The Ash Center invites you to a book talk with Tony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Ash Center Director, and author of the forthcoming From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party (Harvard University Press, 2021). Saich will be joined by Elizabeth J. Perry, Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute.
This event is cosponsored by the Yenching Institute and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.
About the Book
Tony Saich tells the authoritative, comprehensive story of the Chinese Communist Party—its rise to power against incredible odds, its struggle to consolidate rule and overcome self-inflicted disasters, and its thriving amid other communist parties’ collapse. Saich argues that the brutal Japanese invasion in the 1930s actually helped the party. As the Communists retreated into the countryside, they established themselves as the populist, grassroots alternative to the Nationalists, gaining the support they would need to triumph in the civil war. Once in power, however, the Communists faced the difficult task of learning how to rule. Saich examines the devastating economic consequences of Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the political chaos of the Cultural Revolution, as well as the party’s rebound under Deng Xiaoping’s reforms.
Leninist systems are thought to be rigid, yet the Chinese Communist Party has proved adaptable. From Rebel to Ruler shows that the party owes its endurance to its flexibility. But is it nimble enough to realize Xi Jinping’s “China Dream”? Challenges are multiplying, as the growing middle class makes new demands on the state and the ideological retreat from communism draws the party further from its revolutionary roots. The legacy of the party may be secure, but its future is anything but guaranteed.
Virtual Event Recording