We are sad to announce that our dear friend, colleague, and former Director Roderick MacFarquhar, Leroy B. Williams Professor Emeritus of History and Political Science at Harvard University, passed away on Sunday February 10, 2019.
Professor MacFarquhar originally came to Harvard to pursue a master’s degree in East Asian Studies, graduating in 1955, after which he returned to Harvard with a faculty appointment in the Department of Government in 1984. He was appointed Director of the Fairbank Center from 1986-1992 and again from 2005-2006.
The family will hold a private farewell ceremony. There will be a more public memorial in due course, in which the Fairbank Center will be involved, and at which we will be able to pay due honor to this great scholar and great man.
Read about Professor MacFarquhar’s life in the New York Times (纽约时报中文), Washington Post, South China Morning Post, Caixin, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Boston Globe, Le Monde, BBC 中文, and VOA 中文.
Remembrances from Colleagues
When Roderick MacFarquhar passed away on February 10, 2019, I was left with a deep regret: that our friendship had been too short.
“He can be very intimidating. Don’t be put off by it; it’s just a mannerism,” Nancy Hearst, the librarian at Harvard’s Fairbank Center, warned me before taking me to meet him for the first time.
I had under my arm the manuscript of the memoir of Zhao Ziyang, the deceased former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, ousted in 1989 for refusing to carry out the military crackdown of the protesters in Tiananmen Square. I had planned to publish it to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests, and I wanted MacFarquhar to write an introduction for the English version, which would be published as Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang.
When Nancy brought my wife and me to his modestly-sized office in Harvard’s Department of Government, he was already standing in front of his desk.
Before I could go far into the material I had prepared for him, he abruptly stopped me. “So, why me?” he asked. Nancy was right, he was extremely blunt. “There are many scholars who know much more about this than I do: Andrew Nathan was involved in the Tiananmen Papers, Joseph Fewsmith knows every detail of Reform . . .” He continued on and on, giving a veritable who’s who of scholars of reform-era China.
I told him why: “I believe a person with a deep understanding of the Cultural Revolution stands the best chance of truly understanding Zhao Ziyang, the reformer.”
He paused, but not for long before saying, “My impression is that Zhao was just Deng Xiaoping’s sidekick. In fact, that would make a great title: ‘Zhao Ziyang, Deng Xiaoping’s Sidekick’!” My heart sank.
“But I am happy to change my mind if I see evidence to the contrary,” he finished.
Afterwards, Nancy tried to convince me that my patience would be rewarded, so I left the manuscript for him, still full of doubt. I couldn’t know that this is how we would begin a close friendship of 10 years.
A few months later, I translated Rod’s introduction into Chinese, and read it to one of Zhao’s sons. To my great surprise, the dispassionate text elicited an uncontrollable flow of tears. Someone finally understood his father for who he really was, despite his having been almost erased from history.
“Today in China, Zhao is a nonperson,” Rod had written. “In a less paranoid time in the future, perhaps he will be seen as one in that honored line of Chinese officials down the ages who worked hard and well for their country, but fell foul of the ruling authorities. Their names remain inspirational, long after the names of their venal opponents have been forgotten.”
The successful publication of Zhao’s memoir owed much to MacFarquhar’s introduction (which was included in both the English and Chinese versions). But for him, this was a footnote late in an already monumental career. His greatest scholarly achievement was something else: the study of the Cultural Revolution, as presented in his dense three-volume work, The Origins of the Cultural Revolution.
MacFarquhar was born in 1930 in Lahore, the son of a British Raj civil administrator. He was fluent in Hindi and had fond and lasting memories of his childhood in what was then India. After graduating with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Keble College, Oxford University in 1953, he went on to obtain a Master’s degree from Harvard University in Far Eastern Regional Studies in 1955. His first career was as a journalist, writing for The Daily Telegraphand The Sunday Telegraph from 1955 to 1961, and reporting for BBC’s Panorama from 1963 to 1965.
It was, he told me, as a journalist that he became fascinated with the turmoil of the 1950’s as the Cold War was beginning to take form. “At the time, there were many well established journalists and scholars studying the Soviet Union, but not China,” he once explained. In 1953, Gao Gang, a Communist leader during the Chinese Civil War, mysteriously fell from the highest echelons of Communist Party leadership, and it intrigued him. This was the beginning of what would become a lifelong career as a China specialist, in journalism and in academia.
