Books

12.30.13

Every Rock a Universe

Jonathan Chaves (Translator)
The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) of China’s Anhui Province have been famous for centuries as a place of scenic beauty and inspiration, and remain a hugely popular tourist destination today. A “golden age” of Yellow Mountains travel came in the seventeenth century, when they became a refuge for loyalists protesting the new Qing Dynasty, among them poet and artist Wang Hongdu (1646–1721/1722), who dedicated himself to traveling to each and every peak and site and recording his impressions. Unfortunately, his resulting masterpiece of Chinese travel writing was not printed until 1775 and has since remained obscure and available only in Chinese. Here Jonathan Chaves presents the first complete translation of Wang’s work in a Western language. Wang’s newly rediscovered verse is also translated, showing him to be one of the most accomplished poets of his day. Introductory essays explore the history of scholarly and religious pilgrimage to the area, and the role of the Yellow Mountains in the great Neo-Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist revivals of the early Qing period, that is, as the center of a yearned-for spiritual and cultural renaissance.—Floating World Editions{chop}

Books

12.17.13

Ping-Pong Diplomacy

Nicholas Griffin
The spring of 1971 heralded the greatest geopolitical realignment in a generation. After twenty-two years of antagonism, China and the United States suddenly moved toward a détente—achieved not by politicians but by Ping-Pong players. The Western press delighted in the absurdity of the moment and branded it “Ping-Pong Diplomacy.” But for the Chinese, Ping-Pong was always political, a strategic cog in Mao Zedong’s foreign policy. Nicholas Griffin proves that the organized game, from its first breath, was tied to Communism thanks to its founder, Ivor Montagu, son of a wealthy English baron and spy for the Soviet Union. Ping-Pong Diplomacy traces a crucial inter­section of sports and society. Griffin tells the strange and tragic story of how the game was manipulated at the highest levels; how the Chinese government helped cover up the death of 36 million peasants by holding the World Table Tennis Championships during the Great Famine; how championship players were driven to their deaths during the Cultural Revolution; and, finally, how the survivors were reconvened in 1971 and ordered to reach out to their American counterparts. Through a cast of eccentric characters, from spies to hippies and Ping-Pong-obsessed generals to atom-bomb survivors, Griffin explores how a neglected sport was used to help realign the balance of worldwide power.  —Scribner{chop}

Books

12.03.13

Junkyard Planet

Adam Minter
When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter—veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner—travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet’s worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who’ve figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how “going green” usually means making money—and why that’s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren’t pretty. With unmatched access to and insight on the junk trade, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America’s recyclables and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of consumption, innovation, and the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don’t. Junkyard Planet reveals that we might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.—Bloomsbury Press{chop}

Books

11.20.13

Empress Dowager Cixi

Jung Chang
Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908) is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for decades and brought a medieval empire into the modern age. At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor’s numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China—behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male. In this groundbreaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, the telegraph, and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry. It was she who abolished gruesome punishments like “death by a thousand cuts” and put an end to foot-binding. She inaugurated women’s liberation and embarked on the path to introduce parliamentary elections to China. Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a diehard conservative and cruel despot.Based on newly available, mostly Chinese, historical documents such as court records, official and private correspondence, diaries and eyewitness accounts, this biography will revolutionize historical thinking about a crucial period in China’s—and the world’s—history. Packed with drama, fast paced and gripping, it is both a panoramic depiction of the birth of modern China and an intimate portrait of a woman: as the concubine to a monarch, as the absolute ruler of a third of the world’s population, and as a unique stateswoman. —Knopf{chop}

Books

11.06.13

The Birth of Chinese Feminism

Edited by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl, Dorothy Y. Ko
He-Yin Zhen (ca. 1884-ca.1920) was a theorist who figured centrally in the birth of Chinese feminism. Unlike her contemporaries, she was concerned less with China’s fate as a nation and more with the relationship among patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism, and gender subjugation as global historical problems. This volume, the first translation and study of He-Yin’s work in English, critically reconstructs early twentieth-century Chinese feminist thought in a transnational context by juxtaposing He-Yin Zhen’s writing against works by two better-known male interlocutors of her time.The editors begin with a detailed analysis of He-Yin Zhen’s life and thought. They then present annotated translations of six of her major essays, as well as two foundational tracts by her male contemporaries, Jin Tianhe (1874-1947) and Liang Qichao (1873–1929), to which He-Yin’s work responds and with which it engages. Jin, a poet and educator, and Liang, a philosopher and journalist, understood feminism as a paternalistic cause that liberals like themselves should defend. He-Yin presents an alternative conception that draws upon anarchism and other radical trends. Ahead of her time, He-Yin Zhen complicates conventional accounts of feminism and China’s history, offering original perspectives on sex, gender, labor, and power that remain relevant today.  —Columbia University Press{chop}

Books

10.31.13

The China Choice

Hugh White
China is rising. But how should the West—and the United States in particular—respond? This could be the key geopolitical question of the twenty-first century, according to strategic expert Hugh White, with huge implications for the future security and prosperity of the West as a whole. The China Choice confronts this fundamental question, considering the options for the Asian century ahead.As China’s economy grows to become the world’s largest, the U.S. has three choices: it can compete, share power, or concede leadership in Asia. The choice is momentous—as significant for the future as any the U.S. has ever faced. China is already more formidable than any country the U.S. has faced before—and if America does not want to find itself facing China as an enemy, it must accept it as an equal partner. Weighing the huge difficulties of accepting China as an equal with the immense cost and risks of making it an enemy, in the end the choice is simple, even if it is not easy. The U.S. simply must share power with China in Asia. The alternative is too terrible to contemplate.  —Oxford University Press{chop}

Books

10.28.13

In Line Behind a Billion People

Damien Ma, William Adams
Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having thirty-five years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity.{node, 4231}Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy—and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose”—but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear—whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen. —Pearson{chop}

Books

10.24.13

The Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon

Liz Carter and Anonymous, Edited by Anne Henochowicz
Over the years, China Digital Times (CDT) has collected hundreds of words and turns of phrase invented by China’s citizens of the Internet, its “netizenry.” Playfully evading online censors, netizens have created a world of “grass-mud horses” and “river crabs,” forever locked in battle in the “Mahler Desert.” CDT’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon is a collection of politically-charged terms which represent netizen resistance discourse. This eBook includes a selection of “classic” terms which have endured beyond the events which generated them. They are arranged by category, and indices in alphabetical order by both English and pinyin are included. This is the netizen language you need to know to understand China’s Internet. —China Digital Times{chop} 

Books

10.02.13

The Tragedy of Liberation

Frank Dikötter
“The Chinese Communist party refers to its victory in 1949 as a ‘liberation.’ In China the story of liberation and the revolution that followed is not one of peace, liberty, and justice. It is first and foremost a story of calculated terror and systematic violence.” So begins Frank Dikötter’s stunning and revelatory chronicle of Mao Zedong’s ascension and campaign to transform the Chinese into what the party called New People. Following the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, after a bloody civil war, Mao hoisted the red flag over Beijing’s Forbidden City, and the world watched as the Communist revolution began to wash away the old order. Due to the secrecy surrounding the country’s records, little has been known before now about the eight years that followed, preceding the massive famine and Great Leap Forward. Drawing on hundreds of previously classified documents, secret police reports, unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches, eyewitness accounts of those who survived, and more, The Tragedy of Liberation bears witness to a shocking, largely untold history. Interweaving stories of ordinary citizens with tales of the brutal politics of Mao’s court, Frank Dikötter illuminates those who shaped the “liberation” and the horrific policies they implemented in the name of progress. People of all walks of life were caught up in the tragedy that unfolded, and whether or not they supported the revolution, all of them were asked to write confessions, denounce their friends, and answer queries about their political reliability. One victim of thought reform called it a “carefully cultivated Auschwitz of the mind.” Told with great narrative sweep, The Tragedy of Liberation is a powerful and important document giving voice at last to the millions who were lost, and casting new light on the foundations of one of the most powerful regimes of the twenty-first century.  —Bloomsbury Publishing {chop}

