Our author reviews Evan Osnos’ book about his 8 years spent living on the ground in China:
‘For its part, the government seems to be making efforts to get a grasp on public opinion, though they stem more from its need to buttress its own chances of survival than from any democratic instinct. Attempts at opinion polling have not gone well, mainly because most Chinese are wary about voicing criticism of the government to a stranger on the phone. Nevertheless, there is the sense that the leaders are aware that the ground is shifting. They just don’t know where it is shifting to—and no one else does, either. There is an obsession with establishing the “central melody” of the current culture, but the tune keeps slipping away.’
As previously posted:
(Q & A starts at about minute 6:20)
This blog is still trying to better understand China. Troost traveled for months around the country, went with the flow, and wrote about his experiences.
Some takeaways: China’s undergoing rapid, almost seething, sociological, economic, and some political change (we’ll see how that pans out given the old Communist state structure and involvement in the economy). It’s got over a billion people, a huge landmass, and a long history, and can make individuals feel very small indeed.
Interview with Troost here (via Althouse).
What’s life like in Beijing for an American editing an English-language Business Magazine?
Interesting quote on author Eveline Chao’s censor:
‘I understood then the mundane nature of all that kept her in place. A job she didn’t like, but worked hard to keep. A system that would never reward her for good work, only punish her for mistakes. And in exchange: Tutors. Traffic. Expensive drumming lessons. They were the same things that kept anyone, anywhere, in place — and it was the very ordinariness of these things that made them intractable.’
Related On This Site: Kissinger says our relations with China are incredibly fragile, and that due to its own past, it may not fit as easily into the Western models of statecraft as some would think: From The Online WSJ: ‘Henry Kissinger on China. Or Not.’
Over a billion people and a culturally homogenous Han core. Rapid industrialization atop an ancient civilization. There is state-sponsored hacking and espionage, a good bit of corruption and a lot of young men floating around fast-growing cities. There are people fighting for their freedoms, better laws, and making their way forward. There is an often lawless, ruthless capitalism (and hefty State involvement and cronyism) and it will take smart leadership to maintain steady growth. Can they do it? TED Via Youtube: Martin Jacques ‘Understanding The Rise Of China’…From Foreign Affairs: ‘The Geography Of Chinese Power’…From Via Media At The American Interest: ‘History Made; Media Blind’…From The New Perspectives Quarterly: Francis Fukuyama’s ‘Is America Ready for a Post-American World?’…