While his English accent remained on the posh side, Rod’s political views were center-left, mainly with the Labour Party. His attempt at launching a political career was met with only moderate success. After two losses in 1966 and 1968, in the 1974 general elections he won a seat as an MP for the Labour Party representing the Belper constituency. The decisive victory of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party in 1979 almost finished his political career, yet, he tried again in 1983, unsuccessfully.
“As a Labour MP with no inherited wealth, if you lose, you need to find a job,” he once said half-jokingly about how he ended up in academia. Indeed, history is littered with those who aspire to politics but are never granted the chance, among them Confucius, Machiavelli, and Max Weber.
Luckily for us, Roderick MacFarquhar also launched into a career that had him theorizing, documenting, and teaching, sharing his profound insights and analysis of politics with all. He was Founding Editor of The China Quarterly, was Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, and taught History and Political Science at Harvard for 28 years.
His academic career was centered on his relentless interest in modern China. When he published his first of the three volumes of The Origins of the Cultural Revolution in 1974, two years before the Cultural Revolution ended, he had already traced the 1966 cataclysm back to events in the tumultuous year of 1956, a remarkable understanding he gained just by reading everything he could find about China, which back then was mostly official state media.
Already, he had discovered the key to unlocking the ultimate mystery of the origins of the Cultural Revolution. His findings, he told me, surprised even himself: Of Mao Zedong’s pre-1949 revolutionary colleagues, not even one whole-heartedly supported Mao’s idea of “Continuous Revolution.” He documented how Mao, with seeming omnipotence, had crushed every one of his colleagues into submission, leading the country into a tragedy of monumental proportions.
In my view, MacFarquhar’s genius was not just in being the first to lay out a foundation for an understanding of the Mao era. What is so remarkable about his work is his depth of understanding on a subject most find incomprehensible, leading to conclusions that are contrary to common wisdom. For Rod, the Cultural Revolution was not a byproduct of Communist ideology or Stalinist institutions. It was caused by Mao, and by Mao’s insistence on his own ideas in opposition to his revolutionary colleagues who embraced Communist ideology and loved Stalinist state institutions and all the privileges that came with them, all of which Mao hated. In the end he failed, and his colleagues prevailed.
In fact, in The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, MacFarquhar never states this as a final conclusion, nor does he state clearly what the “origins” are. But he does give an abundance of evidence to allow the reader to come to this conclusion. To my surprise, Origins continues to draw criticism from some academics and general readers who feel a need to attribute the Cultural Revolution to authoritarianism.
After the successful publication of Zhao’s journal, I visited MacFarquhar again at his Harvard office. I decided to ask him the question that had been on my mind for many years. ”On various occasions, you summed up the era as ‘Mao against everyone else.’ Why didn’t you write this in your book, to make a very clear conclusion?”
His face lit up, the way it did when he was suddenly interested. “Because no one would have believed me!” He smiled at me. I could see what he meant: How could anyone believe, in 1974, that every senior Communist leader in China was against Mao Zedong?
I will always remember that smile, because from that moment, we became very close friends. Two years later, in the summer of 2012, I published the complete three-volume set of The Origins of the Cultural Revolution in Chinese for the first time in its entirety.
My wife and I visited Rod last summer at his house in New Hampshire, surrounded by the garden his late wife Emily created and his current wife Dalena Wright has continued to tend. It’s a house with quite a bit of history itself, with a large airy drawing room with creaking wooden floorboards where guests are entertained. Books can be found in every room, though a separate building converted from a barn houses an impressive personal library. A hanging clock chimes the hours, like London’s Big Ben.
When I came down from our guest bedroom one morning into the newest section of the house, the renovated kitchen, Rod was already preparing breakfast.
“Can I do anything to help?” I asked.
“No, you cannot.”
“Because you are my guest.”
As I watched his slow and constant stirring of scrambled eggs, French style, he said, with lots of cream and butter, I returned to a topic from the night before, Khrushchev’s secret speech of 1956.
