Chinese Public Intellectuals

An Annotated Bibliography to Published Translations in English


The guide was produced as part of the SSHRC funded project, “Reading and Writing the Chinese Dream”; for updates see here.


This guide offers researchers and readers an annotated bibliography and guide to translations of the writings of many public intellectuals active in China or in the Sinophone intellectual world (usually through the Internet). Almost all translations noted are into English, though some French and other translations are noted. The purpose of this guide is to provide English readers a more ready access and a preliminary introduction to the recent public writings of Chinese thinkers and writers who have addressed themselves to the debates over the nature of China, China’s history, China’s role in the world, and how to build China’s future. It cannot cover all the specialized writings on technical fields and formal academic disciplines or even public advocacy in environment, law, family issues, health, food safety, and similar important issues. Rather, the focus is on intellectuals who seem to have something of a reading public and who address themselves to broader social, cultural and political issues. Broadly speaking we seek to track what China’s intellectual elites have to say about China and its future, including these intellectuals’ disagreements with each other.

The guide is organized in alphabetical order of surname in the pinyin system. Each writer’s broad intellectual orientation (思潮) as generally recognized (and contested) in China today is noted: New Left (新左翼), Liberal (自由主义), New Confucian (新儒学), and Unclassified (派别之外). Within the groupings authors appear in alphabetical order. Under each author are listed translations in: whole books, journal articles, book chapters, on web sources, as well as list of relevant blogs written in Chinese. At the end we list reference materials cited in our annotations.

Other sources available online:


If you have any suggestions, corrections or updates, please contact Timothy Cheek

Chen Pingyuan 陳平原 b. 1954

Chen Pingyuan is professor of Chinese Literature at Peking University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. His major works include “The Literati’s Chivalric Dreams” and “The Establishment of Modern Scholarship in China”. Chen is known for his re-evaluation of the history of modern Chinese literature. He proved the importance of traditional Chinese elements as well as Western literature and modernity in the development of modern Chinese literature. An interview with him appears in the book One China, Many Paths, so one might assumes that he has new left leanings, but these are not immediately obvious from his scholarship. He is generally known as a liberal scholar.

Cui Weiping 崔卫平 b.1956

Cui Weiping is a professor at Beijing Film Academy (北京电影学院) and social critic whose works focus on literary theory, political philosophy and Eastern European intellectual and political culture. She is a well-known scholar, professional translator and cultural critic. She is known as a liberal.

Cui Zhiyuan 崔之元 b. 1963

New Left Cui Zhiyuan is a professor at the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Chicago in 1995.  He is a leading member of the New Left through his work on alternatives to neo-liberal capitalism. His research mainly focus on the political economy of reform […]

Deng Zhenglai 邓正来 (1956 – 2013)

UNCLASSIFIED Deng Zhenglai was a political scientist and a scholar of jurisprudence and political philosophy. He was a distinguished professor at Fudan University, Shanghai; and also the editor-in-chief of Fudan China Studies and China Social Sciences Quarterly. Often credited with introducing the fundamentalist capitalist thinking of Friedrich Hayek to China, Deng is best known for […]

Ding Xueliang 丁学良

Liberal Prof. X.L. Ding is interested in extra-ordinary phenomena in socio-political processes in China particularly with a comparative perspective. Currently he teaches courses on Modern Dictatorship in West and East, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution 1966-76 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He intends to develop courses on The Politics of Chinese […]

Ding Yun 丁耘 b. 1969

NEW LEFT Ding Yun is a professor at the Department of Philosophy, Fudan University and the Director of the Center for the Study of Intellectual History. His area of studies include German philosophy and ancient Greek philosophy; especially focuses on metaphysics, comparative philosophy, political philosophy and the history of ideas. Journal Articles Ding, Yun. “The […]

Fan Gang 樊钢 b.1953

LIBERAL Fan Gang is a Chinese prominent economist and one active reform advocates. He is currently serving as a professor at the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and at the Peking University HSBC Business School, as well as the director of China’s National Economic Research Institute. He is also the Secretary-General of […]

Gan Yang 甘陽 b. 1952

Gan was a professor of political philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and is now director of the Department of Liberal Arts of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. In the 1980s. He joined the New Left in the 1990s, and beginning in 2000, began to defend the Confucian revival, announcing his support for the creation […]

Gao Quanxi 高全喜 b. 1962

Gao is a law professor and Dean of Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences at Beihang University (Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronaustics 北京航空航天大学). He researches on Nomology (法理学), Political Philosophy, and Constitutionalism. Books Gao, Quanxi, et al. The Road to the Rule of Law in Modern China. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin […]

Ge Zhaoguang 葛兆光 b. 1950

Ge Zhaoguang is Professor at the National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies and the Department of History at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. He received his BA and MA from the Department of Chinese Literature & Language, Peking University in 1982 and 1984. From 1992 to 2006, he was a faculty member of Tsinghua University, University […]