Books

09.25.13

Forgotten Ally

Rana Mitter
For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. The war began in China, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, and China eventually became the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West.Rana Mitter focuses his gripping narrative on three towering leaders: Chiang Kai-shek, the politically gifted but tragically flawed head of China’s Nationalist government; Mao Zedong, the Communists’ fiery ideological stalwart, seen here at the beginning of his epochal career; and the lesser-known Wang Jingwei, who collaborated with the Japanese to form a puppet state in occupied China. Drawing on Chinese archives that have only been unsealed in the past ten years, he brings to vivid new life such characters as Chiang’s American chief of staff, the unforgettable “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, and such horrific events as the Rape of Nanking and the bombing of China’s wartime capital, Chongqing. Throughout, Forgotten Ally shows how the Chinese people played an essential role in the wider war effort, at great political and personal sacrifice.Forgotten Ally rewrites the entire history of World War II. Yet it also offers surprising insights into contemporary China. No twentieth-century event was as crucial in shaping China’s worldview, and no one can understand China, and its relationship with America today, without this definitive work.—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt {chop}

Books

09.12.13

Blocked on Weibo

Jason Q. Ng
Though often described with foreboding buzzwords such as “The Great Firewall” and the “censorship regime,” Internet regulation in China is rarely either obvious or straightforward. This was the  inspiration for China specialist Jason Q. Ng to write an innovative computer script that would make it possible to deduce just which  terms are  suppressed on  China’s most important social media site, Sina Weibo. The  remarkable and groundbreaking result is Blocked on Weibo, which began as a highly  praised blog and has been expanded here  to list over 150 forbidden keywords, as well as offer possible explanations why the Chinese government would find these terms sensitive.As Ng explains, Weibo (roughly the equivalent of Twitter), with over 500 million registered accounts, censors hundreds of words and phrases, ranging from fairly obvious terms, including “tank” (a reference to the “Tank Man” who stared down the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square) and  the names of top government officials (if they can’t be found online, they can’t be criticized), to deeply obscure references, including “hairy bacon” (a coded insult referring to Mao’s embalmed body).With dozens of phrases that could get a Chinese Internet user invited  to the  local  police station “for a cup of tea” (a euphemism for being detained by the  authorities), Blocked  on Weibo offers an invaluable guide to sensitive topics in modern-day China as well as a fascinating tour of recent Chinese history.  —The New Press{chop}

Books

09.03.13

China Across the Divide

Rosemary Foot (Editor)
Understanding China’s world role has become one of the crucial intellectual challenges of the 21st century. This book explores this topic through the adoption of three conceptual approaches that help to uncover some of the key complex and simultaneous interactions between the global and domestic forces that determine China’s external behavior. A central assumption of this study is that it is unhelpful to treat the global and domestic levels as separate categories of analysis and that the study of China can be enriched by a recognition of the interpenetrated nature of the domestic and international spheres.The first section of the book concentrates on the role of ideas. It examines Chinese conceptions, at both the elite and mass levels, of the country’s status and role in global politics, and how these conceptions can influence and frame policies. The second section provides evidence of Chinese societal involvement in transnational processes that are simultaneously transforming China as well as other parts of the world, often in unintended ways. The third section assesses the impact of globalization on China in issue areas that are central to global order, and outlines the domestic responses—from resistance to embrace—that it generates. This study adopts a multidisciplinary approach involving scholars in international relations, history, social anthropology, and area studies. It offers a sophisticated understanding of Chinese thought and behavior and illustrates the impact that China’s re-emergence is having on 21st century global order.  —Oxford University Press {chop}

Books

08.27.13

Ancestral Intelligence

Vera Schwarcz
In Ancestral Intelligence, Vera Schwarcz has added a forceful and fascinating work to her ever-growing list of publications depicting the cultural landscape of contemporary China. Here, she has created stunning “renditions” of poems by a mid-20th century dissident poet, Chen Yinke, and has added a group of her own poems in harmony with Chen Yinke’s. Like his, her poems show a degradation of culture and humanity, in this case through comparison of classic and modern Chinese logographs.  —Antrim House {chop}

Books

08.05.13

China Threat?

Lionel Vairon
From the long-term threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and China, to the disappearance of the African elephant due to Chinese demand for ivory, each week brings a new round of critique and denunciation of the risks China poses to the stability of the entire planet. While critics raise a certain number of fundamental questions that bear asking about this nascent superpower, the answers put forth are usually based on ideological or economic considerations. Lionel Vairon systematically challenges these views in this first English language edition of China Threat?With an incisive review of China’s economic strategy, deployment of resources, national defence, political reform, ethnicity and religion, terrorism, and developments in human rights, Vairon amply demonstrates that China poses no threat to the world. On the contrary, China Threat? shows that China’s peaceful rise should be a matter of positive news across the globe.  —CN Times Books {chop}

Books

07.31.13

Pacific Crossing

Elizabeth Sinn
During the nineteenth century, tens of thousands of Chinese men and women crossed the Pacific to work, trade, and settle in California. Drawn by the gold rush, they brought with them skills and goods and a view of the world that, though still Chinese, was transformed by their long journeys back and forth. They in turn transformed Hong Kong, their main point of embarkation, from a struggling, infant colony into a prosperous, international port and the cultural center of a far-ranging Chinese diaspora.Making use of extensive research in archives around the world, Pacific Crossing charts the rise of Chinese Gold Mountain firms engaged in all kinds of trans-Pacific trade, especially the lucrative export of prepared opium and other luxury goods. Challenging the traditional view that this migration was primarily a “coolie trade,” Elizabeth Sinn uncovers leadership and agency among the many Chinese who made the crossing. In presenting Hong Kong as an “in-between place” of repeated journeys and continuous movement, Sinn also offers a fresh view of the British colony and a new paradigm for migration studies.   —Hong Kong University Press {chop}

Books

07.25.13

On the Noodle Road

Jen Lin-Liu
Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she’d lived for more than a decade. Who really invented the noodle? she wondered, like many before her. But also: How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe—and what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations? With her new husband’s blessing, she set out to discover the connections, both historical and personal, eating a path through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean.The journey takes Lin-Liu into the private kitchens where the headscarves come off and women not only knead and simmer but also confess and confide. The thin rounds of dough stuffed with meat that are dumplings in Beijing evolve into manti in Turkey—their tiny size the measure of a bride’s worth—and end as tortellini in Italy. And as she stirs and samples, listening to the women talk about their lives and longings, Lin-Liu gains a new appreciation of her own marriage, learning to savor the sweetness of love freely chosen. —Riverhead Books{node, 3722, 4}

Books

07.10.13

For a Song and a Hundred Songs

Liao Yiwu. Translated by Wenguang Huang
In June 1989, news of the Tiananmen Square protests and its bloody resolution reverberated throughout the world. A young poet named Liao Yiwu, who had until then led an apolitical bohemian existence, found his voice in that moment. Like the solitary man who stood firmly in front of a line of tanks, Liao proclaimed his outrage—and his words would be his weapon. For a Song and a Hundred Songs captures the four brutal years Liao spent in jail for writing the incendiary poem “Massacre.” Through the power and beauty of his prose, he reveals the bleak reality of crowded Chinese prisons—the harassment from guards and fellow prisoners, the torture, the conflicts among human beings in close confinement, and the boredom of everyday life. But even in his darkest hours, Liao manages to unearth the fundamental humanity in his cell mates: he writes of how they listen with rapt attention to each other’s stories of criminal endeavors gone wrong and of how one night, ravenous with hunger, they dream up an “imaginary feast,” with each inmate trying to one-up the next by describing a more elaborate dish. In this important book, Liao presents a stark and devastating portrait of a nation in flux, exposing a side of China that outsiders rarely get to see. In the wake of 2011’s Arab Spring, the world has witnessed for a second time China’s crackdown on those citizens who would speak their mind, like artist Ai Weiwei and legal activist Chen Guangcheng. Liao stands squarely among them and gives voice to not only his own story, but to the stories of those individuals who can no longer speak for themselves. For a Song and a Hundred Songs bears witness to history and will forever change the way you view the rising superpower of China.   —New Harvest