“We can all agree that it marked the beginning of the decline of the communist movement worldwide. But I still don’t understand why. Wasn’t Khrushchev doing the right thing by correcting Stalin’s mistake?”
“Hang on a second, I need more cream.” He went to fetch cream from the large refrigerator behind him and returned to continue his patient stirring.
“The reason is that the Soviet regime was only ‘leadership friendly’ and not much more.”
“Hah, that’s interesting!”
His casual remark gave me profound insight into the nature of the Leninist state: that the power of such a state depends on the leader’s absolute command of loyalty and thus his ability to mobilize all social resources.
I picked up an empty wine bottle with a stained label, “Pétrus 1961,” from a collection of empty bottles on the counter nearby.
“So, of all the students you have taught, who is your favorite?”
“I wouldn’t tell you if I had one!” He smiled. “But I will tell you the story about that bottle of wine.
“When Emily passed away, I realized suddenly how short life is. Instead of ‘saving’ these great wines, I gathered the children and one by one, we drank all the best in my collection. We should enjoy living while we can. This bottle,” he pointed to the bottle in my hand, “I bought when I visited the Château Pétrus in the late 1960s. I asked and paid for a 1960, but when I later unwrapped it, I found they had given me a 1961, a celebrated year I couldn’t afford!”
“Well, what happened? Did someone mistakenly pull a bottle from the wrong rack? After all, 1961 is right next to 1960, right?” I laughed.
He smiled, “I would rather believe someone was intentionally being good to me.”
Roderick MacFarquhar, an extraordinary man, leaves behind him a light of wisdom and gracefulness that will always shine on the paths of those who knew him, and those who read his work.
Ouyang Bin 欧阳斌
编者按： 2 月10 日，历史学、政治学家、哈佛大学费正清研究中心前主任罗德里克·
麦克法夸尔(Roderick MacFarquhar, 汉名马若德）因病逝世，享年88 岁。麦克法
“you are a refugee!” (“你是未逃难的。”)听完我的自我介绍，先生带着特有的微
, 1955 年，他在费正清创办的哈佛大学东亚系读硕士，费正清对寥寥四五个学生
Fan Shitao 范世涛
《文化大革命的起源》（The Origins of the Cultural Revolution）合计三卷，近1700页，是标准的学术巨著。写作历时甚久。第一卷和第二卷出版于1974年和1983年，第三卷出版于1997年。正如书名所示，作者并不认为 “文革”的起源是单一的，但认为这些起源中，1956年所发生的两件大事最为重要：中国社会主义改造的完成和苏共二十大的召开。“文革”其实是这两件大事所引起的一系列事件的最终结果。在此主题下，三卷著作对于1956-1966年间大事小事有细密的观察和评论。
以英文在哈佛大学课堂上讲授中国的“文化大革命”，会遇到形形色色的困难，其中一个困难就是缺乏现成的教科书。于是，麦克法夸尔教授与学生一起，筛选文献，择其要者翻译为英文，印发出来供学生们参考。为了解决教科书的问题，他还放弃了继续《文化大革命的起源》那样的鸿篇巨著写作计划，与瑞典学者沈迈克（Michael Schoenhals）合作，2006年完成了《毛泽东最后的革命》(Mao’s Last Revolution)一书。这本书至今为止还是国际上通行最广的“文革”通史教科书，在短期之内看不到有其他著作能够代替这部书。
麦克法夸尔曾两次出任哈佛大学费正清中国研究中心主任。麦克法夸尔教授在任内发起专门项目，帮助初到海外的中国人适应美国的生活。对此，薛龙（Ronald Suleski）在《哈佛大学费正清中心五十年史》（The Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University: a Fifty Year History, 1955-2005）一书对此有简明扼要的记载。薛龙曾担任费正清中心的主任助理，这本书系个人著作，但大量访问当事人，广泛使用哈佛大学档案，所以有费正清中心“官方史”之称。这样来说，麦克法夸尔教授以正直和善意帮助中国人的业绩也是“正史有载”的。在访问过哈佛大学的中国学者中，很多人得到他的教育和帮助，有口皆碑，当不为过。
我最后一次见马若德先生是在一年前，我和现任克莱蒙特·麦肯纳学院（Claremont Mckenna College）政治学教授裴敏欣在我家里为他共同组织了一次晚宴。 晚宴上，老先生谈笑风生，他的思维如此敏锐，像我和敏欣在学生时代的状态。 晚宴上，我们回忆了很多我们和马若德先生相处的故事。
马若德先生是一位有着过人记忆力和丰厚学术积淀、思维敏锐、踏实勤奋的优秀前辈学者。在哈佛求学期间，我没有上过马若德先生的课，我和他的紧密接触始于1988年，那年，我担任了他文革历史课的首席教学助理（Head Teaching Assistant）。这门课在哈佛的课程代码是“外国文化48”（Foreign Culture 48）。作为首席教学助理，我不仅仅要负责主持学生的小组讨论，更要承担很多课程相关的行政管理和流程，相当于这个课程的一个“经理”。
