China’s New Red Guards

This week’s podcast is the fifth in REEES Spring Speakers’ series “Socialism: Past, Present, and Future” at the University of Pittsburgh.

In this series we explore the experience of “really existing socialism,” grassroots socialist and communist movements, socialist-inspired economic development and state building, and visions of a socialist future from a global perspective.

Ever since Deng Xiaoping effectively de-radicalized China in the 1980s, debates have swirled around which path China would follow. Would it democratize? Would it embrace capitalism? Would the Communist Party’s rule be able to withstand globalization and the internet? One thing few seriously considered: Mao Zedong would make a political comeback. This interview with Jude Blanchette discusses the return of the populist enthusiasm for the Great Helmsman’s policies, and what it means for the present and future of Chinese communism.


Jude Blanchette is the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He has written for a range of publications, including Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, and his Chinese translations have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. He’s the author of China’s New Red Guards: The Return of Radicalism and the Rebirth of Mao Zedong published by Oxford University Press.


Nouvelle Vague, “Marian,” Nouvelle Vague, 2004.