By Tyrene White, Asia Society. China Council, Asia Society
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Extra info for China briefing 2000: the continuing transformation
15 It was a debate that reflected the growing marginalization of intellectuals in the face of commercialization. In short, by the end of the 1990s, it was difficult to speak of China's intellectuals as a coherent social stratum or as the "conscience" of Chinese society, their traditional role. Critical methodologies, as just mentioned, have an affinity with nationalism, even if they are inherently critical of the government and the course of reform as well. Nationalism is hardly new in China; it has in fact been the leitmotif of twentieth-century China.
E. Sharpe, notably Doug Merwin, Diana McDermott, Angela Piliouras, and Patricia Loo, who continue to support our country briefing series. At the Society we would like to thank Robert W. Radtke and Michelle Caswell for their assistance, and Mai Shaikhanuar-Cota, who worked tirelessly to ensure continuity between this edition of China Briefing and those that have come before. Nicholas Platt President Asia Society Page ix Copyright © Current History, Inc. Page x This page intentionally left blank.
However superficial these discussions may have been, their participants clearly saw themselves as lying within the May Fourth enlightenment tradition and providing a cosmopolitanism that helped support the political relationship being forged with the West as well as reformers within the Party. A decade later, the May Fourth legacy appears badly tattered. The liberal tradition of the May Fourth period has been ignored and suppressed many times since 1919, as Li Zehou points out, because revolution or foreign war seemed more pressing.