现在活跃在美国新闻界的很多知名记者，比如纽约时报的主编，都上过这门课。那年，这门课的学生选课人数超过了当时哈佛最受欢迎的入门经济学课——“经济学10” （Econ 10），达到了1000人左右。在我的记忆里，哈佛很少有课程的选课人数会达到1000人左右。“经济学10”算一个，马若德先生的 “外国文化48”算一个，之后政治学教授迈克尔·桑德尔（Michael J. Sander）的正义课也算一个。
美国作家马克·吐温说过：“历史不会重演，但总会有惊人的相似。”（“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.”）历史的细节对于我们了解当下的世界和当下的中国十分重要。马若德先生是一名杰出的历史学家，他的离世是学术界的一个巨大损失，尤其是研究中国问题的学术圈。像马若德先生这样可以持之以恒，围绕一段特殊历史时期，坚持挖掘历史细节进行分析的传统学者是十分可贵的。
With the passing of Harvard University Professor Emeritus Roderick MacFarquhar, international China Studies has lost a true giant in the field, and the SOAS community has lost an esteemed colleague and cherished friend of many decades. In its obituary, The Telegraph (for whom he was once a staff writer), fittingly described him as “a man of charm, courage, and sincerity… the ultimate internationalist.” Professor MacFarquhar died at 88 in a Cambridge, Massachusetts hospital from congestive heart failure on February 10, 2019.
Ties to SOAS
Rod’s main tie to SOAS was linked to the field’s flagship journal The China Quarterly. Rod was the founding editor of the journal, which was launched with the January-March 1960 issue (as I hold that issue in hand the cover reads succinctly: No. 1, Five Shillings). In his editorial introduction to the inaugural issue, MacFarquhar presciently observed: “The present fact of Chinese power is sufficient justification for launching this journal. We cannot afford to wait for the Chinese to send a Sputnik into orbit before realizing that China would repay closer study.”
The CQ operated for its first eight years, as he later described it, as “somewhat of a guerilla operation,” “located first in an aerie in Langham Place (Summit House) and then in grottier quarters off Oxford Street.” But by 1968 Rod “decided it needed the trappings of solidity which only an academic base could provide. With the projected creation of the Contemporary China Institute (CCI) at the School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS was the obvious place for the journal to go.” The late and eminent SOAS Sinologist Stuart Schram, Professor of Politics with Reference to China in the University of London, was setting up the CCI, and he was welcoming of MacFarquhar’s entreaties. The deal was done and the formal transfer of the journal’s operations to SOAS and the CCI (the forerunner to today’s SOAS China Institute) took place in March 1968.
But editing the CQ was hardly MacFarquhar’s only occupation at the time. From 1955-1961 he was a journalist on staff of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, he maintained an affiliation with St. Antony’s at Oxford (where he commuted regularly), and he ran a monthly China luncheon discussion group at Chatham House (which became the staple for Asia hands in London—drawing together the worlds of academe, media, corporates, diplomats, and the intelligence services). Moreover, in the 1966 general election MacFarquhar successively contested and won the Labour seat from East Ealing. Despite these other demands on his time, he continued to devote the necessary time to editing the CQ. Yet, the multiple pressures on him were building and Rod knew that it was a time for a transition—so he persuaded his friend and fellow Keble College alum David Wilson (Baron Wilson of Tillyorn), to leave the FCO and succeed him as CQ editor.
