, abandoned its elegant prose tradition and rendered it too specialized to be readable.