China: Fragile Superpower

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Oxford University Press, 2008 - History - 320 pages
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Once a sleeping giant, China today is the world's fastest growing economy--the leading manufacturer of cell phones, laptop computers, and digital cameras--a dramatic turn-around that alarms many Westerners. But in China: Fragile Superpower, Susan L. Shirk opens up the black box of Chinese politics and finds that the real danger lies elsewhere--not in China's astonishing growth, but in the deep insecurity of its leaders. China's leaders face a troubling paradox: the more developed and prosperous the country becomes, the more insecure and threatened they feel. Shirk, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for China, knows many of today's Chinese rulers personally and has studied them for three decades. She offers invaluable insight into how they think--and what they fear. In this revealing book, readers see the world through the eyes of men like President Hu Jintao and former President Jiang Zemin. We discover a fragile communist regime desperate to survive in a society turned upside down by miraculous economic growth and a stunning new openness to the greater world. Indeed, ever since the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Chinese leaders have been afraid of its own citizens, and this fear motivates many of their decisions when dealing with the U.S. and other nations. In particular, the fervent nationalism of the Chinese people, combined with their passionate resentment of Japan and attachment to Taiwan, have made relations with this country a minefield. The paperback edition features a new preface by the author.
 

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Contents

1 Strong Abroad but Fragile at Home
1
2 Chinas Economic Miracle
13
3 Domestic Threats
35
Media and the Internet
79
5 The Responsible Power
105
When the Chinese People Get Angry the Result Is Always Big Trouble
140
A Question of Regime Survival
181
External Troubles Can Become Internal Troubles
212
9 Chinas Weakness Americas Danger
255
Chinese and Japanese Periodicals
271
Notes
273
Index
311
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Susan L. Shirk, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for U.S. relations with China, is Director of the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and she is a professor at UC-San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. A leading authority on China, she has been visiting that country since 1971, meeting with top Chinese officials, and has written numerous books and articles on thissubject, including pieces that have appeared in The Washington Post, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal.

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