Books

07.09.13

Legal Orientalism

Teemu Ruskola
Since the Cold War ended, China has become a global symbol of disregard for human rights, while the United States has positioned itself as the world’s chief exporter of the rule of law. How did lawlessness become an axiom about Chineseness rather than a fact needing to be verified empirically, and how did the United States assume the mantle of law’s universal appeal? In a series of wide-ranging inquiries, Teemu Ruskola investigates the history of “legal Orientalism,” a set of globally circulating narratives about what law is and who has it. For example, why is China said not to have a history of corporate law, as a way of explaining its “failure” to develop capitalism on its own? Ruskola shows how a European tradition of philosophical prejudices about Chinese law developed into a distinctively American ideology of empire, influential to this day.The first Sino–U.S. treaty in 1844 authorized the extraterritorial application of American law in a putatively lawless China. A kind of legal imperialism, this practice long predated U.S. territorial colonialism after the Spanish–American War in 1898, and found its fullest expression in an American district court’s jurisdiction over the “District of China.” With urgent contemporary implications, legal Orientalism lives on in the enduring damage wrought on the U.S. Constitution by late-nineteenth-century anti-Chinese immigration laws, and in the self-Orientalizing reforms of Chinese law today. In the global politics of trade and human rights, legal Orientalism continues to shape modern subjectivities, institutions, and geopolitics in powerful and unacknowledged ways.     —Harvard University Press

Books

07.02.13

Wealth and Power

Orville Schell and John Delury
Through a series of lively and absorbing portraits of iconic modern Chinese leaders and thinkers, two of today’s foremost specialists on China provide a panoramic narrative of this country’s rise to preeminence that is at once analytical and personal. How did a nation, after a long and painful period of dynastic decline, intellectual upheaval, foreign occupation, civil war, and revolution, manage to burst forth onto the world stage with such an impressive run of hyperdevelopment and wealth creation—culminating in the extraordinary dynamism of China today?Wealth and Power answers this question by examining the lives of eleven influential officials, writers, activists, and leaders whose contributions helped create modern China. This fascinating survey begins in the lead-up to the first Opium War with Wei Yuan, the nineteenth-century scholar and reformer who was one of the first to urge China to borrow ideas from the West. It concludes in our time with human-rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken opponent of single-party rule. Along the way, we meet such titans of Chinese history as the Empress Dowager Cixi, public intellectuals Feng Guifen, Liang Qichao, and Chen Duxiu, Nationalist stalwarts Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Zhu Rongji.{node, 3592}The common goal that unites all of these disparate figures is their determined pursuit of fuqiang, “wealth and power.” This abiding quest for a restoration of national greatness in the face of a “century of humiliation” at the hands of the Great Powers came to define the modern Chinese character. It’s what drove both Mao and Deng to embark on root-and-branch transformations of Chinese society, first by means of Marxism-Leninism, then by authoritarian capitalism. And this determined quest remains the key to understanding many of China’s actions today.By unwrapping the intellectual antecedents of today’s resurgent China, Orville Schell and John Delury supply much-needed insight into the country’s tortured progression from nineteenth-century decline to twenty-first-century boom. By looking backward into the past to understand forces at work for hundreds of years, they help us understand China today and the future that this singular country is helping shape for all of us. —Random House

Books

06.25.13

Civil Society in China

Karla W. Simon
This is the definitive book on the legal and fiscal framework for civil society organizations (CSOs) in China from earliest times to the present day. Civil Society in China traces the ways in which laws and regulations have shaped civil society over the 5,000 years of China’s history and looks at ways in which social and economic history have affected the legal changes that have occurred over the millennia.This book provides an historical and current analysis of the legal framework for civil society and citizen participation in China, focusing not merely on legal analysis, but also on the ways in which the legal framework influenced and was influenced in turn by social and economic developments. The principal emphasis is on ways in which the Chinese people—as opposed to high-ranking officials or cadres—have been able to play a part in the social and economic development of China through the associations in which they participateCivil Society in China sums up this rather complex journey through Chinese legal, social, and political history by assessing the ways in which social, economic, and legal system reforms in today’s China are bound to have an impact on civil society. The changes that have occurred in China’s civil society since the late 1980’s and, most especially, since the late 1990’s, are nothing short of remarkable. This volume is an essential guide for lawyers and scholars seeking an in depth understanding of social life in China written by one of its leading experts. —Oxford University Press

Books

06.21.13

Why Has China Grown So Fast For So Long?

Khalid Malik
For analysts China presents a conundrum. It is clear that China has made rapid progress, and the landscape of the world is changing due to China’s unique position. Yet for decades, many have questioned this phenomenon, showing concern about cooked data, asset bubbles about to burst, and so on. Yet the Chinese economy has kept growing at a blistering pace, 9-10 per cent annually, and more at times, over a span of almost three decades.Analysing the last 30 years of reforms, this book helps us understand the Chinese growth success, the factors that made this possible, and the lessons that can be distilled from this experience for other developing countries. Arguing that traditional explanations are inadequate, the author applies the “development as transformation” thesis to provide answers to a wide range of questions: Why has China grown so rapidly over such a long time, and what are the country’s prospects in the future? Will it keep growing? Will it in the next few decades actually overtake the US as the largest economy in the world, as some observers have been forecasting, or will it implode as the many contradictions in the economy and society grind it to a halt? This is a unique book in that it is based on years of close interaction with the Chinese leadership, institutions, and society, as well as international organizations in the development community, when the author was posted in China.   —Oxford University Press

Books

06.19.13

Confucianism as a World Religion

Anna Sun
Is Confucianism a religion? If so, why do most Chinese think it isn’t? From ancient Confucian temples, to nineteenth-century archives, to the testimony of people interviewed by the author throughout China over a period of more than a decade, this book traces the birth and growth of the idea of Confucianism as a world religion.The book begins at Oxford, in the late nineteenth century, when Friedrich Max Müller and James Legge classified Confucianism as a world religion in the new discourse of “world religions” and the emerging discipline of comparative religion. Anna Sun shows how that decisive moment continues to influence the understanding of Confucianism in the contemporary world, not only in the West but also in China, where the politics of Confucianism have become important to the present regime in a time of transition. Contested histories of Confucianism are vital signs of social and political change.Sun also examines the revival of Confucianism in China today and the social significance of the ritual practice of Confucian temples. While the Chinese government turns to Confucianism to justify its political agenda, Confucian activists have started a movement to turn Confucianism into a religion. Confucianism as a world religion might have begun as a scholarly construction, but are we witnessing its transformation into a social and political reality?   —Princeton University Press

Books

06.12.13

Cool War

Noah Feldman
The Cold War seemingly ended in a decisive victory for the West. But now, Noah Feldman argues, we are entering an era of renewed global struggle: the era of Cool War. Just as the Cold War matched the planet’s reigning superpowers in a contest for geopolitical supremacy, so this new age will pit the United States against a rising China in a contest for dominance, alliances, and resources. Already visible in Asia, the conflict will extend to the Middle East (U.S.-backed Israel versus Chinese-backed Iran), Africa, and beyond.   Yet this Cool War differs fundamentally from the zero-sum showdowns of the past: The world’s major power and its leading challenger are economically interdependent to an unprecedented degree. Exports to the U.S. account for nearly a quarter of Chinese trade, while the Chinese government holds 8 percent of America’s outstanding debt. This positive-sum interdependence has profound implications for nations, corporations, and international institutions. It makes what looked to be a classic contest between two great powers into something much more complex, contradictory, and badly in need of the shrewd and carefully reasoned analysis that Feldman provides.  The U.S. and China may be divided by political culture and belief, but they are also bound together by mutual self-interest. Cool War makes the case for competitive cooperation as the only way forward that can preserve the peace and make winners out of both sides.   —Random House

