|Title||Minkan in China: 1949–89|
This paper presents the first panoramic study of minkan (citizen publications) in China from the 1950s until the 1980s. The purpose of doing so is to recover the thoughts and practice obliterated by state power by examining unofficial magazines as having social, political and historical functions. Moreover, it attempts to examine this recent history against the backdrop of the much older history of Chinese print culture and its
renaissance. The study of unofficial magazine in post-1949 China contributes to the recovery of a lost past resistance. It is an exercise in remembering in the context of marginalisation and exclusion by official history. Furthermore, it examines the
reconstruction of the narrative of Chinese modern history, and the building up of a civil society that is independent of both the state elite and the new apolitical bourgeoisie in Mainland China.
Minkan in this thesis has multiple connotations: as unofficial magazine, as civic expression, and as a way of resistance. The media of minkan take in various formats: public squares, posters, walls, book series and so on. By researching the lifespan of a minkan I attempt to make transparent both the idea and the concrete dynamics of its practice. Drawing on the theories of civil society and the public sphere, this study explores the creative practice of minkan as a revival of the concept of ‘moveable words’ in the Chinese print tradition.