In these comments I summarize what I take to be the purposes of Professor Chong’s essay. He argues that post-totalitarian China is a democratic society in Tocqueville’s distinctive sense—that is, through a set of factors often unintended by those who put them into play, China has become a society defined by equality of status and the particular aspirations and passions engendered by such equality. China is marked as well by a pronounced tendency towards individualism: an absorption in one’s private family and circle of friends to the potential detriment of the larger society. He then focuses on two dimensions of Tocqueville’s analysis of this sort of new democratic society, arguing that both are relevant to contemporary China.


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pp. 113-119
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