Books

06.10.13

Anyuan

Elizabeth J. Perry
How do we explain the surprising trajectory of the Chinese Communist revolution? Why has it taken such a different route from its Russian prototype? An answer, Elizabeth Perry suggests, lies in the Chinese Communists’ creative development and deployment of cultural resources – during their revolutionary rise to power and afterwards. Skillful “cultural positioning” and “cultural patronage,” on the part of Mao Zedong, his comrades and successors, helped to construct a polity in which a once alien Communist system came to be accepted as familiarly “Chinese.” Perry traces this process through a case study of the Anyuan coal mine, a place where Mao and other early leaders of the Chinese Communist Party mobilized an influential labor movement at the beginning of their revolution, and whose history later became a touchstone of “political correctness” in the People’s Republic of China. Once known as “China’s Little Moscow,” Anyuan came over time to symbolize a distinctively Chinese revolutionary tradition. Yet the meanings of that tradition remain highly contested, as contemporary Chinese debate their revolutionary past in search of a new political future.—University of California Press

Books

06.08.13

China: Portrait of a People

Tom Carter
From the subtropical jungles of Yunnan to the frozen wastes of Heilongjiang; across the scalding deserts of Xinjiang and beneath Hong Kong’s neon blur.  Tramping through China by train, bus, boat, motorcycle, mule or hitching on the back of anything that moved.  On a budget so scant that he drew sympathetic stares from peasants. Backpacking photographer Tom Carter somehow succeeded in circumnavigating over 35,000 miles (56,000 kilometers) across all 33 provinces in China during a 2-year period, the first foreigner on record ever to do so.What Carter found along the way, and what his photographs ultimately reveal, is that China is not just one place, one people, but 33 distinct geographical regions populated by 56 different ethnicities, each with their own languages, customs and lifestyles.Despite increased tourism and surging foreign investment, the cultural distances between China and the West remain as vast as the oceans that separate them. CHINA: Portrait of a People was published as a means to visually introduce China to the world by providing a glimpse into the daily lives of the ordinary people who don’t make international headlines, yet whom are invariably the heart and soul of this country. —Blacksmith Books, Hong Kong

Books

06.04.13

Strange Stones

Peter Hessler
During the past decade, Peter Hessler has persistently illuminated worlds both foreign and familiar—ranging from China, where he served as The New Yorker’s correspondent from 2000 to 2007, to southwestern Colorado, where he lived for four years. Strange Stones is an engaging, thought-provoking collection of Hessler’s best pieces, showcasing his range as a storyteller and his gift for writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider. From a taste test between two rat restaurants in South China to a profile of Yao Ming to the moving story of a small-town pharmacist, these pieces are bound by subtle but meaningful ideas: the strength of local traditions, the surprising overlap between cultures, and the powerful lessons drawn from individuals who straddle different worlds.Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of Peter Hessler’s work. —Harper Collins{node, 3320, 4}

Books

05.28.13

Stumbling Giant

Timothy Beardson
While dozens of recent books and articles have predicted the near-certainty of China’s rise to global supremacy, this book boldly counters such widely-held assumptions. Timothy Beardson brings to light the daunting array of challenges that today confront China, as well as the inadequacy of the policy responses. Threats to China come on many fronts, Beardson shows, and by their number and sheer weight these problems will thwart any ambition to become the world’s “Number One Power.”Drawing on extensive research and experience living and working in Asia over the last 35 years, the author spells out China’s situation: an inexorable demographic future of a shrinking labor force, relentless aging, extreme gender disparity, and even a falling population. Also, the nation faces social instability, a devastated environment, a predominantly low-tech economy with inadequate innovation, the absence of an effective welfare safety net, an ossified governance structure, and radical Islam lurking at the borders. Beardson’s nuanced, first-hand look at China acknowledges its historic achievements while tempering predictions of its imminent hegemony with a no-nonsense dose of reality. —Yale University Press

Books

05.15.13

China Dreams

William A. Callahan
After celebrating their country’s three decades of fantastic economic success, many Chinese now are asking, “What comes next?” How can China convert its growing economic power into political and cultural influence around the globe? William A. Callahan's China Dreams gives voice to China’s many different futures by exploring the grand aspirations and deep anxieties of a broad group of public intellectuals. Stepping outside the narrow politics of officials vs. dissidents, Callahan examines what a third group—“citizen intellectuals”—think about China’s future. China Dreams eavesdrops on fascinating conversations between officials, scholars, soldiers, bloggers, novelists, filmmakers and artists to see how they describe China’s different political, strategic, economic, social and cultural futures. Callahan also examines how the P.R.C.’s new generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings is creatively questioning “The China Model” of economic development. The personal stories of these citizen intellectuals illustrate China’s zeitgeist and a complicated mix of hopes and fears about “The Chinese Century,” providing a clearer sense of how the PRC’s dramatic economic and cultural transitions will affect the rest of the world. China Dreams explores the transnational connections between American and Chinese people, providing a new approach to Sino-American relations. While many assume that 21st century global politics will be a battle of Confucian China vs. the democratic west, Callahan weaves Chinese and American ideals together to describe a new “Chimerican dream.”  —Oxford University Press

Books

05.09.13

Lao She in London

Anne Witchard
Lao She remains revered as one of China’s great modern writers. His life and work have been the subject of volumes of critique, analysis and study. However, the four years the young aspiring writer spent in London between 1924 and 1929 have largely been overlooked. Dr. Anne Witchard, a specialist in the modernist milieu of London between the wars, reveals Lao She’s encounter with British high modernism and literature from Dickens to Conrad to Joyce. Lao She arrived from his native Peking to the whirl of London’s West End scene—Bloomsburyites, Vorticists, avant-gardists of every stripe, Ezra Pound and the cabaret at the Cave of The Golden Calf. Immersed in the West End 1920s world of risqué flappers, the tabloid sensation of England’s “most infamous Chinaman Brilliant Chang” and Anna May Wong’s scandalous film Piccadilly, simultaneously Lao She spent time in the notorious and much sensationalised East End Chinatown of Limehouse. Out of his experiences came his great novel of London Chinese life and tribulations—Mr. Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London. However, as Witchard reveals, Lao She’s London years affected his writing and ultimately the course of Chinese modernism in far more profound ways. —Hong Kong University Press

Books

05.03.13

China’s Superbank

Henry Sanderson, Michael Forsythe
Anyone wanting a primer on the secret of China’s economic success need look no further than China Development Bank (CDB)—which has displaced the World Bank as the world’s biggest development bank, lending billions to countries around the globe to further Chinese policy goals. In China’s Superbank, Bloomberg authors Michael Forsythe and Henry Sanderson outline how the bank is at the center of China’s domestic economic growth and how it is helping to expand China’s influence in strategically important overseas markets.100 percent owned by the Chinese government, the CDB holds the key to understanding the inner workings of China’s state-led economic development model, and its most glaring flaws. The bank is at the center of the country’s efforts to build a world-class network of highways, railroads, and power grids, pioneering a lending scheme to local governments that threatens to spawn trillions of yuan in bad loans. It is doling out credit lines by the billions to Chinese solar and wind power makers, threatening to bury global competitors with a flood of cheap products. Another $45 billion in credit has been given to the country’s two biggest telecom equipment makers who are using the money to win contracts around the globe, helping fulfill the goal of China’s leaders for its leading companies to “go global.”Bringing the story of China Development Bank to life by crisscrossing China to investigate the quality of its loans, China’s Superbank travels the globe, from Africa, where its China-Africa fund is displacing Western lenders in a battle for influence, to the oil fields of Venezuela. As China’s influence continues to grow around the world, many people are asking how far it will extend. China’s Superbank addresses these vital questions, looking at the institution at the heart of this growth.  —Bloomberg Press 

Books

05.02.13

China and the Environment

Sam Geall
Sixteen of the world’s twenty most polluted cities are in China. A serious water pollution incident occurs once every two-to-three days. China’s breakneck growth causes great concern about its global environmental impacts, as others look to China as a source for possible future solutions to climate change. But how are Chinese people really coming to grips with environmental problems? This book provides access to otherwise unknown stories of environmental activism and forms the first real-life account of China and its environmental tensions. China and the Environment provides a unique report on the experiences of participatory politics that have emerged in response to environmental problems, rather than focusing only on macro-level ecological issues and their elite responses. Featuring previously untranslated short interviews, extracts from reports and other translated primary documents, the authors argue that going green in China isn’t just about carbon targets and energy policy; China’s grassroots green defenders are helping to change the country for the better. —Zed Books

