Book launch: Made in China Yearbook 2016: Disturbances in Heaven
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2016 was the year of the fire monkey. What better character than Sun Wukong to inspire this inaugural volume of the Made in China Yearbook? In this past year, Chinese workers and activists from all walks of life have struggled under heightened repression by the Chinese party-state, showing remarkable endurance even under these dire circumstances. Through their battles, however small or short-lived, they repeatedly challenged the message of ‘harmony’ put forward by the Chinese authorities, creating ‘disturbances’ in the imaginary heaven engineered by the party-state. All of this is nothing other than proof of the survival of the monkey spirit in Chinese society. Even when trapped under a mountain of repression, or in terrible pain due to the curse of the magic headband of state control, the monkey still manages to briefly wriggle free, reminding us that not all is well, that not everything is predictable.
Nicholas Loubere is an Associate Senior Lecturer in the Study of Modern China at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University. He is the co-chief editor of the website www.chinoiresie.info, and the e-journal Made in China: A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society, and Rights.
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