[...] At least three elements unite the advocates of the New Left. First of all, they subject the neo-liberalism and authoritarianism of the Chinese state to concerted criticism. In other words, they believe that these are two aspects of the same phenomenon. Chinese liberals, who have been very powerful since the 1980s (and the ‘new Enlightenment’ following the country’s opening up by Deng), criticize the absence of civil and political liberties in the country, but support the neo-liberal reforms. They simply suggest extending economic liberalism to the political field. The New Left is opposed to this conception. In its view, authoritarianism and the neo-liberal reforms form a system. Those reforms are not the consequence of increased freedom in the economy, attributable to the state’s withdrawal and the emergence of an autonomous civil society. They have been implemented in authoritarian fashion by the state. Authoritarianism and neo-liberalism are therefore not antithetical. Quite the reverse. In China the state and civil society interpenetrate in many ways, to the extent that making a clear distinction between them is difficult.