Books

04.23.13

Original Copies

Bianca Bosker
A 108-meter high Eiffel Tower rises above Champs Elysées Square in Hangzhou. A Chengdu residential complex for 200,000 recreates Dorchester, England. An ersatz Queen’s Guard patrols Shanghai’s Thames Town, where pubs and statues of Winston Churchill abound. Gleaming replicas of the White House dot Chinese cities from Fuyang to Shenzhen. These examples are but a sampling of China’s most popular and startling architectural movement: the construction of monumental themed communities that replicate towns and cities in the West.Original Copies presents the first definitive chronicle of this remarkable phenomenon in which entire townships appear to have been airlifted from their historic and geographic foundations in Europe and the Americas, and spot-welded to Chinese cities. These copycat constructions are not theme parks but thriving communities where Chinese families raise children, cook dinners, and simulate the experiences of a pseudo-Orange County or Oxford.In recounting the untold and evolving story of China’s predilection for replicating the greatest architectural hits of the West, Bianca Bosker explores what this unprecedented experiment in “duplitecture” implies for the social, political, architectural, and commercial landscape of contemporary China. With her lively, authoritative narrative, the author shows us how, in subtle but important ways, these homes and public spaces shape the behavior of their residents, as they reflect the achievements, dreams, and anxieties of those who inhabit them, as well as those of their developers and designers. — University of Hawai‘i Press{chop}{node, 3673, 4}

Books

04.19.13

The Power of the Internet in China

Guobin Yang
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has revolutionized popular expression in China, enabling users to organize, protest, and influence public opinion in unprecedented ways. Guobin Yang’s pioneering study maps an innovative range of contentious forms and practices linked to Chinese cyberspace, delineating a nuanced and dynamic image of the Chinese Internet as an arena for creativity, community, conflict, and control. Like many other contemporary protest forms in China and the world, Yang argues, Chinese online activism derives its methods and vitality from multiple and intersecting forces, and state efforts to constrain it have only led to more creative acts of subversion. Transnationalism and the tradition of protest in China’s incipient civil society provide cultural and social resources to online activism. Even Internet businesses have encouraged contentious activities, generating an unusual synergy between commerce and activism. Yang’s book weaves these strands together to create a vivid story of immense social change, indicating a new era of informational politics.              —Columbia University Press

Books

04.17.13

A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel

Pin Ho, Wenguang Huang
The downfall of Bo Xilai in China was more than a darkly thrilling mystery. It revealed a cataclysmic internal power struggle between Communist Party factions, one that reached all the way to China’s new president Xi Jinping.The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family—the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood; Bo’s secret lovers; the secret maneuverings of Bo’s supporters; the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife—was just the first rumble of a seismic power struggle that continues to rock the very foundation of China’s all-powerful Communist Party. By the time it is over, the machinations in Beijing and throughout the country that began with Bo’s fall could affect China’s economic development and disrupt the world’s political and economic order.—PublicAffairs

Books

04.12.13

Lin Shu, Inc.

Michael Gibbs Hill
How could a writer who knew no foreign languages call himself a translator? How, too, did he become a major commercial success, churning out nearly 200 translations over twenty years? Lin Shu, Inc. crosses the fields of literary studies, intellectual history, and print culture, offering new ways to understand the stakes of translation in China and beyond. With rich detail and lively prose, Michael Gibbs Hill shows how Lin Shu (1852-1924) rose from obscurity to become China’s leading translator of Western fiction at the beginning of the twentieth century. Well before Ezra Pound’s and Bertolt Brecht’s “inventions” of China revolutionized poetry and theater, Lin Shu and his assistants—who did, in fact, know languages like English and French—had already given many Chinese readers their first taste of fiction from the United States, France, and England. After passing through Lin Shu’s “factory of writing,” classic novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Oliver Twist spoke with new meaning for audiences concerned with the tumultuous social and political change facing China. Leveraging his success as a translator of foreign books, Lin Shu quickly became an authority on traditional Chinese culture who upheld the classical language as a cornerstone of Chinese national identity. Eventually, younger intellectuals—who had grown up reading his translations—turned on Lin Shu and tarred him as a symbol of backward conservatism. Ultimately, Lin’s defeat and downfall became just as significant as his rise to fame in defining the work of the intellectual in modern China. —Oxford University Press

Books

04.03.13

From the Dragon’s Mouth

Ana Fuentes
From The Dragon’s Mouth: Ten True Stories that Unveil the Real China is an exquisitely intimate look into the China of the twenty-first century as seen through the eyes of its people. This is one of the rare times a book combines the voices of everyday Chinese people from so many different layers of society: a dissident tortured by the police; a young millionaire devoted to nationalism; a peasant-turned-prostitute to pay for the best education for her son; a woman who married her gay friend to escape from social pressure, just like an estimated 16 million other women; a venerated kung fu master unable to train outdoors because of the hazardous pollution; the daughter of two Communist Party officials getting rich coaching Chinese entrepreneurs the ways of Capitalism; among others.   —Penguin{chop}{node, 3048, 4}

Books

03.29.13

The Little Red Guard

Wenguang Huang
When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xi’an, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huang’s grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night. Over the next fifteen years, the whole family was consumed with planning Grandma’s burial, a regular source of friction and contention, with the constant risk of being caught by the authorities. Many years after her death, the family’s memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition. —Riverhead Books

Books

03.28.13

China Goes Global

David Shambaugh
Most global citizens are well aware of the explosive growth of the Chinese economy. Indeed, China has famously become the “workshop of the world.” Yet, while China watchers have shed much light on the country’s internal dynamics—China’s politics, its vast social changes, and its economic development—few have focused on how this increasingly powerful nation has become more active and assertive throughout the world.In China Goes Global, eminent China scholar David Shambaugh delivers the book that many have been waiting for—a sweeping account of China’s growing prominence on the international stage. Thirty years ago, China’s role in global affairs beyond its immediate East Asian periphery was decidedly minor and it had little geostrategic power. As Shambaugh charts, though, China’s expanding economic power has allowed it to extend its reach virtually everywhere—from mineral mines in Africa, to currency markets in the West, to oil fields in the Middle East, to agribusiness in Latin America, to the factories of East Asia. Shambaugh offers an enlightening look into the manifestations of China’s global presence: its extensive commercial footprint, its growing military power, its increasing cultural influence or “soft power,” its diplomatic activity, and its new prominence in global governance institutions.But Shambaugh is no alarmist. In this balanced and well-researched volume, he argues that China’s global presence is more broad than deep and that China still lacks the influence befitting a major world power—what he terms a “partial power.” He draws on his decades of China-watching and his deep knowledge of the subject, and exploits a wide variety of previously untapped sources, to shed valuable light on China’s current and future roles in world affairs.  —Oxford University Press

Books

03.22.13

Pressures and Distortions

Edited by Ned Kaufman
Pressures and Distortions looks at the design, building, and interpretation of cities from the point of view of their residents.The cities chronicled in depth include examples from China (Shanghai and Shenzhen), Latin America (Bogotá and Mexico City), and Indonesia (Banda Aceh). Shorter sections cover Lima and Rio de Janeiro. The authors show how residents respond creatively to environmental disaster, poverty, housing shortages, and surging urban population. They also show how governments, international relief agencies, architects, and planners can shape better urban environments. Throughout, residents present their experiences in their own words and through careful documentation of their living environments.Pressures and Distortions began in 2008 with the Research Program’s international call for proposals. A competitive process selected four teams, with researchers based in Mexico, Colombia, China, Australia, France, and the US. Each team received a research grant from Rafael Viñoly Architects and worked independently.With over 400 pages, Pressures and Distortions contains more than 500 original full-color photographs, plans, and drawings, as well as a DVD with over 100 video and audio recordings from the streets of Bogotá. —Rafael Viñoly Architects PC

