China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom

Language: English

Pages: 208

ISBN: 0199974969

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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 the fully revised and updated second edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, China expert 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. He provides guidance on the ways we can expect China to act in the future vis-à-vis the United States, Russia, India, and its East Asian neighbors. The second edition has also been updated to take into account changes China has seen in just the past two years, from the global economic shifts to the recent removal of Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai from power.

Concise and insightful, China in the 21st Century provides an excellent introduction to this significant global power.















the Mandate of Heaven or not, and whether, in guarding the interests of the people, they should or should not switch sides. Finally, since new dynasties often maintained their predecessors’ institutions, there was considerable continuity. A new dynasty often relied heavily upon officials who had served the previous dynasty and then jumped ship to join the new one. Were all dynasties the same? Despite the continuities listed so far, there were always important variations among dynasties,

in 1925. It was called the May 30th movement, was seen by some as picking up where the May 4th movement left off, and was triggered by the police in Shanghai’s main foreign-run enclave firing into a crowd of Chinese protesters who were demonstrating against the mistreatment of Chinese workers in Japanese mills located within Shanghai. Why was the May 30th movement important? This anti-imperialist struggle, like its predecessor of 1919, spread from being a single-city protest to being a

forces and his military background and bearing. An enigmatic figure, before committing himself to the revolution he had joined a secret society, established ties with the Green Gang (a powerful organized-crime syndicate based in Shanghai), and received military training in Japan. He developed close personal ties to Sun Yat-sen via common revolutionary activities. These took on an added dimension when Chiang married Song Meiling (Soong May-ling) (1898–2003). An American-educated Christian, Song

of Four was scapegoated for the mistakes of the Cultural Revolution in a manner that partially mitigated Mao’s responsibility for the luan (turmoil) of the era. They are presented in official histories as scheming, unprincipled opportunists who took advantage of their connections to Mao to carry out a nefarious plot to destroy the country and assume absolute power. Their method was to label as “Rightists” anyone they disliked or felt was a competitor (e.g., Deng Xiaoping), while embracing an

government’s Internet policies, like its policies in frontier zones such as Xinjiang, can cause one to overstate the distinctiveness of the PRC. Contributing to a vision of uniqueness in this case is nomenclature. The term “Great Firewall of China” is a clever one. It offers a nice rhetorical twist on the country’s best-known landmark. And it is not only Western commentators who use it; many Chinese bloggers who try to circumvent the censors have had fun with the phrase as well—so much so that

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