Reading Round-Up: The Xinhai Revolution, One Hundred Years Later

Many thanks to the members of the informal Xinhai Geming reading group that’s formed at UC Irvine this term for collecting the following links concerning the one hundredth anniversary of the 1911 Revolution:

• With perfect timing, China Heritage Quarterly, which has established itself as a must-read publication for those interested in the varied ways the past can influence the present in the PRC, is up with an issue devoted to the Xinhai Revolution. True to form, it is made up of pieces that come at the topic from varied angles, from a mix of talented writers with a deep understanding of China’s history.

• For a very useful precis of key issues—from contrasting view of 1911 on opposite sides of the Taiwan Strait to reasons Beijing might be playing down the anniversary just now—see this at the Economist.

“Fear of Dragons,” an op-ed by Yu Hua on the current administration’s nervousness about marking the anniversary. “In the end,” he writes, “the celebration has revealed less about 1911 than about Beijing’s fear of change. Sanctioned commemorative displays tend to be showy distractions that avoid any reference to the transformative effects of the revolution.”

• In Chinese, this website covers one hundred important figures relating to the Xinhai Revolution.

• If you’d prefer a slightly different angle on the revolution, check out one of the new animated features about it. 《民的1911》opened in the PRC recently (trailer here; music video here), while《孫中山傳》will debut in Taiwan on Monday’s anniversary (see news reports about the movie here and here).

• For readers with more time, see this excerpt from David Strand’s new book, An Unfinished Republic: Leading by Word and Deed in Modern China (UC Press, 2011), an impressive work with a 1911 connection. Now is also the perfect time to read (or re-read) a classic about the 1911 era, Lu Xun’s “The Real Story of Ah Q” (perhaps in China Beatnik Julia Lovell’s 2010 translation).

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