Ji Zhengju
Deputy Director Central Translation Office and Researcher
December 19 2017


A 2017 document by Ji Zhengju, who works in China’s Central Translation Office (English translation here) attributes the collapse of the Soviet Union to “historical nihilism,” specifically the repudiation of the Soviet heritage by the ruling elite, leading to general social demoralization and a collapse of the legitimacy of the system. The Soviet collapse has an understandable fascination for the Chinese rulers. Only China, along with North Korea and Vietnam, survived the general crumbling of the socialist systems between 1989 and 1992, but given the structural similarities between the Chinese and the Soviet Russian systems, the Chinese rulers have to fear that what happened to the Russians could happen to them. A survey of the various Chinese explanations for the Soviet collapse, taking into account the Chinese context of the time at which they were offered, would be an interesting exercise for a student of comparative politics.

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Major General Luo Yuan’s Speech at the Military Work Commendation Ceremony and Creativity Summit

Luo Yuan (罗援, b. 1950), a retired PLA rear admiral, is known for his hardline anti-American views. The speech at an awards ceremony for defense scientists and engineers, translated/paraphrased here, is a reaction to the so-called trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump in the spring of 2018, imposing higher tariffs on various Chinese imports. The action was the product of long-standing American complaints against Chinese practices: overt and covert state subsidies to state-owned enterprises or nominally private enterprises actually controlled by the state; restrictions on foreign firms operating in China; forced technology transfers; casual theft of intellectual property . . . The heat of the conflict was no doubt enhanced by China’s growing economic power, its spreading global influence, and ever-improving military capacity—and perhaps reinforced by certain personality traits of the American president.

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