Link transfers to emeritus status

Perry Link, professor of East Asian studies, was transferred to emeritus status in recent action by the Board of Trustees. His transfer was effective July 1, 2008.

photo of Perry Link
Perry Link

Link, now a faculty member at the University of California-Riverside, is known as an innovative scholar of modern Chinese literature and an authority on contemporary Chinese politics and intellectual life. His major publications include “The Uses of Literature: Life in the Socialist Chinese Literary System” and “Evening Chats in Beijing: Probing China’s Predicament.” His first book, “Mandarin Duck and the Butterflies: Popular Fiction in Early 20th-Century Chinese Cities,” was an unconventional and pioneering work on modern China’s popular fiction. He also has published essays in Chinese and cowritten Chinese-language textbooks with Princeton colleague Chih-p’ing Chou. Link and Chou founded the Princeton in Beijing summer program for teaching American students in an authentic language environment.

In the 1980s, as China reopened to the Western world, Link began to meet and translate the works of post-Mao intellectuals, and he edited and published many important works of recent Chinese literature. He also has been involved in the human rights movement. After the killings that ended the Tiananmen protests of 1989, he helped astrophysicist Fang Lizhi and his family to take refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing and — apparently for this reason — has been banned from China since 1995. Link also helped other dissident intellectuals come to Princeton and built a reputation as an incisive critic of the Chinese government. In 2001, Link and Andrew Nathan obtained an important set of secret government documents, which they translated and coedited as “The Tiananmen Papers: The Chinese Leadership’s Decision to Use Force Against Their Own People — In Their Own Words.” This work has provided both vivid material for teaching and invaluable sources for scholars.

Link is a graduate of Harvard University, where he also earned a Ph.D. He first joined the Princeton faculty in 1973 and left in 1977 for the University of California-Los Angeles. He returned to Princeton in 1989.