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Paperback The New Chinese Empire : And What It Means for the United States Book

ISBN: 0465084133

ISBN13: 9780465084135

The New Chinese Empire : And What It Means for the United States

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This past spring, the outbreak of SARS grabbed the attention of the world. The schizophrenic, paranoid way the Chinese government handled the outbreak perfectly illustrated the danger of a political system unaccountable to its citizens.In The New Chinese Empire , Ross Terrill assesses this government, and the central question it raises: Is the People's Republic of China, whose polity is a hybrid of Chinese tradition and Western Marxism, willing to...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

This is a great book to understand China and Chinese.

The author intends to explain the behavior of China by comparing the history of China. As he mentions at the beginning of the book "Know the Future in Mirror of the Past". As a Chinese-Taiwanese-American I spent my first 36 years in Taiwan. My parents were educated by the Japanese. I did not fully understand the Chinese people until I come to United States. I believe the people in the China have the same experience as the people in Taiwan. The education system and media are served as the propoganda tools of the government. I realized that a lot of Chinese history I learned in Taiwan is distorted, faked and incomplete. For example, the San Francisco Treaty and the peace treaty between KMT government and Japan are not in the history book. The CCP is afraid of loosing their tight control of the monoply power. If there is an uprising in China United States is the only country in the world can help the people of China to overthrow the CCP government. That is why China considers United States is their primary enemy. Unfortunately Germany and France are taking the advantage of it (selling Airbus or making comments againt US's interest to please China). The author mentions some key issues of China in chapter 12. These issues might be true but without the fundamental change I do not see lights of turning China into a normal modern country. Soviet Union and Germany can make change without blood and the transformation was instantly. Can China do the same? Chapter 7 "Beijing juggles the legacy of empire" raises questions of "Who is Chinese" and "What is China". The author's view is very revolutionary. I feel like breathing the fresh air. As a matter of fact that Great Wall is a evidence that the northern part of China beyond Great Wall is not part of China. The author's question "Why is Taiwan "in" the PRC's One China and northern Mongolia "out"? My answer to this question is China views Taiwan as a threat to its regime. It is not because Taiwan is going to invade mainland but Taiwan is setting a good example that there is other way to manage China. At the end Mr. Terrill states "The PRC state indeed has dwarfed its people. .... Yet individual human beings are the one truly creative force." I saw a lot of Chinese's talent were wasted. It is shameful.

Superb Review of China's Government's Perceptions

Mr. Terrill, the Harvard scholar who is both the widely acclaimed biographer of Mao and his wife, the best-selling portrayer of China in his "800,000" and the writer of the fascinating "China In Our Time". He has now written a swiftly readable yet authoritative book that provides vivid documentation to support its thesis that the Chinese government's view of its own internal empire over non-Han peoples (Tibet, the Uighurs of Turkestan, the Mongolians of Inner Mongolia) and exertion of its authority over the world outside - are of one piece - and entirely consistent with past Chinese empires.The book is wonderfully instructive to American policymakers. It documents the Chinese government's ability (through its pretension to worldwide authority, its soaring military strength and its manipulation of the news - and therefore attitudes - for home consumption) to put western governments off balance in order to project its ethnocentric view of the world. The Cinese government is succeeding wildly in making its view of the world relative to the "Middle Kingdom" a reality.Terrill's command of Chinese history is convicing. His recitation of the very different views by the Communist Party (before and after taking power) on the separate nationhood of Tibet, Mongolia, Turkestan Taiwan, was new to me. Terrill's account of how the Chinese control their inner empire through ethnic cleaning - on a scale undreamt by Slobodan Milosevic - is, again, fascinating.The book gives a far greater sense of the unreality of any "one China" status for Taiwan -- which was not part of China until 1884 - and then for a mere eleven years - and then for a mere four years in the 20th Century when the Kuomintang govened China. Terrill convincingly shows that "there IS no Taiwan issue" - merely the desire by the Chinese govenment to seize it - a desire similar to its expressed long-term intentions to take Korea and Indochina because at one time in the last several thousand years, they too were subject to China's control. Mr. Terrill's thesis is so well-documnted that those reviewers here who criticize the book seem to do so out of some misplaced emotion - Terrill has written a book about the Chinese government - not those of other countries past or present. I highly recommend the book - you'll learn much and it's wonderfully written.

An excellent book that speaks the truth!

A must read for everyone who is interested in the future of the global politics. Very well and truthfully written, highly recommanded.

Very interesting and insightful

I think this book is very insightful in its exposition of the historical and cultural roots of the current Chinese government. The problem highlighted in the book is well reflected in the attitude of the previous reviewer. The regime creates an illusion through myth and creative history that associates the Chinese civilization with itself. The crucial thing to realize here is that the communist government IS NOT representative of chinese civilization. Neither have they contributed anything to chinese civilization, in fact their massive idiocy did much to destroy chinese culture.Like the Terril, I love the country but hate the government. It's a disgrace that the bulk of chinese people in this world have the misfortune of being ruled by such an idiotic regime. Buy this book so you can see past the myth and lies that the communist government uses to maintain power. Do not confuse the greatness of Chinese civilization with the idiocy of the chinese government. They had no part in the great achievements of Chinese individuals throughout history, so don't give them credit for it!

A good antidote to the myriad paeans being sung to China..

I was a little skeptical of this book's relevance to me and my work given the (somewhat misleading) subtitle of "What it means for the US". Don't pay too much attention to it. As is anyone's guess almost anything written about China is most likely relevant to everyone in business.While most news publications choose to focus on China's Global-Sweatshop status or its enviable FDI levels in the past decade or so, a recent spate of authors have also picked up the counter-theory cudgels to dispel all such quickfooted "China is the next superpower" myths. Notable among these are Chang's best selling "The Coming Collapse of China" or Cheff's "China Dawn" that raised some interesting flags about the cracks in the Chinese scaffolding. So the overall theme of this book is not a big seminal surprise. We have seen and heard this before -- an onerous finger being pointed squarely at China's somewhat defunct cloak-and-dagger posturing towards information control and political rule. But where Terrill's work stands out and becomes a compelling addition to your China related stash is his fabulous coverage of the last 2000 years of Chinese history and how it relates to the nation's policies in the present. Among the symptoms that the Chinese regime is "dysfunctional in the world of nation-states" is its clinging to the ways of empire. Over the years, China has used its imperial good times to grab neighboring territories including Yunnan, Tibet and Xinjiang. During periods of weakness, Chinese strategy has tended to be "Let us bide our time, and disguise frailty as power". To awe their subjects, for instance, the mandarin emperors falsely maintained that leaders ranging from Britain's King George III to the Mughal Tamerlane were paying tribute to them.The author contends that even today the state continues to turn weakness into strength in a similar fashion -- by convincing the world that in both business and diplomacy it needs China more than China needs the world -- thus remaining an "empire of theatre and presumption," a nation that is "deeply corrupt, politically unstable, yet extremely ambitious."This politically charged analysis is IMHO a very refreshing perspective and although no concrete predictions about how this will/can change are forthcoming, perhaps understandably so, Terrill still offers an interesting framework for reckoning China's supposedly stellar future by laying out its imperialistic past in such excruciating but lucid detail. A very satisfying, insightful read and an important addition to your collection if you understand that the thematic intent of this book is very specific. If you are interested in China and haven't yet read Gordon Chang, I would also recommend "The Coming Collapse of China".
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