Books

03.20.13

Green Innovation in China

Joanna I. Lewis
As the greatest coal-producing and consuming nation in the world, China would seem an unlikely haven for wind power. Yet the country now boasts a world-class industry that promises to make low-carbon technology more affordable and available to all. Conducting an empirical study of China’s remarkable transition and the possibility of replicating their model elsewhere, Joanna I. Lewis adds greater depth to a theoretical understanding of China’s technological innovation systems and its current and future role in a globalized economy. Lewis focuses on China’s specific methods of international technology transfer, its forms of international cooperation and competition, and its implementation of effective policies promoting the development of a home-grown industry. Just a decade ago, China maintained only a handful of operating wind turbines—all imported from Europe and the United States. Today, the country is the largest wind power market in the world, with turbines made almost exclusively in its own factories. Though setbacks are possible, China could one day come to dominate global wind turbine sales, becoming a hub of technological innovation and a major instigator of low-carbon economic change. —Columbia University Press

Books

02.25.13

Star Spangled Security

Harold Brown with Joyce Winslow
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown served during the hottest part of the Cold War when the Soviet Union presented an existential threat to America. In Star Spangled Security, Dr. Brown, one of the most respected wise men of American foreign policy, gives an insider’s view of U.S. national security strategy during the Carter administration, relates lessons learned, and bridges them to current challenges facing America.Brown describes his part in the SALT negotiations, the normalization of relations with China, the Camp David Accords, the development of a new generation of ballistic missiles, and more. Drawing on his earlier years as the director of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, as director of defense research and engineering, as Air Force secretary, and as president of Caltech, Brown uses his hard-won wisdom, especially during the painful Iran hostage crisis, to offer specific recommendations and key questions to ponder as America copes with challenges in a turbulent world.Highly readable, Star Spangled Security is for anyone wishing to better understand the debates about defense and its budget, its effect on the entire economy, and America’s relationship with allies during conflict and peace. Brown’s access to the leading forces in national security over sixty years spans ten presidents, giving the reader entrée into the inner circle of decision makers.Since leaving public office, Brown has served on the boards of directors of a dozen corporations. His unique economic, military, research, university, and government experience—at the top of all institutions he served—makes his a voice well worth heeding. —Brookings Institution Press

Books

02.19.13

Every Grain of Rice

Fuchsia Dunlop
Fuchsia Dunlop trained as a chef in China’s leading Sichuan cooking school and possesses the rare ability to write recipes for authentic Chinese food that you can make at home. Following her two seminal volumes on Sichuan and Hunan cooking, Every Grain of Rice is inspired by the vibrant everyday cooking of southern China, in which vegetables play the starring role, with small portions of meat and fish. Try your hand at stir-fried potato slivers with chili pepper, vegetarian “Gong Bao Chicken,” sour-and-hot mushroom soup, or, if you’re ever in need of a quick fix, Fuchsia’s emergency late-night noodles. Many of the recipes require few ingredients and are ridiculously easy to make. Fuchsia also includes a comprehensive introduction to the key seasonings and techniques of the Chinese kitchen. With stunning photography and clear instructions, this is an essential cookbook for everyone, beginner and connoisseur alike, eager to introduce Chinese dishes into their daily cooking repertoire. —W. W. Norton & Company

Books

02.12.13

Zhao Ziyang and China’s Political Future

Guoguang Wu, Helen Lansdowne (Editors)
What legacies have previous reformers like Zhao Ziyang left to today’s China? Does China have feasible political alternatives to today’s repressive ‘market Leninism’ and corrupt ‘state capitalism’? Does Zhao’s legacy indicate an alternative to the past and for the future?For those who are familiar with the development of Chinese politics since the reform years, Zhao is now widely regarded as a major architect of the nation’s profound transition. His contributions to China’s post-Mao development are rich and multi faceted, including those on rural and urban economic reforms extending to accountable governance, liberal policies concerning domestic affairs and China’s foreign relations.Featuring contributions from leading experts in the field such as Richard Baum and Xiaonong Cheng, this book explores the historical development of China’s political reform issues, and how his political legacies are relevant to China’s political development since the 1980s to the future. Using recently translated recollection articles by veteran reformers who worked with Zhao in the 1980s, like Du Runsheng, An Zhiwen, Li Rui, Bao Tong, Zhao Ziyang and China's Political Future is a valuable contribution for students and researchers interested in the Chinese politics, Asian politics and political development in Asia.—Routledge

Books

01.31.13

Tombstone

Yang Jisheng
An estimated 36 million Chinese men, women, and children starved to death during China’s Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and early ’60s. One of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, the famine is poorly understood, and in China is still euphemistically referred to as the “three years of natural disaster.”As a journalist with privileged access to official and unofficial sources, Yang Jisheng spent twenty years piecing together the events that led to mass nationwide starvation, including the death of his own father. Finding no natural causes, Yang lays the deaths at the feet of China’s totalitarian Communist system and the refusal of officials at every level to value human life over ideology and self-interest.Tombstone is a testament to inhumanity and occasional heroism that pits collective memory against the historical amnesia imposed by those in power. Stunning in scale and arresting in its detailed account of the staggering human cost of this tragedy, Tombstone is written both as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in memory of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the final demise of the totalitarian system. —Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Books

01.24.13

Shangri-La

Michael Yamashita
The legendary Chamagudao, the Tea Horse Road, winds through dizzying mountain passes, across famed rivers like the Mekong and the Yangtze, and past monasteries and meadows in a circuitous route from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in western China to the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. Actually a network of roads, trails, and highways, rather than one distinct route, the Chamagudao once stretched for almost 1400 miles (2350 km)—a conduit along which the historic trade between the mighty Chinese empire and the nomadic Tibetans linked remote villages and ethnic groups. The Chinese military needed strong horses for their wars against Mongol invaders from the north, and the fiercely religious Tibetans desired tea for sacred rituals and sustenance. Once tea was introduced into Tibet around the 10th century, demand for it grew. Tea soon became a staple for Tibetans, especially when combined with their other staple, yak butter. But with Tibet’s extreme temperatures and altitudes, tea cultivation on a large scale was impossible. This set the stage for the tea-horse trade, which, by the 11th century, flourished along the Chamagudao, continuing until the 1950s. But getting these prized commodities to their growing markets was no easy feat. To transport the tea over the mountains meant many months of hard and dangerous travel for the hundreds of porters.Today, as Chinese culture merges with and even absorbs Tibetan traditions, the Tea Horse Road is a relic of a vastly different time. The Chinese are rapidly paving dirt roads to make highways for cars and trucks. Soon there will be little evidence of this once vital trade route. Though horses are no longer a military imperative for the Chinese army, Tibet has a new commodity that is in much demand in China. A homely caterpillar infected by a parasitic fungus has replaced the horse trade in Tibet. The yartsa gombu is prized for its medicinal qualities. Now Tibetans nomads drive Land Cruisers and motorcycles instead of horses, thanks to the profits they make collecting and selling the miracle mushroom worth more than gold. So trade continues, even though relics of the tea-horse trade are becoming harder to find. Following the Chamagudao, this book is a rare intimate look into the changing world of Tibet—both ancient and modern, sacred and commonplace, the rarefied and the gritty—before the legends and mysteries of the Tea Horse road disappear into the Tibetan mist. —White Star {chop}

Books

01.14.13

Governing Health in Contemporary China

Yanzhong Huang
The lack of significant improvement in people’s health status and other mounting health challenges in China raise a puzzling question about the country’s internal transition: why did the reform-induced dynamics produce an economic miracle, but fail to reproduce the success Mao had achieved in the health sector? This book examines the political and policy dynamics of health governance in post-Mao China. It explores the political-institutional roots of the public health and health care challenges and the evolution of the leaders’ policy response in contemporary China. It argues that reform-induced institutional dynamics, when interacting with Maoist health policy structure in an authoritarian setting, have not only contributed to the rising health challenges in contemporary China, but also shaped the patterns and outcomes of China’s health system transition. The study of China’s health governance will further our understanding of the evolving political system in China and the complexities of China’s rise. As the world economy and international security are increasingly vulnerable to major disease outbreaks in China, it also sheds critical light on China’s role in global health governance. —Routledge

Books

01.04.13

The Rise and Fall of the House of Bo

John Garnaut
When news of the murder trial of prominent Communist Party leader Bo Xilai’s wife reached public attention, it was apparent that, as with many events in the secretive upper echelons of Chinese politics, there was more to the story. Now, during the biggest leadership transition in decades, as the Bo family’s long-time rival Xi Jinping assumes the presidency, China’s rulers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their poisonous internal divisions behind closed doors.

