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2012/05/08

Subject of Intense Interest: Books on China Are So Popular, But Are They Teaching Us Anything?

-SO CONFUSED!!! 

Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power (The Princeton-China Series)

"Few books have polarized opinion in recent years as much as When China Rules the World, but when it was published in 2009, the author, Martin Jacques, was thinking less about kickstarting an international debate than he was simply relieved to have completed a 10-year project marred by misfortune.

"In general, I think that too much of the writing about China is shaped by what have been termed Sinomania and Sinophobia," said Jonathan Fenby, an author and journalist who has written a number of books on China.

"On the one hand we have writers predicting the coming collapse of China and on the other foreseeing the inevitability of China ruling the world. Such predictions are beguiling, especially if they are pitched in headline-grabbing terms."

Yan Xuetong on universal values

http://youtu.be/rpuEPPyysgs


When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order

Yan Xuetong, dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing and the author of Ancient Thought, Chinese Modern Power, said books about China that are written by Westerners can often lack substance and be misleading.

"Most foreigners try to understand China from their knowledge of their own country. I am not saying this is necessarily wrong since it is quite normal. Chinese scholars, in fact, try to understand the United States from their Chinese perspective. It can lead to a lot of misunderstandings, however," he said.



The Coming Collapse of China

But Cheng Xiaohe, associate professor at the School of International Studies of Renmin University of China, believes foreign authors play an important role in depicting China.

"Certainly, most of the best-selling books concerning China are written by Western scholars and for Western readers, (so) they cannot escape the age-old trap of West-centric orientation. Nonetheless, as many authors come to China frequently and have increasing contacts with their Chinese counterparts, compared with their predecessors from the 1950s to 1970s, they know China much better, and their works - to various degrees - reveal some telling facet of the real China. These authors' ideological bias still plays some kind of role in their writing, but this is becoming less so.

Why China Will Never Rule the World

http://youtu.be/xkGH0_DRBRE

"The books present a benign or malicious image of China to readers and help to shape a popular opinion toward China, which can influence their respective governments' policies toward China. As for Chinese readers, they may disagree with the messages that these book tend to deliver, but through reading these books written from Western perspectives, we Chinese can learn how China and its people are perceived and analyzed by foreigners, and in turn, we can figure out how to redress our weaknesses pinpointed by outsiders."

Eastday-Subject of intense interest:



Why China Will Never Rule the World: Travels in the Two Chinas


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