Thus, although MacFarquhar “midwifed” the CQ transition to SOAS and the CCI at the time, he did not actually himself join the SOAS staff in 1968. However, a decade later in 1978, MacFarquhar did become a SOAS Governor. Rod maintained his ties to SOAS for many years thereafter. Professor Schram was a close colleague and friend, whom Rod brought to Harvard following Stuart’s retirement from SOAS in 1989. He was also a close friend and colleague of Professors Christopher Howe, Hugh Baker, Ken Walker, Robert Ash, Elizabeth Croll, and other China studies luminaries on the SOAS faculty.
When I was fortunately offered the position of Lecturer in Chinese Politics in 1987, Rod was one of the first persons I consulted about the pros and cons of accepting the position and moving to London—he was resolutely encouraging and persuasive, even providing advice on West Hamptead neighborhoods where to search for a flat. It was a decision I will never regret and have Rod to thank in part for it. When Rod subsequently passed through London he would often take me out for a meal and chat. Then in 1991, when I was appointed as the sixth editor of The China Quarterly, I recall a lengthy dinner discussion with Rod at a Soho restaurant, at which he imparted sage advice for navigating in my new position. This included the institutions and personalities in the China field around the world, as the position demands such ties. Rod was very “paternal” when it came to “his baby” The China Quarterly, and unfailingly supportive. In 1995 I decided to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the CQ’s founding and invited the previous five editors (Rod, David Wilson, John Gittings, Dick Wilson, and Brian Hook) to join in a wonderful commemorative event at SOAS. My successor, Julia Strauss, now Professor of Chinese Politics at SOAS and the ninth editor of the CQ, convened a similar event on the special occasion of the 50th anniversary of the CQ. Again, all the former editors converged on Russell Square and Rod flew across the Atlantic from Harvard and contributed an article (“On Liberation”) to the commemorative issue.
Thus, while his only official tie to SOAS was his stint on the Governing Body during the late-1970s, Professor MacFarquhar had longstanding ties to the institution and many who have worked there. If it were not for him, one of the School’s most significant attributes (The China Quarterly) would never have materialized.
An Extraordinary Life & Career
Roderick MacFarquhar was born in Lahore in British colonial India, where his father served in the Colonial Service and the Indian Civil Service. In his teens, young Rod was sent off to Edinburgh, where he attended Fettes College. After graduation he served his national service as a second lieutenant in a tank regiment in Egypt and Jordan. After returning to England he entered Keble College, Oxford where he earned a PPE undergraduate degree in 1953.
At this time in his life he sensed that there were major events and puzzles unfolding in Asia (a.k.a. the Far East), as a result of the communist revolution in China, the outbreak of the Korean War, and unfolding national independence movements in Southeast Asia. But he was particularly interested in the changes emerging in communist China. So off he went to America, enlisting in the newly opened Master’s program in Far Eastern Regional Studies at Harvard, under the direction of Professors John King Fairbank and Edwin O. Reischauer. MacFarquhar completed the M.A. degree in 1955, but Fairbank would become his lifelong mentor and colleague—ultimately asking him to co-edit and take over the seminal Cambridge History of China.
From there, MacFarquhar’s professional life took several twists and turns. He first returned to London and was appointed the China correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, which he did from 1955-1961. He then moved to the BBC’s Panorama television programme for two years from 1963-1965, before entering politics. He stood for election four times, winning twice (1966, 1974) and losing twice (1968, 1979). His time in Parliament included stints as Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Minister of State for the FCO (David Ennals), and member of the Select Committee on Science & Technology. During this busy time in his life, Rod continued to “moonlight” in journalism, as a co-presenter for the BBC World Service’s “24 Hours,” remained involved with Chatham House, and spent time as a visiting senior research fellow at Columbia University in New York (then the leading location for the study of the communist world). Rod’s transatlantic ties were cemented with leading American academics and officials.