 Bo Xilai’s breathtaking fall from grace is an extraordinary tale of excess, murder, defection, political purges and ideological clashes going back to Mao himself. China watcher John Garnaut examines how Bo’s stellar rise through the ranks troubled his more reformist peers, as he revived anti-“capitalist roader” sentiment, even while his family and associates enjoyed the more open economy’s opportunities.Amid fears his imminent elevation to the powerful Standing Committee was leading China towards another destructive Cultural Revolution, have his opponents seized their chance to destroy Bo and what he stood for? The trigger was his wife Gu Kailai’s apparently paranoid murder of an English family friend, which exposed the corruption and brutality of Bo’s outwardly successful administration of the massive city of Chongqing. It also led to the one of the highest-level attempted defections in Communist China’s history when Bo’s right-hand man, police chief Wang Lijun, tried to escape the ruins of his sponsor’s reputation.
 
Garnaut explains how this incredible glimpse into the very personal power struggles within the CCP exposes the myth of the unified one-party state. With China approaching super-power status, today’s leadership shuffle may set the tone for international relations for decades. Here, Garnaut reveals a particularly Chinese spin on the old adage that the personal is political.
 —Penguin

Books

12.17.12

Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged

Nina Bandelj, Dorothy Solinger (editors)
Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged examines the twenty-year aftermath of the 1989 assaults on established, state-sponsored socialism in the former Soviet bloc and in China. Editors Nina Bandelj and Dorothy J. Solinger bring together prominent experts on Eastern Europe and China to examine the respective trajectories of political, economic, and social transformations that unfolded in these two areas, while also comparing the changes that ensued within the two regions. The volume features paired comparisons, with one chapter on the countries from the former Soviet bloc and one on China for each of the following themes: the reinstitutionalization of politics, the recasting of state-society relations, the reform of economic systems, changes in economic behavior, and transformations of social institutions. Despite differences in the specific substantive focus and disciplinary grounding among individual chapters, all chapters share a concern with the fate of the state in postsocialism. They elaborate on topics such as the transformations of the old socialist state and its nature, activities and roles; civil society before and after 1989; the ways in which the state has, or has not, acted to encourage new forms of economic behavior; and the state's responsibility for societal trends, whether in family formation, in protest or in inequality. Taking a unique approach to understand twentieth-century socialism on a global scale, Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged uncovers insights about political models and economic patterns that have emerged in the grand project of the transition from socialism. —Oxford University Press

Books

12.12.12

China’s Search for Security

Andrew J. Nathan, Andrew Scobell
Despite its impressive size and population, economic vitality, and drive to upgrade its military capabilities, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals and potential foes. The key to understanding China’s foreign policy is to grasp these geostrategic challenges, which persist even as the country comes to dominate its neighbors. Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell analyze China’s security concerns on four fronts: at home, with its immediate neighbors, in surrounding regional systems, and in the world beyond Asia. By illuminating the issues driving Chinese policy, they offer new perspective on China’s rise and a strategy for balancing Chinese and American interests in Asia. Though rooted in the present, Nathan and Scobell’s study makes ample use of the past, reaching back into history to contextualize the people and institutions shaping Chinese strategy. They examine Chinese views of the United States; explain why China is so concerned about Japan; and uncover China’s interests in such trouble spots as North Korea, Iran, and the Sudan. The authors probe recent troubles in Tibet and Xinjiang and establish links to forces beyond China’s borders. They consider the tactics deployed by both sides of mainland China and Taiwan’s complicated relationship, as Taiwan seeks to maintain autonomy while China tries to move toward unification, and they evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of China’s three main power resources—economic power, military power, and soft power. The book concludes with recommendations for the United States as it seeks to manage China’s rise. Chinese policymakers understand that the nation’s prosperity, stability, and security depend on cooperation with the U.S, and if handled wisely, relations between the two countries could produce mutually beneficial outcomes in Asia and throughout the world. —Columbia University Press

Books

12.04.12

Tangled Titans

David Shambaugh (editor)
Tangled Titans offers a current and comprehensive assessment of the most important relationship in international affairs—that between the United States and China. How the relationship evolves will have a defining impact on the future of world politics, the Asian region, and the citizens of many nations. In this definitive book, leading experts provide an in-depth exploration of the historical, domestic, bilateral, regional, global, and future contexts of this complex relationship. The contributors argue that the relationship is a unique combination of deep interdependence, limited cooperation, and increasing competition. Never in modern history have two great powers been so deeply intertwined—yet so suspicious and potentially antagonistic toward each other. Exploring this cooperative and competitive dynamic, the contributors offer a wealth of detail on contemporary Sino-American relations unavailable elsewhere. Students will find Tangled Titans essential reading to understand the current dynamics and future direction of relations between the world’s two most important powers.—Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Culture

11.21.12

A New Tower of Babel

Sheila Melvin
Xu Bing, the renowned Chinese artist whose many laurels include a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award and an appointment as vice president of China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, has long demonstrated a fascination with the written word.His...

Books

11.20.12

Mao: The Real Story

Alexander V. Pantsov, Steven I. Levine
Mao Zedong was one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, the most important in the history of modern China. A complex figure, he was champion of the poor and brutal tyrant, poet and despot.Pantsov and Levine show Mao’s relentless drive to succeed, vividly describing his growing role in the nascent Communist Party of China. They disclose startling facts about his personal life, particularly regarding his health and his lifelong serial affairs with young women. They portray him as the loyal Stalinist that he was, who never broke with the Soviet Union until after Stalin’s death.Mao brought his country from poverty and economic backwardness into the modern age and onto the world stage. But he was also responsible for an unprecedented loss of life. The disastrous Great Leap Forward with its accompanying famine and the bloody Cultural Revolution were Mao’s creations. Internationally Mao began to distance China from the USSR under Khrushchev and shrewdly renewed relations with the U.S. as a counter to the Soviets. He lived and behaved as China’s last emperor. —Simon & Schuster

Books

11.09.12

Strong Society, Smart State

James Reilly
The rise and influence of public opinion on Chinese foreign policy reveals a remarkable evolution in authoritarian responses to social turmoil. James Reilly shows how Chinese leaders have responded to popular demands for political participation with a sophisticated strategy of tolerance, responsiveness, persuasion, and repression—a successful approach that helps explain how and why the Communist Party continues to rule China.Through a detailed examination of China's relations with Japan from 1980 to 2010, Reilly reveals the populist origins of a wave of anti-Japanese public mobilization that swept across China in the early 2000s. Popular protests, sensationalist media content, and emotional public opinion combined to impede diplomatic negotiations, interrupt economic cooperation, spur belligerent rhetoric, and reshape public debates. Facing a mounting domestic and diplomatic crisis, Chinese leaders responded with a remarkable reversal, curtailing protests and cooling public anger toward Japan. Far from being a fragile state overwhelmed by popular nationalism, market forces, or information technology, China has emerged as a robust and flexible regime that has adapted to its new environment with remarkable speed and effectiveness. Reilly's study of public opinion's influence on foreign policy extends beyond democratic states. It reveals how persuasion and responsiveness sustain Communist Party rule in China and develops a method for examining similar dynamics in different authoritarian regimes. He draws upon public opinion surveys, interviews with Chinese activists, quantitative media analysis, and internal government documents to support his findings, joining theories in international relations, social movements, and public opinion.  — Columbia University Press

