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 things that the leaders of the Communist Party worry about—from the rumblings of popular religious sects to how natural catastrophes are understood—resemble those that caused emperors to worry about how long their own mandate would last. 3 REVOLUTIONS AND REVOLUTIONARIES Who was Sun Yat-sen? Sun Yat-sen has been hailed as the founding father of the Republic of China (ROC) and has been likened to George Washington in more than a few Chinese textbooks over the years. Sun has the

from being used as positive symbols. And Jackson still appears on $20 bills, even though Americans now tend to view as heinous the institution of slavery, of which he was a passionate defender, and the early 19th-century military campaigns against Native Americans, in which he took part. At times Jackson, for all his flaws, is invoked as representing an egalitarian strain within the American democratic tradition, a self-made man of the people who rose to power via straight talk and was not

associated with economic reforms that paved the way for China’s transformation from a Third World economy to the world’s third economy, he is also associated with a go-slow approach to political reforms, a man who elevated China’s GDP and place in the world but crushed dissident movements, including the Democracy Wall protests of the late 1970s and, even more importantly, the Tiananmen Uprising. When an American academic published a sympathetic biography of Deng in 2011, many reviewers criticized

are especially tricky to draw. This is because China’s boom has been fueled by entrepreneurial activity and foreign investment, yet large state-run enterprises not only remain in operation but also continue to be a major force within the overall economy. Moreover, many of the new “private” companies one hears about turn out to be run by the children of CCP leaders, and some luxury hotels that seem to epitomize the anti-capitalist Maoist state’s retreat are business ventures of the People’s

increasing tendency for concerns about pollution to generate protests. The bad news with hydraulic energy is that massive dams have been controversial, leading to protests by locals directly affected by the projects, which almost inevitably require villages to be flooded, and worries about the risks of construction errors. The bigger bad news for China on the energy front is that demand for oil is rising rapidly, as the country becomes one with more and more drivers, and it keeps needing more

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