1. The New Emperors: Power and the Princelings in China from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    How does one become the leader of the world’s newest superpower? And who holds the real power in the Chinese system? China has become the powerhouse of the world economy and home to one in five of the world’s population, yet we know almost nothing of the people who lead it. In The New Emperors, the noted China expert Kerry Brown journeys deep into the heart of the Communist Party. China’s system might have its roots in peasant rebellion but it is now firmly under the control of a power-conscious Beijing elite, almost half of whose members are related directly to former senior Party leaders. Brown reveals the intrigue, scandal, and murder surrounding the internal battle raging between two China’s: one founded by Mao on Communist principles, and a modern China in which ‘to get rich is glorious’. At the centre of it all sits the latest Party Secretary, Xi Jinping—the son of a revolutionary, with links both to big business and to the People’s Liberation Army. His rise to power is symbolic of the new dragons leading the world’s next superpower. —I.B. Tauris

     
     
  2. The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    In China, just because something is banned, doesn’t mean it can’t boom. Statistically, zero percent of the Chinese population plays golf, still known as the “rich man’s game” and considered taboo. Yet China is in the midst of a golf boom—hundreds of new courses have opened in the past decade, despite it being illegal for anyone to build them. Award-winning journalist Dan Washburn charts a vivid path through this contradictory country by following the lives of three men intimately involved in China’s bizarre golf scene. We meet Zhou, a peasant turned golf pro who discovered the game when he won a job as a security guard at one of the new, exclusive clubs and who sees himself entering the emerging Chinese middle class as a result; Wang, a lychee farmer whose life is turned upside down when a massive, top-secret golf resort moves in next door to his tiny village; and Martin, a Western executive maneuvering through China’s byzantine and highly political business environment, ever watchful for Beijing’s “golf police.” The Forbidden Game is a rich and arresting portrait of the world’s newest superpower and three different paths to the new Chinese Dream.

    —Oneworld Publications

     
     
  3. Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    In the spring of 1989, millions of citizens across China took to the streets in a nationwide uprising against government corruption and authoritarian rule. What began with widespread hope for political reform ended with the People’s Liberation Army firing on unarmed citizens in the capital city of Beijing, and those leaders who survived the crackdown became wanted criminals overnight. Among the witnesses to this unprecedented popular movement was Rowena Xiaoqing He, who would later join former student leaders and other exiles in North America, where she has worked tirelessly for over a decade to keep the memory of the Tiananmen Movement alive.

    This moving oral history interweaves He’s own experiences with the accounts of three student leaders exiled from China. Here, in their own words, they describe their childhoods during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, their political activism, the bitter disappointments of 1989, and the profound contradictions and challenges they face as exiles. Variously labeled as heroes, victims, and traitors in the years after Tiananmen, these individuals tell difficult stories of thwarted ideals and disconnection that nonetheless embody the hope for a freer China and a more just world.

    —Palgrave Macmillan

     
     
  4. Voices From Tibet: Selected Essays and Reportage from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong are widely regarded as the most eloquent, insightful writers on contemporary Tibet. Their reportage on the economic exploitation, environmental degradation, cultural destruction, and political subjugation that plague the increasingly Han Chinese-dominated Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is as powerful as it is profound, ardent, and analytical in equal measure, and not in the least bit ideological. Voices from Tibet is a collection of essays and reportage in translation that captures the many facets of an unprecedented sea change wreaked by a rising China upon a scared land and its defenseless people. With the TAR in a virtual lockdown after the 2008 unrest, this book sheds important light on the simmering frustrations that touched off the unrest and Beijing’s stability über alles control tactics in its wake. The authors also interrogate longstanding assumptions about Tibetans’ political future. Woeser’s and Wang’s writings represent a rare Chinese view sympathetic to Tibetan causes, one that should resonate in many places confronting threats of cultural subjugation and economic domination by a non-indigenous power.

    —Hong Kong University Press

     
     
  5. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy—or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don’t see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.

    As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals—fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture—consider themselves “angry youth,” dedicated to resisting the West’s influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?

    Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.

    —Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

     
     
  6. The Contest of the Century: The New Era of Competition With China—and How America Can Win from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    From the former Financial Times Beijing bureau chief, a balanced and far-seeing analysis of the emerging competition between China and the United States that will dominate twenty-first-century world affairs—an inside account of Beijing’s quest for influence and an explanation of how America can come out on top.

    The structure of global politics is shifting rapidly. After decades of rising, China has entered a new and critical phase where it seeks to turn its economic heft into global power. In this deeply informed book, Geoff Dyer makes a lucid and convincing argument that China and the United States are now embarking on a great power–style competition that will dominate the century. This contest will take place in every arena: from control of the seas, where China’s new navy is trying to ease the United States out of Asia and reassert its traditional leadership, to rewriting the rules of the global economy, with attempts to turn the renminbi into the predominant international currency, toppling the dominance of the U.S. dollar. And by investing billions to send its media groups overseas, Beijing hopes to shift the global debate about democracy and individual rights. Eyeing the high ground of international politics, China is taking the first steps in an ambitious global agenda.

