News & Politics
“We hear, in the media and in comments by politicians, a lot of very glib statements that oversimplify China, that suggest all of China is one thing or one way,” says Michael Szonyi, a professor of Chinese history and director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. China, of course, is as complicated as — if not more complicated than — any other country, and misunderstandings about it among Americans are both common and consequential. The relationship with China is “arguably — in anyone’s estimation — the most important bilateral relationship that the U.S. has,” says Jennifer Rudolph, a professor of modern Chinese political history at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Jennifer and Michael edited a book to address 36 questions that ordinary people, especially Americans, ask about China. The book is titled The China Questions: Critical Insights Into a Rising Power, and it draws on the expertise of the Fairbank Center and prompts these accomplished academics to write 2,000-word essays for a general audience that they typically never aim to reach.
View the entire list of questions on the Harvard University Press website. A sampling:“Is the Chinese Communist Regime Legitimate?” (by Elizabeth J. Perry) “Is There Environmental Awareness in China?” (by Karen Thornber) “Will China Lead Asia?” (by Odd Arne Westad) “What Does the Rise of China Mean for the United States?” (by Robert S. Ross) “Can China and Japan Ever Get Along?” (by Ezra F. Vogel) “Will Urbanization Save the Chinese Economy or Destroy It?” (by Meg Rithmire) “Why Does the End of the One-Child Policy Matter?” (by Susan Greenhalgh) “Why Do Classic Chinese Novels Matter?” (by Wai-yee Li)
Jeremy: Drawn Together: The Collected Works of R. and A. Crumb, by Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb. The husband-and-wife pair became known for their funny, vulgar comics in the late 1970s, though Robert’s zany work goes back a decade earlier.
Jennifer: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo. A work of creative nonfiction about a young boy and his family, and how the system is stacked against them.
Michael: The Fairbank Center website, which features a blog and a podcast. Also, Michael’s new book, titled The Art of Being Governed: Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China. And The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World, by Greg Grandin.
Kaiser: The North Water: A Novel, by Ian McGuire. A dramatic tale that includes whaling, murder, and brutality, and whose overall flavor Kaiser describes as Joseph Conrad meets Cormac McCarthy meets Herman Melville meets Jack London.
The world according to Jeremy Goldkorn
Wealth and Power: Intellectuals in China
China correspondent Emily Feng: From the FT to NPR
Michael Swaine on the ‘China is not an enemy’ open letter
An update on the Hong Kong protests
Searching for roots in China
Military Strategy and Politics in the PRC: A Conversation with Taylor Fravel
Umbrella Revolution 2.0 – or something else? Antony Dapiran on the Hong Kong demonstrations
A voice of reason within the Beltway: Ryan Hass vs. the so-called bipartisan consensus
A student leader 30 years after Tiananmen: Wu’er Kaixi reflects on the movement
China's New Red Guards: Jude Blanchette on China's Far Left
Charlene Barshefsky on Trump’s Trade War
Chinese Investment: Beyond the USA
‘Haunted by Chaos: China’s Grand Strategy,’ with Sulmaan Wasif Khan
Howard French on how China's past shapes its present ambitions
Strength in Numbers: USTR veteran Wendy Cutler on managing trade with China
An American Futurist in China: Alvin Toffler and Reform & Opening
Mark Rowswell a.k.a. Dashan Live at the Bookworm Literary Festival
Peter Lorentzen's data-driven analysis of Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign
An update on the Xinjiang crisis with Nury Turkel