Book Review: China at War

Book Review: China at WarHistory, whether written by academics or popular writers, is usually delivered in easily recognizable chunks with familiar faces – the Pacific War, the Korean War, the Chinese Revolution, etc. But it is often the links between events that tell a more coherent story. Hans van de Ven, professor of Modern Chinese History at Cambridge University,…

Book Review: The Dictator’s Dilemma

Book Review: The Dictator’s DilemmaIn 1993, there were about 8,700 “mass group incidents” in China over a wide variety of grievances ranging from corruption to forced evictions to human rights abuses to ethnic protests to environmental disaster to unpaid wages as well as nationalist protests against foreign countries engineered by the government. In 2015, according to the Chinese Academy…

Book Review: Saving China’s Banking System

Book Review: Saving China’s Banking SystemIn the middle of the first decade of this century, Chinese officials led by then-Prime Minister Zhu Rongji set out to clean up one of the world’s biggest financial messes, the state-run banking system. It is estimated that just the amount poured into the four biggest banks alone was RMB2.4 trillion (US$348.7 billion at current…

Book Review: Trickle-Down Censorship

Book Review: Trickle-Down CensorshipAs we enter a post-truth world – or so we are told -- there’s probably no better time than to curl up with JFK Miller’s Trickle-Down Censorship: An Outsider’s Account of Working Inside China’s Censorship Regime. It serves well as a timely reminder of the dangers in the other direction – state control of truth…

Book Review: Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian Century

Book Review: Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian CenturyA few months after Britain announced a US$40 billion nuclear power deal involving China, hailed as giving the UK a special place in its dealings, Beijing is threatening major damage to relations should Britain’s new prime minister Teresa May put the project permanently on hold. After Brexit, the Brits are into another bungled situation.  Then-finance…

Book Review: CEO, CHINA – The Rise of Xi Jinping

Book Review: CEO, CHINA – The Rise of Xi JinpingThis book is a measured analysis of the power matrix that Chinese President Xi Jinping has consolidated as he steers the nation from slowing export-dependent economy to boost domestic consumption and services – while defining a more muscular role for China on the global stage. Author Kerry Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director…

Book Review: Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping

Book Review: Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi JinpingIt often appears there are two Chinas – one fast-rising, showing an aggressive face to the world, building an infrastructure empire, a network of Silk Roads that stretches from Pakistan’s Gwadar Port to the corners of Southeast Asia, dominating the South China Sea, pillaging resources from as far away as Africa, with all roads leading…

Book Review: In Manchuria

Book Review: In ManchuriaThe head of the chicken that is the map of China is more or less in the place that we would call Manchuria. Dongbei (the Northeast) as it’s more commonly known now is bitterly cold in winter, desolate, and pocked by mines and heavy industry. For this book, Mike Meyer parks himself in a lonely…

Book Review: Meltdown in Tibet

Book Review: Meltdown in TibetMichael Buckley is a travel writer who first went to Tibet to raft its rivers and describe its vast landscape in 1985.  In the ensuing 30 years, according to a searing new book on environmental destruction at the hands of the Han Chinese, he has seen half of the territory’s forests disappear and its mighty…

Book Review: Death Fugue

Book Review: Death FugueOne of the most defining moments in modern Chinese history is the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. The Chinese government more or less pretends that it never happened, and detains anyone inside the country who argues publicly otherwise. A situation that can only be described as absurd. And there is plenty of the absurd in Sheng…
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