BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    From Beijing to Palestine: Zhang Chengzhi’s journeys from Red Guard radicalism to global Islam

    Lovell, Julia (2016) From Beijing to Palestine: Zhang Chengzhi’s journeys from Red Guard radicalism to global Islam. Journal of Asian Studies 75 (4), pp. 891-911. ISSN 0021-9118.

    15819.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (510kB) | Preview


    This article traces the intellectual evolution of Zhang Chengzhi (b. 1948), a contemporary Chinese poet, novelist, essayist, archaeologist and ethnographer, from Mao-era radicalism to Islamic internationalism. Allegedly the inventor of the term “Red Guard” in the context of the Cultural Revolution, he has remained an unapologetic defender of Mao and of the “Red Guard spirit” since the 1960s. In 1987, meanwhile, Zhang converted to an impoverished and ascetic sect of Chinese Islam, the Jahriyya, and since the 2000s he has become one of China’s most prominent spokesmen for global Islam. The article explores how Zhang has reconciled his zeal for Cultural Revolution Maoism, on the one hand, with Pan-Islamist positions on the other. Although Zhang’s stance suffers from undoubted contradictions and inconsistencies, his career and beliefs illuminate the complexities of the legacy of Mao’s and the Cultural Revolutions, of Chinese intellectual dissidence and of the contemporary trajectories of Chinese internationalism and global Islam.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Julia Lovell
    Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2017 12:27
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:25


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item