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Beaconism and the Trumpian Metamorphosis of Chinese Liberal Intellectuals (Yao LIN, Yale Law School)
Friday, October 30, 2020, 01:00pm
Contact Nancy Rosario (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

You can find the video recording of this talk on our video page.

This talk is co-sponsored by Rutgers Global-China Office. It is open to the public, but registration is required.



This talk, based on Yao LIN's recent article, examines the puzzling phenomenon that many Chinese liberal intellectuals fervently idolize Donald Trump and embrace the alt-right ideologies he epitomizes. Rejecting ‘pure tactic’ and ‘neoliberal affinity’ explanations, it argues that the Trumpian metamorphosis of Chinese liberal intellectuals is precipitated by their ‘beacon complex’, which has ‘political’ and ‘civilizational’ components. Political beaconism grows from the traumatizing lived experience of Maoist totalitarianism, sanitizes the West and particularly the United States as politically near-perfect, and gives rise to both a neoliberal affinity and a latent hostility toward baizuo. Civilizational beaconism, sharing with its nationalistic counterpart—civilizational vindicativism—the heritages of scientific racism and social Darwinism imported in late-Qing, renders the Chinese liberal intelligentsia receptive to anti-immigrant and Islamophobic paranoia, exacerbates its anti-baizuo sentiments, and catalyzes its Trumpian convergence with Chinese non-liberals.


Dr. Yao LIN obtained his Ph.D. degree in political theory from Columbia University in 2016, and subsequently taught in Hong Kong and mainland China, until his course in political philosophy was banned by the Chinese authority in 2018. He is a currently a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. His research areas include contemporary liberal and democratic theories, feminism, constitutional law, Chinese politics and society, and comparative institutions.


This event is open to the public, but registration is required. Please click here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Trumpian metamorphosis


Location  Zoom (registration required)

China Calendar

China Calendar is designed to have in one place all China-related academic events across different departments, centers and schools on Rutgers New Brunswick campus. If you have a China-related event and would like to put it on this calendar, please contact us

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