Books

11.01.12

China’s Environmental Challenges

Judith Shapiro
China’s huge environmental challenges are significant for us all. They affect not only the health and well-being of China but the very future of the planet. In this trailblazing book, noted China specialist and environmentalist Judith Shapiro investigates China’s struggle to achieve sustainable development against a backdrop of acute rural poverty and soaring middle class consumption. Using five core analytical concepts to explore the complexities of this struggle - the implications of globalization, the challenges of governance; contested national identity, the evolution of civil society and problems of environmental justice and equity - Shapiro poses a number of pressing questions: Do the Chinese people have the right to the higher living standards enjoyed in the developed world? Are China’s environmental problems so severe that they may shake the government’s stability, legitimacy and control? To what extent are China’s environmental problems due to patterns of Western consumption? And in a world of increasing limits on resources and pollution “sinks,” is it even possible to build an equitable system in which people enjoy equal access to resources without taking them from successive generations, from the poor, or from other species?China and the planet are at a pivotal moment; the path towards a more sustainable development model is still open. But - as Shapiro persuasively argues - making this choice will require humility, creativity, and a rejection of business as usual. The window of opportunity will not be open much longer. —Polity

Books

10.18.12

China and the Credit Crisis

Giles Chance
China’s arrival on the world scene in the 1990s was the largest part of globalization. It brought many benefits worldwide: lower prices to Western consumers, large profits to multinationals, huge windfalls to commodity-rich countries, and employment and strong export growth to China. China’s emergence as a major global supplier and trader helped to create a boom which brought global growth with lower inflation and, for a time, an illusory stability, and also made China into the largest financer of the developed world.But Western politicians, regulators and bankers, their vision limited by national boundaries, did not understand at the time the true causes of the global economic boom of the Millennium. They attributed it largely to a revolution in risk management and their own wise policies. China and the Credit Crisis argues that if the role played in the new prosperity by globalization and an emerging China had been better understood, more appropriate policies and actions may have been adopted by central bankers and regulators which could have avoided the financial crash in 2008, or at least greatly limited its impact.China and the Credit Crisis goes on to examine the larger role that China will continue to play in a post-crisis world.

Books

10.17.12

To the People, Food is Heaven

Audra Ang
In China, life is comfortable for the fortunate few. For others, it’s a hand-to-mouth struggle for a full stomach, a place to live, wages for work done, and freedom to speak openly. It’s a place where few things are more important than food; “Have you eaten yet?” is another way of saying hello. After traversing the country and meeting its people, Ang shares her delicious experiences with us. She tells of a clandestine cup of salty yak butter tea with a Tibetan monk during a military crackdown, and explains how a fluffy spring onion omelet encapsulates China’s drive for rural development. You’ll have lunch with some of the country’s most enduring activists, savor meals with earthquake survivors, and get to know a house cleaner who makes the best fried chicken in all of Beijing. Through her reporting, Ang bites into the gaping divide between rich and poor, urban and rural reform, intolerance for dissent, and the growing dissatisfaction with those in power. By serving these topics to us one at a time through the stories of ordinary citizens, To the People, Food Is Heaven provides a fresh perspective beyond the country’s anonymous identity as an economic powerhouse. Ang plates a terrific, wide-ranging feast that is the new China, a country convulsed by change and propelled by aspiration. Have you eaten yet?  —Lyons Press{chop}

Books

10.09.12

Developmental Fairy Tales

Andrew F. Jones
In 1992 Deng Xiaoping famously declared, “Development is the only hard imperative.” What ensued was the transformation of China from a socialist state to a capitalist market economy. The spirit of development has since become the prevailing creed of the People’s Republic, helping to bring about unprecedented modern prosperity, but also creating new forms of poverty, staggering social upheaval, physical dislocation, and environmental destruction.In Developmental Fairy Tales, Andrew Jones asserts that the groundwork for this recent transformation was laid in the late nineteenth century, with the translation of the evolutionary works of Lamarck, Darwin, and Spencer into Chinese letters. He traces the ways that the evolutionary narrative itself evolved into a form of vernacular knowledge which dissolved the boundaries between beast and man and reframed childhood development as a recapitulation of civilizational ascent, through which a beleaguered China might struggle for existence and claim a place in the modern world-system.This narrative left an indelible imprint on China’s literature and popular media, from children’s primers to print culture, from fairy tales to filmmaking. Jones’s analysis offers an innovative and interdisciplinary angle of vision on China’s cultural evolution. He focuses especially on China’s foremost modern writer and public intellectual, Lu Xun, in whose work the fierce contradictions of his generation’s developmentalist aspirations became the stuff of pedagogical parable. Developmental Fairy Tales revises our understanding of literature’s role in the making of modern China by revising our understanding of developmentalism’s role in modern Chinese literature.                 —Harvard University Press

Books

10.03.12

Chinese Characters

Angilee Shah and Jeffrey Wasserstrom (Editors)
Though China is currently in the global spotlight, few outside its borders have a feel for the tremendous diversity of the lives being led inside the country. This collection of compelling stories challenges oversimplified views of China by shifting the focus away from the question of China’s place in the global order and zeroing in on what is happening on the ground. Some of the most talented and respected journalists and scholars writing about China today profile people who defy the stereotypes that are broadcast in print, over the airwaves, and online. These include an artist who copies classical paintings for export to tourist markets, Xi’an migrant workers who make a living recycling trash in the city dumps, a Taoist mystic, an entrepreneur hoping to strike it rich in the rental car business, an old woman about to lose her home in Beijing, and a crusading legal scholar.The immense variety in the lives of these Chinese characters dispels any lingering sense that China has a monolithic population or is just a place where dissidents fight Communist Party loyalists and laborers create goods for millionaires. By bringing to life the exciting, saddening, humorous, confusing, and utterly ordinary stories of these people, the gifted contributors create a multi-faceted portrait of a remarkable country undergoing extraordinary transformations. —University of California Press{chop}

Books

10.01.12

Disappearing Shanghai

Howard W. French, Qiu Xiaolong
This book is a photographic exploration of life in the old and rapidly disappearing quarters of Shanghai, with accompanying poems and essays by the author of fiction and poetry, Qiu Xiaolong.The photographs, all taken in a documentary style over a period of five years, represent an intimate and invaluable visual natural history of a way of life in the workers quarters and other central districts of the city that held sway throughout the 20th century and into the early years of the 21st century, before yielding to the ambitious ongoing efforts at urban reconstruction.Mr. Qiu, whose best-known books are largely set in this old city, where his protagonist Inspector Chen walks around in investigations, is suited like few others to provide a lyrical accompanying text whose purpose is to celebrate the life, beauty and texture of this world before it has vanished altogether.No photographer has pursued this subject with more dedication and persistence than Mr. French, whose photographs of Shanghai have been exhibited on four continents. Taken together, the work of these two contributors offers compelling esthetics and lasting historical value for lovers of Shanghai, past, present and future.—Homa & Sekey Books

Books

09.27.12

Restless Empire

Odd Arne Westad
As the twenty-first century dawns, China stands at a crossroads. The largest and most populous country on earth and currently the world’s second biggest economy, China has recently reclaimed its historic place at the center of global affairs after decades of internal chaos and disastrous foreign relations. But even as China tentatively reengages with the outside world, the contradictions of its development risks pushing it back into an era of insularity and instability—a regression that, as China’s recent history shows, would have serious implications for all other nations.In Restless Empire, award-winning historian Odd Arne Westad traces China’s complex foreign affairs over the past 250 years, identifying the forces that will determine the country’s path in the decades to come. Since the height of the Qing Empire in the eighteenth century, China’s interactions—and confrontations—with foreign powers have caused its worldview to fluctuate wildly between extremes of dominance and subjugation, emulation and defiance. From the invasion of Burma in the 1760s to the Boxer Rebellion in the early 20th century to the 2001 standoff over a downed U.S. spy plane, many of these encounters have left Chinese with a lingering sense of humiliation and resentment, and inflamed their notions of justice, hierarchy, and Chinese centrality in world affairs. Recently, China’s rising influence on the world stage has shown what the country stands to gain from international cooperation and openness. But as Westad shows, the nation’s success will ultimately hinge on its ability to engage with potential international partners while simultaneously safeguarding its own strength and stability. —Basic Books