China In the 21st Century

What Everyone Needs to Know

The need to understand this global giant has never been more pressing: China is constantly in the news, yet conflicting impressions abound. Within one generation, China has transformed from an impoverished, repressive state into an economic and political powerhouse. In China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jeffrey Wasserstrom provides cogent answers to the most urgent questions regarding the newest superpower and offers a framework for understanding its meteoric rise. Focusing his answers through the historical legacies—Western and Japanese imperialism, the Mao era, and the massacre near Tiananmen Square—that largely define China’s present-day trajectory, Wasserstrom introduces readers to the Chinese Communist Party, the building boom in Shanghai, and the environmental fall-out of rapid Chinese industrialization. He also explains unique aspects of Chinese culture such as the one-child policy, and provides insight into how Chinese view Americans. Wasserstrom reveals that China today shares many traits with other industrialized nations during their periods of development, in particular the United States during its rapid industrialization in the 19th century. Finally, he provides guidance on the ways we can expect China to act in the future vis-a-vis the United States, Russia, India, and its East Asian neighbors.  —Oxford University Press


Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Oxford University Press
March 2010

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is a Professor of Chinese History at UC Irvine, and co-editor of the forthcoming Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land (to be published in September 2012 by the University of California Press).  He is a fellow of the Asia Society, and the Asia Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. A co-founder of the “China Beat” blog, he has contributed to a wide range of general interest periodicals, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Times Literary Supplement (London). He is currently writing a book about the Boxer Uprising and the invasion by armies marching under eight different flags that crushed it.