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Understanding China: A Guide to China's…

Understanding China: A Guide to China's Economy, History, and… (edition 2001)

by John Bryan Starr

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1111108,775 (3.79)2
Title:Understanding China: A Guide to China's Economy, History, and Political Culture
Authors:John Bryan Starr
Info:Hill and Wang (2001), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 368 pages
Tags:China, Chinese History, History

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Understanding China: A Guide to China's Economy, History, and Political Culture by John Bryan Starr



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Excellent and eminently readable summary and balanced treatment of a controversial topic: contemporary China. Starr avoids many of the pitfalls of the China-U.S. relationship by neither demonizing nor praising the Chinese.

Deng Xiaoping was a pragmatist. For him, the Chinese economy moved rapidly from "central planning to market decision making. It is an economy with a large but shrinking state-owned sector, a substantial and growing collective sector, and a rapidly burgeoning private sector. Liberal use has been made of capitalist methods to jump-start and then fuel truly remarkable growth since the reforms began" (p. 73).

The ethnic groups that comprise China result in a Han version of racism. The Han, although they are not homogeneous in terms of language, customs, characteristics, or religion, nonetheless, "do think of themselves as ethnically distinct from the roughly 100 million people who are members of the fifty-seven other ethnic groups that make up the Chinese population" (p. 162).

"Capitalist industrialization can hardly be said to have proceeded without environmental damage, but as we have all seen in eastern Europe and Russia, socialist industrialization seems to have been especially pernicious in its effects on the environment. For one thing, with the land and its resources publicly owned, no one takes responsibility for the land or represents its interests. For another, water and energy are supplied to consumers at no cost or at a heavily subsidized cost, and there is no incentive to conserve their use. Worse, the deficiencies in the quantity and quality of land, air, and water are escalating rather than improving" (p. 177).
  gmicksmith | Jul 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809094894, Paperback)

In this succinct, modest, and refreshingly forthright book--now revised and updated for the new century--Starr introduces to the uninitiated reader the background, basic data, and issues at stake in China's crisis-ridden present and future.

The death of Deng Xioaping in February 1997, revelations about Chinese influence in our election campaigns, and Chinese eagerness to acquire advanced American technology, are only some of the developments that show how urgently we need to know and understand China better than we do. In this revised edition of his essential book, Starr focuses his shrewd attention on them all. He furnishes additional material on China's relations with Taiwan and Tibet, the transfer of Hong Kong to Chinese rule, China's nuclear weapons program, and its environmental and human rights records.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

John Starr offers all the background material, basic data, and analysis of the issues at stake that are needed to grasp the truths in China's crisis-ridden present situation. The purpose of Understanding China is to enable any reader to ask and even answer such questions as: What is the capacity of China's political system to deal successfully with the principal problems confronting the nation today - the inflammatory Taiwan issue, the future of Hong Kong, the maintenance of economic growth while the global political climate seems to be changing, the management of an orderly succession in the political leadership? Indeed, how will China be governed? And what are the likely ways in which the United States can or will influence its affairs?… (more)

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