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Chine fin de siècle

This short and readable book is a collection of articles on modern China, written from an anarchist standpoint by Jean-Jacques Gandini between 1983 and 1994. Based in Montpellier, Gandini is ex-President of the local Franco-Chinese Friendship Association and Vice-President of the League for Human Rights.

A volume cobbled together from pre-written sources might not sound too promising, but Gandini achieves an overall coherence by grouping the articles into eight thematic chapters on the Communist Party and its history ; the Cultural Revolution ; Wei (Jingsheng) and the first `Beijing Spring’ ; the second `Beijing Spring’ ; changing everything so as to change nothing ; literature ; Pa Chin (Ba Jin) ; and Anarchism, the hidden face of the Chinese Revolution. While the resulting collection may Jack the scholarly density of purposewritten volumes, such as those by Dirlik and Zarrow which were reviewed in Anarchist Studies 2(1), Gandini has produced an informative book at a far more affordable price than most academic tomes. Gandini himself believes that the final two chapters are the most original and interesting, but this probably undervalues earlier chapters, which are equally worth reading. AIl in all, a useful and compact reference work for those interested in Chinese anarchism who can read French.

John Crump, University of York