Caixin OnlineSociety & Culture Tocqueville in China
09.14.2012 19:14

Tocqueville in China

China's leadership is fascinated by the French thinker's writings because of what his observations say about conditions in their times
By Nailene Chou Wiest
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Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French historian, has enjoyed great popularity among   China's political and economic elites over the past 20 years. In the countdown to the leadership change this fall, his book The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856) seems to speak to opinion leaders of every stripe. Tocqueville's emphasis on order and conservative suspicion of the crowd argues for maintaining the status quo; while his ideas of equality and civil society appeal to the liberals. Shared by both camps is his dark anxiety of facing a brewing crisis.

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