This essay addresses the “demand for humanism, with a nod toward Asia” within current theory and global intellectual political culture. I argue that using humanism as a way to understand China (a habit inside and especially outside the PRC) keeps us within the orientalist tradition; it is also at odds with China's attempted/failed/ongoing revolution and trajectory since 1949. I offer an interdisciplinary analysis of area studies and other representations of China, especially in regard to Tiananmen and the Cultural Revolution. I then contrast this with current intellectual debates in China as well as with an older Maoist or revolutionary discourse. The resurgence or “demand” for humanism is rendered as part of an intellectual and political backlash or depoliticization.