The China Questions

The China Questions: Critical insights into a Rising Power, edited by Jennifer Rudolph and Michael A. Szonyi, provides accessible answers to leading questions in China Studies from faculty at the Fairbank Center.

Many books offer information about China, but few make sense of what is truly at stake. The questions addressed in this unique volume provide a window onto the challenges China faces today and the uncertainties its meteoric ascent on the global horizon has provoked.

In only a few decades, the most populous country on Earth has moved from relative isolation to center stage. Thirty of the world’s leading China experts—all affiliates of the renowned Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University—answer key questions about where this new superpower is headed and what makes its people and their leaders tick. They distill a lifetime of cutting-edge scholarship into short, accessible essays about Chinese identity, culture, environment, society, history, or policy.

Can China’s economic growth continue apace? Can China embrace the sacrifices required for a clean environment? Will Taiwan reunite with the mainland? How do the Chinese people understand their position in today’s global marketplace? How do historical setbacks and traditional values inform China’s domestic and foreign policy? Some of the essays address issues of importance to China internally, revolving around the Communist Party’s legitimacy, the end of the one-child policy, and ethnic tensions. Others focus on China’s relationship with other nations, particularly the United States. If America pulls back from its Asian commitments, how will China assert its growing strength in the Pacific region?

China has already captured the world’s attention. The China Questions takes us behind media images and popular perceptions to provide insight on fundamental issues.

Reviews

The China Questions is packed with erudite yet accessible commentaries on issues ranging from literature to ethnic diversity. The topical reach is impressive; readers will come away with information concerning novel ways of thinking about everything from early philosophical traditions to modern visions of utopia and dystopia, from international relations to struggles for political legitimacy.”
– Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of China in the 21st Century

“This book cuts through the cacophony of information, misinformation, and nonsense on China that circulates in our modern world to give us reliable answers to crucial questions about one of the world’s most important nations. Written by a who’s-who of experts on a variety of topics, it’s also a pleasure to read. With stylish essays on everything from elite politics to the classical Chinese novel, it should be on the shelf of anyone seeking to understand this fast-rising superpower.”
– Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China

“Rudolph and Szonyi, both associated with Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, bring together 36 short, but collectively weighty, scholarly articles on contemporary China. The articles are grouped into six categories: China’s politics, foreign relations, economy, environment, society, and history and culture. This collection is impressive for its comprehensiveness, with contributors providing numerous pointed observations.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

Listen to editors Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi discuss The China Questions with Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn on the Sinica Podcast:

Have your own “China Question”? Email us at chinaquestions@fas.harvard.educreate new email and we’ll pose your question about China to one of our faculty members featured in the book.