Contradiction, Systemic Crisis and the Direction for Change: An Interview with Wang Hui

"The transition in China’s form of development is currently framed in terms of “upgrading and updating” and industrial transfer. From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, many people—from the standpoint of very different political aspirations—have predicted that a similar situation would occur and even encouraged one to occur in China. But, disappointingly for these people, this expected “revolution” has not yet appeared in China, while street revolution is already widespread in Euro-America. Why? It is not because social contradictions and conflicts do not exist in China or because there are no problems with China’s mode of development. It is rather due to two reasons: First, the fact that China is vast and regions are unevenly developed has ironically acted as a buffer in the context of the financial crisis. Regional disparity, rural–urban disparity, disparity between the rich and poor and so forth have all provided room for adjustment in China. Second, China has actually been in a constant process of adjustment during the past ten years. This adjustment results from a range of social practices, including internal jockeying, social struggle, public discussion, policy changes, local experiments and so forth. Social experiments and debates about different modes of development still continue in Chinese society. This indicates that there is still the possibility of self-directed, autonomous reform. But because the situation is changing so quickly, if action in this direction is not taken immediately, this possibility may be fleeting and quickly disappear. But introducing something resembling a “color revolution” from the outside, it seems to me, can only induce turmoil and can hardly produce a positive result."


"The good thing about the developments of the past two or three years is that most demonstrations have avoided using sectarian slogans...