He Huaihong 何怀宏 b.1954

He is a professor at the Department of Philosophy, Peking University, and is leading the Ethics group in the department. He obtained his doctoral degree from Renmin University. His researches mostly focus on Ethics (moral philosophy,伦理学) and Social History. Also, He has translated several Politics and Philosophy classics to Chinese which has prominent impact on […]

He Qinglian 何清漣 b. 1956

He Qinglian is a Chinese author and economist, most prominently known for her critical view of Chinese society and media controls in China. “The Pitfalls of Modernization” (现代化的陷阱), her most famous book which concerns corruption in China’s economic reform of the 1990s , sold over 100,000 copies in China and won acclaim from both the […]

He Weifang 賀衛方 b. 1960

He Weifang is a law professor at Peking University, chief editor of “Chinese and Foreign Law”, and an activist striving to reform the Chinese judicial system. Before being given tenure at PKU in 1992, he was the editor at Comparative Law 比较法研究 and Peking University Law Journal 中外法学, both published by the university. Aside from his […]

Hu An’gang 胡鞍钢 b.1953

Hu Angang is a Tsinghua University-affiliated economist who is regarded as a leading figure in what could be translated as ‘China National Exceptionalism Studies’. As an economist who spends much of his time concocting forecasts of China’s future, Hu is noted for his consistent optimism about the country’s socioeconomic transformation and historic reemergence as a […]

Ji Weidong 季卫东 b.1957

Ji  Weidong  is Dean and Presiding Chair Professor of KoGuan Law School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University(上海交通大学), China, since 2008. He has studied legal culture, law and social change in Asia, focusing constitutional law, judicial reform as well as legal profession. Journal Articles Ji, Weidong. “The Judicial Reform in China: The Status Quo and Future Directions.” […]

Jiang Shigong 強世功 b. 1967

Jiang is a professor at Peking University Law School, vice director of Shekebu at PKU. Areas of research cover Jurisprudence, constitution, Hong Kong study, and sociology of law. Books Jiang, Shigong. China’s Hong Kong: A Political and Cultural Perspective (Singapore: Springer, 2017) Journal Articles Jiang, Shigong. “Chinese-style constitutionalism: on Backer’s Chinese Party-state constitutionalism.” Trans. Jiang, […]

Jin Guantao 金观涛 b.1947

Jin Guantao has been the chair professor in the Department of Chinese Literature in National ChengChi University, Taiwan (台湾国立政治大学) since 2008. Prof. Jin was the Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Chinese Studies in the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1989 to 2008, when he built ‘the Database for the Study of Modern […]

Liu Junning 劉軍寧 b. 1961

Liu studied politics at Peking University under Zhao Baoxu, together with Yu Keping and He Zengke, and is a liberal/libertarian.  Liu lost his position at Shekeyuan for having published criticisms of Jiang Zemin’s policies at the time of the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Peking University. After a period at Harvard, he became […]

Liu Qing 刘擎 b.1963

Liu Qing is professor and chairperson at Department of Political Science, director of the Center for World Politics at East China Normal University. His main research interests lie in intellectual history and political theory. Collections and Book Chapters Liu, Qing, and McCormick, Barrett L. “Globalization and the Chinese media: technologies, content, commerce and the prospects […]

Liu Xiaofeng 劉小楓 b. 1956

Liu is professor and director of Classical Culture Studies Centre at Renmin University. He has been considered the prototypical example of a cultural Christian, meaning a believer who may lack a specific church identification or affiliation. He is one of the main forerunners of the academic field of Sino-Christian Theology. Journal Articles Liu, Xiaofeng, Chen, […]

Mao Yushi 茅于轼 b.1929

Mao Yushi is a liberal economist, president of Humanism Economics Society, Honorary President of Unirule Institute of Economics in China. He is known for his work in classical liberalism and free-market economics. Mao criticized the communist and totalitarian policies of Mao Zedong. Beijing began a “crackdown on dissent” by banning the publication of his works […]

Pan Wei 潘維 b. 1964

Pan is a professor at and director of the Center of Chinese and World Affairs on the School of International Relations of Peking University.  He made his name by denouncing the worship of democracy. A conservative close to the New Left and proponent of the China model. Journal Articles Pan, Wei. “Reflections on the ‘China […]

Qian Liqun, 錢理群 b. 1939

Qian was professor of Chinese literature at Peking University until his retirement in 2002. He is a leading proponent of May Fourth humanism in post-Mao literary and cultural criticism. The political discrimination and social exclusion that he suffered during the Cultural Revolution motivated his interest in Lu Xun’s form of criticism. Journal Articles Qian, Liqun. […]

