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Xu Zhangrun & Geremie R. Barmé

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Homepage: https://www.chinafile.com/

Xu Zhangrun addresses this letter to the students and young scholars who participated in “The Three Talents Salon” which Xu founded in 2003, a biannual symposium devoted to fostering “three talents” or skills in the participants: in-depth reading, freewheeling discussion and debate, and convivial social drinking. Under Xu’s aegis, members of the salon published numerous edited volumes on topics related to law, history, philosophy, and politics.

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At this crucial juncture, China’s political, business, and academic elites revealed a core of craven self-interest and vacuous hypocrisy. The display was even further evidence of the degraded state of our nation’s public life, one that has long been characterized by brazen political opportunism, systemic corruption, and the celebration of populist thuggery.

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Xu Zhangrun, perhaps China’s most famous dissident legal scholar, released a letter addressed not only to China’s censors but also to the editors and publishers with whom he had worked for decades. That essay, translated below, is Letter Eight in his ‘Ten Letters from a Year of Plague,’ a collection that, read as a whole, is an account of the persecution he has suffered since he published a fierce...

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