Chongqing, a conurbation with province status about the size of Austria, was, between 2007 and 2012, under the leadership of Party Secretary Bo Xilai, the site of a number of political practices—in housing, law enforcement, industrial development, public “red culture,” and others—that gave it the nickname “Red Chongqing” and made it a point of reference and admiration for many on the Chinese left. The “Chongqing Model” was for a few years a widely debated topic nationwide, but the fall and trial of Bo Xilai and his wife brought the model discourse to an abrupt end. This essay suggests that the enthusiastic embrace of the Chongqing Model—not a particularly radical path by most standards—allows for a diagnosis of the possibilities and impasses for left critical work in China today.
The Chongqing Way
Christopher Connery is professor of literature and cultural studies at UC Santa Cruz and is Ziqiang Professor of Cultural Studies at Shanghai University. He has published on imperial Chinese literary culture, capitalist oceanic geographies, the global 1960s, and contemporary Chinese intellectual politics. He is currently working on a book project on Chinese neoliberalism.
Christopher Connery; The Chongqing Way. boundary 2 1 May 2019; 46 (2): 163–188. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-7497088
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