Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Tocqueville classic becomes Chinese bestseller

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-05

French political writer and historian Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic work on France’s 1789 revolution, “The Old Regime and the Revolution,” has become a bestseller in China – more than 150 years after it was first published.

Alexis de Tocqueville, a 19th century French political writer, sociologist and historian is certainly a celebrated figure in France. His liberal-minded and analytical prose is perhaps even more widely read and studied in the US. But now, more than 150 years after his death, Tocqueville’s words have found a new audience – China.

One may be hard-pressed to find a link between Tocqueville’s “The Old Regime and the Revolution” (“L’ancien régime et la Révolution”), originally published in 1856, and modern-day China. But the book has become a sensation, rising to the top of bestseller lists and lighting up discussions on China’s social networking website, Weibo.

The success of “The Old Regime and the Revolution” has largely been attributed to leading members of China’s Communist Party, who recommended it to their peers. In the book Tocqueville explores the idea that major revolutions, like the French Revolution, do not occur during times of poverty, but rather when disparities between classes have become great enough to divide society. In other words, when a small handful of people are extremely rich, and the vast majority of people are not.

Tocqueville’s writings may seem like an odd recommendation considering that China’s Communist Party has been dogged in recent months by reports of widespread corruption. In one recent incident, Chinese authorities denied New York Times correspondent Chris Buckley a visa for 2013, after the newspaper published an investigative piece in October alleging that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s family had accumulated billions of dollars in assets during his leadership.

Chong Ming, a history professor who studies Tocqueville’s work, told the citizen journalism website Global Voices, that the book may have struck a nerve in China because the conditions leading up to the French Revolution in some ways mirror the situation in China today.

“Like then in France, China has been through a lot of wars and revolutions in the past, now China is experiencing a transitional period with a centralized power and booming economy,” Chong said.

“I think [Chinese leaders]… are [trying] to make people realize the necessity of reform: it is not to be delayed, otherwise, we will face great danger. To some extent, reform is the best way to avoid revolution,” he added.
 

Date created : 2013-01-04

  • FRANCE - CHINA

    Chinese tycoon buys top Bordeaux wine estate

    Read more

  • PAINTING

    France's Musée d'Orsay to open Shanghai exhibit

    Read more

  • CHINA

    Xi Jinping officially named China's new leader

    Read more

COMMENT(S)