A Westerner’s Understanding of China

The irony is that US diplomats who are not fluent in Chinese are allowed to enter China but Prof Link who is an absolute expert on China is blacklisted. He had merely translated the Tiananmen Papers and his views are not extreme or outright anti-CCP. The real problem could be, he knows or is in the position to know too much.

Wikipedia: “Eugene Perry Link is Chancellorial Chair Professor for Innovative Teaching Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages in College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of California, Riverside and Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. He specializes in modern Chinese literature and Chinese language. Link is a Harvard University alumnus who received his B.A. in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1976. Link has been a Board Member of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) since 2021. CFHK is a US-based non-profit organisation, which presses for the preservation of freedom, democracy, and international law in Hong Kong.”

Prof Link grew up in an extreme Left family. His parents were fans of Stalin and felt that the Gang of Four in China did right. As a left-leaning American, he was positive about Chinese socialism, thinking that the system could be a solution to America’s problems. After setting foot in China in 1973, he started to have doubts about socialism.

Daily observations were enough to tell Prof Link that the real China was not quite the China that he read about in CCP propaganda. He doesn’t think that his values had changed after that. He just discovered that leaders in China were not honestly following the socialist ideals he embraced. The system in theory and the system in reality are two different things.

Link has translated many Chinese stories, writings and poems into English. During the 1989 Tiananmen protest, he was teaching at university in Beijing and was associated with dissidents from intellectuals to taxi drivers. Later, along with Andrew J. Nathan, he translated the Tiananmen Papers, based on leaked government documents.

In 1996, China blacklisted Link, and he has been denied entrance ever since. In 2001, Link was detained and questioned upon arriving in Hong Kong because of his involvement in the Tiananmen Papers. He has been banned from the PRC since.