Chapter 2 Chinese intellectuals: a background study

Chapter 2 Chinese intellectuals: a background study


This chapter presents a general picture of Chinese intellectuals in the past and the present. Section 2.2 is a historical and sociological review of intellectuals and their social status from ancient China to the present day. Section 2.3 summarises national policies relating to intellectuals since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, with a brief account of why and how the policies have changed. These two sections may help understand some of the deeply rooted characteristics of Chinese intellectuals, either inherited from their ancient counterparts or formed during development of the social group. Section 2.4 recapitulates different definitions of ‘intellectual’ in use and arrives at a definition that is suitable for the present research. Section 2.5 reviews classifications of intellectuals based on different criteria.

CD DOI Crossref

CD DOI Crossref


Product details

Book title: Chinese Intellectuals as Represented in “New Era” Fictional Dialogues
Series name: Chinese Discourse Series Vol. 2
Numbers of page: 230
Publisher: London: Global China Press
Publishing date: 2017
Language: Chinese and English
Product Dimensions: 17 x 24 cm
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-910334-47-8
Price: Paperback: £26.99

Chinese Discourse Series, Series Editors 

XIE Lizhong: Knowing and understanding China has always been an important topic for politicians, entrepreneurs and scholars from other nations. Moreover, the changes experienced by China in the past thirty years, as well as the gradual rise of China as a major developing country on the world stage, are giving high and pressing priority to research on this important topic. From the angle of “discourse construction”, one of the key points for knowing and understanding China is to know and understand “Chinese discourse”, both ancient and contemporary. Only when we perform an in-depth and careful inspection of the Chinese people’s discourse system (including the rules that govern the production and communication of discourse in practice) can we have a proper understanding of China’s social reality and the operation of its social mechanisms. The fact that China’s social reality is constructed by Chinese people who are both guided and constrained by various discourse systems underlies the significance and value of the Chinese Discourse series. We look forward to the publication of this series, and we sincerely believe that it will help people gain a better understanding of Chinese discourse.

QIAN Yufang: As a meaningful semiotic human activity in social, cultural and historical development, discourse is a way of understanding the world. It can be recognized through its manifestation in characteristic linguistic “traces” in spoken or written texts. The French philosopher Michel Foucault once pointed out that all human knowledge is acquired from discourse. Nothing exists without discourse. The relationship between an individual and the world is a type of discourse. Discourse determines the position of human beings in the world. Since their emergence in the 1950s, discourse studies have gone beyond a purely linguistic research paradigm. Discourse is now used to bridge the divide between different humanistic subjects, and its integration with other disciplines is becoming increasingly mainstream.


This book explores the status of Chinese intellectuals from 1980 to 2005 and its diachronic change in this period, as represented by dialogues between intellectuals and their leaders in fiction. June 1989 serves as a historical dividing line on which to base this diachronic study. The research shows that the corpus approach and the stylistic analysis can be combined to present a more comprehensive description of data. It is hoped that this will shed some light on studies of post-Cultural Revolution Chinese intellectuals and on how quantitative and qualitative approaches merge in the investigation of interaction between superiors and subordinates.

List of Figures xix
List of Tables xx
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
1.1 Brief introduction to ‘new era’ Chinese intellectuals 2
1.2 Fiction Monthly 3
1.3 Dialogues between intellectuals and their leaders in Fiction Monthly 5
1.4 Research questions 6
1.5 Analytical frameworks 6
Chapter 2 Chinese intellectuals: a background study 9
2.1 Introduction 9
2.2 From shi (ancient scholars) to zhishi fenzi (intellectuals) to zhuanye jishu renyuan (professional and technical personnel) 9
2.3 National policies towards intellectuals since the foundation of the PRC 18
2.4 Definitions of ‘intellectual’ in Chinese and the definition adopted in this book 21
2.5 Classification of Chinese intellectuals 23
2.6 Conclusion 24
Chapter 3 Theoretical framework and methodology 26
3.1 Introduction 26
3.2 Fictional dialogue as social discourse 26
3.3 Methodology for a corpus-based study 27
3.4 Methodology for stylistic analysis of dialogues 33
3.5 Explanatory remarks on data translation 47
3.6 Conclusion 47
Chapter 4 Intellectuals in Fiction Monthly: a corpus-based study 48
4.1 Introduction 48
4.2 A general analysis of ISC and LSC wordlists 48
4.3 Key key-words analysis of ISC and LSC 53
4.4 Conclusion 93
Chapter 5 Intellectuals in Fiction Monthly 1980–June 1989: a stylistic analysis 95
5.1 Introduction 95
5.2 A review of stories concerning intellectuals from 1980 to June 1989 95
5.3 Three case studies of I–L conversation from 1980 to June 1989 101
5.4 Conclusion 128
Chapter 6 Intellectuals in Fiction Monthly July 1989–2005: a stylistic analysis 131
6.1 Introduction 131
6.2 A review of stories concerning intellectuals from July 1989 to 2005 131
6.3 Three case studies of I–L conversation from July 1989 to 2005 135
6.4 Conclusion 158
Chapter 7 Conclusion 161
7.1 Introduction 161
7.2 Research findings 161
7.3 Reflections on the combined approach to fictional discourse 165
7.4 Contributions of the research 169
7.5 Further research 170
References 172
Appendix 1 Stories concerning intellectuals from 1980 to June 1989 179
Appendix 2 Stories concerning intellectuals from July 1989 to 2005 184
Appendix 3 Full text of dialogue excerpts with translation (Chapter 5) 191
Appendix 4 Full text of dialogue excerpts with translation (Chapter 6) 203