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3 Preface to Part One Leonard C. Hawes I n their introduction to this collection of essays, Stephen Hartnett, Lisa Keränen, and Donovan Conley propose three questions about the dilemmas and opportunities of U.S.–China communication in an age of globalization: What are the directions of these relations? What do we know about the ways we speak about, to, and against one another? And what are the forces driving those intercultural communication patterns ? The editors suggest that framing the questions in terms of the “interlinked imaginaries” of the two nation-states provides opportunities to think about qualitatively different questions and projects. The “imaginary” is Jacques Lacan’s name for the creation of a dual relationship in which each subject invents and misidentifies the other, confusing the Imaginary and the Real.1 The three chapters that constitute Part One of this book can be read as offering three ways of making sense of the material and discursive relations that constitute these colossal “interlinked imaginaries,” for they address how the world’s two largest 4 Leonard C. Hawes economies—with massive armies and nuclear arsenals, plentiful but definitely finite natural resources, and the most sophisticated global media technologies—invent the Other and then love, fear, and sometimes hate its Other. Rather than doing the arduous intellectual and cultural work of coming to know China on its own paradoxical terms, and thereby creating different communication relations, many in the United States insist on maintaining the imaginary while at the same time remaining steadfastly unwilling to acknowledge their own constitutive paradoxes, a reluctance China is more than willing to highlight as hypocrisy. The converse is the case as well, as many in China too appear committed to portraying the United States in terms more imaginary and fantastical than real. The interlinked imaginaries discussed herein can be seen, then, as blocking the kinds of authentic, genuine, fruitful encounters that could lead to better U.S.–China communication. Within this framework, the following three essays examine the rhetorical histories, contested nationalities, and emerging transcultures that drive the interlinked imaginaries of the United States and China, which appear to have produced sixty years of entrenched misunderstandings, dangerously dysfunctional communication patterns, simmering rivalries, and dramatically different conceptions of human rights. To address these questions from within China, in the first chapter, Xing Lu maps several long-standing rhetorical patterns within China and addresses the dilemmas President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China (CPC or the Party) face as they try to cling to Mao-style rhetoric while building a supercharged, globally linked, hypercapitalist economy. The rhetorical exigency is spiritual as well, for since the late 1970s, China has been experiencing a religious awakening of arguably historic proportions, manifesting not only as relatively new religious groups such as the Falun Gong, but as a reawakening of Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, and Islam as well, with each belief system standing in possible tension with Party claims to legitimacy. This religious reawakening, and the Party’s discomforts because of it, can be attributed in measure to the CPC’s insistence that Confucianism not be viewed as a religion in China.2 The political and rhetorical problematics in this regard for the CPC consist in managing the intersections of religious discourse, human rights discourse, and Confucian discourse on the one hand, while at the same time reconciling Histories, Nationalities, and Transcultures 5 Maoist communist principles with its burgeoning market-capitalist global economy on the other. To make sense of this moment, Xing Lu listens to the ways President Xi Jinping and other Chinese intellectuals invoke Mao and his writings, particularly Mao’s Little Red Book; she concludes with a provocative argument about the waning force of the rhetorical, philosophical , and certainly political voice of Mao in contemporary China. In this way, Xing Lu begins the book by offering us a sweeping overview of the rhetorical traditions that underwrite contemporary national imaginings in China. In the second chapter, Michelle Murray Yang maps the dilemmas and opportunities of U.S.–China communication relations along the disputed and staunchly defended lines drawn by the dissident discourses of the human rights debate. Yang focuses on the recent controversy surrounding Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s internal critique of the CPC and his journey from China to the United States, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, Chen’s growing dissatisfaction with and his eventual critique of U.S. hypocrisy in terms of allowing economic relations to trump human rights. By tracking Chen...


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