Qin Hui 秦晖 b.1953

Qin is history professor in the Department of Human and Social Sciences at Tsinghua. His main research interests are economic history and Chinese agrarian history. One of the best-known liberal intellectuals in China, Qin sees himself as a social-democrat, and attempts to reconcile the New Left and the Liberals. Journal Articles Qin, Hui. “China’s economic […]

Ren Jiantao 任剑涛 b. 1962

Ren Jiantao is Professor of Politics, School of International Studies at Renmin University of China. Dr. Ren’s primary research interests include political philosophy and moral philosophy, political and administrative culture in ancient China, administrative ethics. Journal Articles Ren, Jiantao. “Chinese traditional studies: a reflection of the times.” Contemporary Chinese Thought. 4 (Sum 1998): 73-86. Ren, […]

Rong Jian 荣剑 b.1957

Rong Jian is a public intellectual in China, he was a rising star in the field of Marxist philosophy studies in the 1980s, before 1989 derailed his academic career. In the late 1980s, Rong was an active participant in the intense intellectual debates over the correct reform path for the nation. In the 1990s, he chose […]

Wang Hui, 汪暉 b. 1959

Wang is a professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Tsinghua University. Sent for compulsory “re-education” for his role in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Wang is a leading member of China’s “new left” movement and a past editor of Dushu, one of China’s most influential literary journals. Two-footer. Books Wang, Hui. China from […]

Wang Shaoguang 王紹光 b. 1954

Wang is director of the Department of Government and Administrative Studies at CUHK. Influential member of New Left, works particularly on state capacity. Spent 1990-1991 in Russia, helping to establish democratic and market systems. Books Liew, Leong H.; Wang, Shaoguang. (eds.) Nationalism, democracy and national integration in China. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon. 2004. Journal Articles […]

Wu Jinglian 吴敬琏 b.1930

Wu is one of the preeminent economists in China, primarily specializing in economic policy as it applies to China’s ongoing series of economic reforms. He is affectionately referred to in the media as Wu Shichang (吴市场; “Market Wu”) because of his resolute conviction that socialism is compatible with a market system. Wu holds multiple positions […]

Xiao Gongqin 蕭功秦 b. 1946

Xiao is a history professor at Shanghai Normal University. He is the leading scholar of Neo Authoritarianism (新权威主义). Journal Articles Xiao, Gongqin. “China’s changing of the guard: the rise of the technocrats.” Journal of Democracy 14, no.1 (Jan 2003) p. 60-65 Xiao, Gongqin. “Nationalism and the ideology in China’s transitional period.” Chinese Economic Studies 2 […]

Xu Jilin 许纪霖 b.1957

Xu Jilin, professor of history at East China Normal University, is a historian of 20th Century Chinese thought and culture. His research focuses on Chinese modern history of thoughts and intellectuals of China in the 20th century, culture and thoughts of contemporary China, and the culture of Shanghai. Journal Articles Xu, Jilin. “Anti-Occidentalism does not […]

Xu Youyu 徐友渔 b. 1947

Xu Youyu, is a Chinese scholar in philosophy and one of China’s leading spokesmen for constitutional democracy. He was a red guard. He is a research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is one of the organizers of New Citizens Movement. Books Xu, Youyu., and Hua, Ze., […]

Xu Zhangrun 许章润 b. 1962

Xu is a Professor of Jurisprudence and Constitutional Law at Tsinghua University. Areas of research: Jurisprudence, the Confucianism legal legacy and Constitutional Law. Xu is a  Liberal thinker, and he prefers keeping distance from public intellectuals who gets too much involved in social activities. Journal Articles Xu, Zhangrun. “Western law in China: transplantation or transformation: […]

Yu Jianrong 于建嵘 b.1962

Yu Jianrong is a prominent Chinese scholar whose research focuses on China’s rural development. Yu joined the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Rural Development Institute (Beijing, China) in October 2001 as a research fellow, and currently serves as Professor and Director of the Rural Development Institute’s Social Issues Research Center. He is the author of […]

Zhang Weiying 张维迎 b.1959

Zhang Weiying is a prominent Chinese economist well-known for his advocacy of free markets and entrepreneurship. He is a vocal critic of big government and its interference in market activities; also a champion of judicial reform and argues in favor of the constitutional protection of private property. Zhang is a professor at National School of […]

Zhou Baosong/ Chow Po Chung 周保松 b.1969

Zhou is an assistant professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration at CUHK and was awarded the Exemplary Teaching Award by the Faculty of Social Science in 2007. His research interests include contemporary moral and political philosophy. Translations on Web Sources Zhou, Baosong. “The evil of poverty.” Trans. Julien Leyre. The Marco Polo […]

Zi Zhongyun 资中筠 b.1930

Zi Zhongyun is veteran practitioner of public diplomacy, interpreter for top PRC leaders, specialist and author in international politics and China-U.S. relations, essayist and director of The Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Books Zi, Zhongyun. No exit? : the origin and evolution of U.S. policy toward China, 1945-1950. Zhang […]