The republication of Albert Meltzer’s The Origins of the Anarchist Movement in China is a major event. Outside of The Origins . . . Robert A. Scalapino and George T. Yu’s The Chinese Anarchist Movement (which does not go beyond the early 1920s, stopping short of the Shanghai Commune) and Olga Lang’s Pa Chin and His Writings: Chinese Youth Between the Two Revolutions most of what has been written about Anarchism in China has been as sidelights to other subjects. In the third number of Libero International, organ of CIRA Nippon, there appears a 34-item bibliography (Asian Anarchism in Western Languages (2): China — republished here as an appendix) — heading the list is Origins. . .
“Libero International refers to it as ‘the pioneer libertarian study on the Chinese movement’ — and so it is. The publication is not a comprehensive study, but a broad, sweeping outline of Chinese Anarchism from its beginnings under the dual impacts of Chinese anarchists in France and Japan, all the way to the Cultural Revolution. Neither is it a scholarly work. These limitations must be kept in mind. It was meant as an introduction to a chapter of the Unknown History whose definitive work has yet to be written. This writer was not even aware of there being an anarchist movement in China before reading ‘The Origins . . .’ — that it informs those interested that such a movement did indeed exist, and exerted a powerful influence as well — therein lies the value of The Origins . . . Written in the inimitable Meltzer style, complete with anecdotes and fascinating sidelights (such as the role of Esperanto, or a note on the depiction of Jews as a type in the writings of the anarchist Pa Chin), it is an ideal jumping off point for further studies…” — Shelby Shapiro