MacFarquhar’s orientation increasingly inclined towards academe and his fascination remained with China. Having earned a doctorate from the LSE and having several significant books under his belt by the mid-1980s, he was recruited to join the Harvard faculty as Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Government in 1984. There, he served as Director of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research from 1986-1992 and again from 2005-2006, as well as chairing the Government Department from 1998-2004. MacFarquhar was a highly skilled academic infighter and institution builder. Rod was a real cornerstone at Harvard. He was a regular participant in public lectures, luncheon seminars, and other events. Although he was regularly on campus, and had enormous administrative responsibilities, amazingly he remained extraordinarily productive as a scholar and writer. He single-authored, co-authored, and edited multiple volumes, and wrote frequent articles for the New York Review of Books. His trilogy The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, which chronicled China’s political evolution from 1949-1966, will never be surpassed. His Mao’s Last Revolution (co-authored with Swedish scholar Michael Schoenhals) is similarly definitive. His textbook The Politics of China, now in its third edition, remains the staple in courses on the subject.
MacFarquhar’s scholarship was distinguished by its extraordinary precision and meticulousness. His footnotes were as noteworthy as his texts. He wrote as he spoke—with great precision. He was a riveting speaker, exceptionally articulate and normally speaking without any notes or text (occasionally a rough outline of a few points scribbled on a napkin or slip of paper). This reflected a steel-trap memory and amazing recall. But, both as a writer and a public speaker, he always told and wove together a good story. Politics was similar to Shakespearian theater for him—and he brought all the characters and their plots alive. When it came to studying China he was not a normal Sinologist, never being particularly attracted by the culture (“I was never drawn to Ming vases” he would say). For MacFarquhar, it was the internecine Hobbesian struggles among ruthless Chinese communist leaders that fascinated him the most. The canon of his life’s works are an encyclopedia of these epic struggles. While fascinated by these struggles—or perhaps because of them—he remained unemotional and clinical in his analyses. His broad view of China’s body politic was that it was riddled by a cancer of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and his prognoses followed from his diagnoses, i.e. he was solidly of the view, particularly post-1989, that the CCP’s days were numbered…and he was not afraid to say so. This was not a man afraid to speak truth to power. This standpoint did not endear him to the Chinese party-state, which ambivalently held him at an arms’ length yet permitted him to visit China (something he did not do all that often).
I conclude this memorial essay for my esteemed departed colleague by recalling some of his personal qualities. Rod was extremely erudite, deeply educated and knowledgeable about so many things, and was worldly, charming, gentlemanly, intellectually engaging and probing, a good listener, and possessed of sharp wit and sarcastic humor. He was a devoted husband and father, and a friend to many. He shall be greatly missed by many. All of those in the SOAS community and beyond have lost a rare individual.
 Roderick MacFarquhar, “Editorial,” The China Quarterly, No. 1 (January-March 1960), p. 2.
 Roderick MacFarquhar, “The Founding of The China Quarterly,” No. 143 (September 1995), p. 695.
 The CCI was established with seed funding from the U.S. Ford Foundation (which was providing $30 million in funding to establish numerous China studies centers in the United States—SOAS and the ANU were the only non-American institutions to receive such start-up funding).
 Our respective recollections of our times as editors appeared in issue No. 143 (September 1995)
 The China Quarterly, No. 200 (December 2009).
Professor MacFarquhar was a great figure, perhaps the greatest one, in my intellectual and professional development. When I was an undergraduate wiling away my summer in Asia, I read the first two volumes of Origins. Even then, I was struck by his skillful weaving of participant recollection, party documents, and observations of diplomats into seamless accounts of the typically opaque elite politics of China. Needless to say, that style of writing has become a model in my own works. Most importantly for me, throughout his books, he consistently asked the question “why would a wily survivor of brutal internal party politics make this decision at this juncture?” This has become the guiding question in my own works. I was in intellectual heaven when I got to debate this question weekly with him and other like-minded China scholars in the “Chinese authors” class in graduate school. Scenes of intense discussion still flash before my eyes whenever I see mentions of some of the authors’ we had read in the class—Li Rui, Bo Yibo，and of course Mao himself. I will sorely miss his incisive comments, dry wit, and encouragement, which he continued to provide generously even after I had graduated from Harvard.
Tang Shaojie 唐少杰
Shen Zhihua 沈志华
Wang Haiguang 王海光
Han Gang 韩钢