Tao Li and Jin-chuang Li

Charity activities have a long history in China. As an epitome of Neo-Confucianism, Chu Hsi thought charity is an explosion of benevolence, and a process from loving their relatives to expanding their own love to others, and emphasized that it is the most important national affair to be concerned about the people’s suffering. For the shortcomings of establishing She-cang in city, Chu Hsi first established She-cang in the rural area, which used food allotted by the government as funds, was self-managed by rural officer and gentry, under the proper supervision of government. It mainly used a reasonable way of interest-bearing to ensure mobile appreciation of funds, effectively made up for the lack of government charity, and demonstrated the function of rural non-government charity organization. The successful practice of Chu Hsi was popularized by the emperor throughout the country and became the Chu His She-cang method, which was followed by later generations, was the good example of non-government charity organization in Chinese ancient time. But later, it showed some shortcomings. These have the important historical enlightenment and reference significance for development of today’s non-government charity organization.

Jin Song and Shi Li

Along with advances in urban state-owned enterprise reform, fast growth of private sector and changes in the wage structure, earnings inequality in urban China has been increasing. Using data from the 1988 and 2007 waves of the urban household survey conducted by China Household Income Project, this paper attempts to examine the impact of the change in ownership structure on earnings distribution in urban China. We find that developing non-state-owned enterprises (nonSOEs) or privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) enlarge earnings inequality, but the difference in earnings level between the two sectors is small. Although workers in SOEs receive higher income than in nonSOEs, the difference is more caused by endowment difference rather than coefficient differences. Introducing market power to wage determination system is more influential to the rising earnings inequality which leads more rewards on working experience and educational attainment.

LI Ning and YAN Jin

This paper explores the mechanism by which trust climate influences individual performance. From the perspective of psychological dynamics, we investigate the relationship among perceptions of organizational climate, motivation and individual behaviors to crystallize how a trustworthy organizational environment favors superior individual performance. 203 employees and their supervisors participated in this study, the results show that trust climate benefits individual performance through fostering psychological safety, which in turn influences individual performance via two mutually complementary pathways, namely ability to focus and organizational learning. Psychological safety is conducive to increasing individual ability to focus and improving job performance. Moreover, it is also instrumental in enhancing individual willingness to learn and experiment with new methods as an effort to achieve superior performance. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

New Research on Tan Kah Kee (关于陈嘉庚的新研究)

The Departure of 1950, and the “Return” of 1955 (1950 年返回中国与 1955 年“逃离”中国的历史事件)

Jin Li Lim (林劲利)

This article uses heretofore unavailable or unexamined archival documents to offer new insights into and analysis of two specific historical questions concerning Tan Kah Kee. The first question has to do with the precise circumstances and motivations that underpinned Tan’s departure from Singapore in 1950, which turned out to be a permanent return to China. The second question has to do with a more recent revisionist argument that suggests that Tan tried — and failed — to escape from China in 1954 and 1957. Both questions have a certain historical significance in that they are closely connected to how Tan has been, and is, remembered in the modern histories of Singapore, the People’s Republic of China (prc), and the Chinese overseas.

The prevailing historiographical view on Tan’s permanent return to China in 1950 is that it was essentially the product of both “push and pull” factors; that is, that Tan was both pushed out of Singapore by the increasingly hostile political situation after the British pressure that was placed on him as a result of the Malayan Emergency, and attracted back to China by the “pull” that the establishment of New China (in 1949) exerted on his patriotic sentiments. Based on a close reading of archival evidence, this article demonstrates that Tan was not pushed out of Singapore. He left on his own terms, and because he wanted to play a part in New China.

The New Biography of Tan Kah Kee suggests that Tan attempted to escape to Singapore in 1954 and 1957, because he had become disillusioned with the radicalizing political situation in China, and thus decided to leave Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party behind. In this narrative, Tan’s escape ultimately fails because, in 1954, Zhou Enlai uses political blackmail to force Tan to stay and, in 1957, the British authorities in Singapore ban him from returning. This article demonstrates that this narrative is unsupported by archival evidence. Tan only made one attempt to travel to Singapore in 1955, and it was neither an escape attempt nor was it blocked by the Chinese Communists or the British. Rather than fleeing the prc, Tan was likely trying to travel to Singapore on behalf of the prc.

本文利用不可多得或迄今为止未经细查的档案文献, 为关于陈嘉庚的两个具体的历史问题提供了新的见解和分析。第一个问题围绕陈嘉庚在新加坡的种种境遇和其1950年离开新加坡并永远留在中国的动机。第二个问题有关于一个近代修正主义争论, 它指出: 陈嘉庚曾试图在 1954 年和 1957 年逃离中国, 但都以失败告终。这两个问题对陈嘉庚如何在新加坡现代史, 中华人民共和国史以及华侨华人史中被记录有着密不可分的联系, 因此具有特殊历史重要性。

对于陈嘉庚于 1950 年回归中国这历史事件, 主流观点认为这是 “推力与拉力” 两者共同作用的产物: 面对马来亚紧急状态, 英国对陈嘉庚施压, 从而加大陈嘉庚与当下政治局势日益敌视的关系, 最终迫使其被 “推” 出新加坡; 与此同时, 1949 年新中国的成立激发了他的爱国情感而将他 “拉” 回中国。基于对档案证据的仔细阅读, 本文论证了陈嘉庚并没有被 “推” 出新加坡——他的离开出于自愿, 因为他希望为新中国做出贡献。

《陈嘉庚新传》一书中提到, 中国激进的政治局势使陈嘉庚感到理想破灭, 于是他决定离开毛泽东及中国共产党。之后他分别在1954和1957年试图逃返新加坡, 但都以失败告终: 在 1954 年, 周恩来利用政治因素威胁陈嘉庚留下; 而在1957年, 新加坡的英国当局禁止他返回。本文证实此书的叙述不能被档案证据所支持。事实上, 陈嘉庚仅在 1955 年试图前往新加坡; 作为仅有的一次“离开中国,” 它不具有逃跑的企图, 陈也未被中共和英国阻拦, 反倒更像是代表中国出访新加坡。

This article is in English.

The Price and Promise of Specialness

The Political Economy of Overseas Chinese Policy in the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1959


Jin Li Lim

In The Price and Promise of Specialness, Jin Li Lim revises narratives on the overseas Chinese and the People’s Republic of China by analysing the Communist approach to ‘overseas Chinese affairs’ in New China’s first decade as a function of a larger political economy.
Jin Li Lim shows how the party-state centred its approach towards the overseas Chinese on a perception of their financial utility and thus sought to offer them a special identity and place in New China, so as to unlock their riches. Yet, this contradicted the quest for socialist transformation, and as its early pragmatism fell away, the radicalising party-state abandoned its promises to the overseas Chinese, who were left to pay the price for their difference.


Jin Li Lim


The book begins by detailing Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 attempt to whitewash the history of Overseas Chinese policy, by blaming its failures on the Cultural Revolution, and by claiming that it had been blamelessly benevolent in the 1950s. This contextualises the main questions—and revisionism—of my book, and is the starting point for discussion of my argument, sources, methodology, and the lacunae in CCP orthodoxy and English-language historiography.


Jin Li Lim


The opening backdrop to this chapter rests in the combination of the heady CCP rhetoric heralding New China’s advent, its call for a united front and New Democracy, and the Overseas Chinese response to this long-anticipated fulfilment of their ‘rights and interests’. Against that backdrop, the chapter (1949–1950) shows how Soviet orthodoxy and CCP economic realism combined in the New Democracy. This was the basis for the Overseas Chinese inclusion in the united front, and the policy (and institutions) that was created to govern their affairs.