    Yet Dyer explains how China will struggle to unseat the United States. China’s new ambitions are provoking intense anxiety, especially in Asia, while America’s global influence has deep roots. If Washington can adjust to a world in which it is no longer dominant but still immensely powerful, it can withstand China’s challenge. With keen insight based on a deep local knowledge—offering the reader visions of coastal Chinese beauty pageants and secret submarine bases, lockstep Beijing military parades and the neon media screens of Xinhua exported to New York City’s Times Square—The Contest of the Century is essential reading at a time of great uncertainty about America’s future, a road map for retaining a central role in the world.—Knopf

     
     
  7. Stagnant Water & Other Poems from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    On June 6, 1946, at 5pm, after stepping out of the office of the Democratic Weekly, Wen Yiduo died in a hail of bullets. Mao blamed the Nationalists and transformed Wen into a paragon of the revolution.

    Wen was born into a well-to-do family in Hubei, China, and received a classical education. But he came of age as old imperial China and its institu­tions were being swept away, and the Chinese people were looking ahead to a new China. It was fertile ground for a young poet.

    In 1922, Wen came to the U.S. and studied art and literature at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was during this period that his first collection of poetry was published, Hongzu or “Red Candle.” He returned to China in 1925 and took a position as a university professor and became active in the political and aesthetic debates of the time. His second collection of poems, Sishui, rendered by previous translators as “Dead Water,” was published in 1928.

    As political trends shifted from an intellectual, elitist base toward a populist one, changes in literature were just as pervasive. Wen was one of the leaders of a movement to reform Chinese poetry—hitherto written in a classical style with a diction and rhetoric so far removed from everyday usage that it had segregated itself from all but the wealthy and the well educated—by adapting common speech and direct observation, while maintaining a strict, albeit new, formalism.

    However, Wen never resolved the conflicts that existed within him: The elitist and the proletarian, the scholar and the activist, the traditionalist and the innovator, the personal man and the public man, fought for ascendancy. Yet it was these contradictions that proved so fruitful and give his poetry its singular power. —Bright City Books

     
     
  8. Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    The Chinese and U.S. economies have been locked in an uncomfortable embrace since the late 1970s. Although the relationship initially arose out of mutual benefits, in recent years it has taken on the trappings of an unstable codependence, with the two largest economies in the world losing their sense of self, increasing the risk of their turning on one another in a destructive fashion.

    In Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China Stephen Roach lays bare the pitfalls of the current China-U.S. economic relationship. He highlights the conflicts at the center of current tensions, including disputes over trade policies and intellectual property rights, sharp contrasts in leadership styles, the role of the Internet, the recent dispute over cyberhacking, and more.

    A firsthand witness to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Roach likely knows more about the U.S.-China economic relationship than any other Westerner. Here he discusses:

    Why America saving too little and China saving too much creates mounting problems for both
    How China is planning to re-boot its economic growth model by moving from an external export-led model to one of internal consumerism with a new focus on service industries
    How America shows a disturbing lack of strategy, preferring a short-term reactive approach over a more coherent Chinese-style planning framework
    The way out: what America could do to turn its own economic fate around and position itself for a healthy economic and political relationship with China
    In the wake of the 2008 crisis, both unbalanced economies face urgent and mutually beneficial rebalancings. Unbalanced concludes with a recipe for resolving the escalating tensions of codependence. Roach argues that the Next China offers much for the Next America—and vice versa.

    —Yale University Press

     
     
  9. Sporting Gender: Women Athletes and Celebrity-Making During China’s National Crisis, 1931-45 from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    When China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics—and amazed international observers with both its pageantry and gold-medal count—it made a very public statement about the country’s surge to global power. Yet, China has a much longer history of using sport to communicate a political message.

    Sporting Gender is the first book to explore the rise to fame of female athletes in China during its national crisis of 1931-45 brought on by the Japanese invasion. By re-mapping lives and careers of individual female athletes, administrators, and film actors within a wartime context, Gao shows how these women coped with the conflicting demands of nationalist causes, unwanted male attention, and modern fame. While addressing the themes of state control, media influence, fashion, and changes in gender roles, she argues that the athletic female form helped to create a new ideal of modern womanhood in China at time when women’s emancipation and national needs went hand in hand. This book brings vividly to life the histories of these athletes and demonstrates how intertwined they were with the aims of the state and the needs of society. —University of British Columbia Press

     
     
  10. Sporting Gender: Women Athletes and Celebrity-Making During China’s National Crisis, 1931-45 from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

    When China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics—and amazed international observers with both its pageantry and gold-medal count—it made a very public statement about the country’s surge to global power. Yet, China has a much longer history of using sport to communicate a political message.

    Sporting Gender is the first book to explore the rise to fame of female athletes in China during its national crisis of 1931-45 brought on by the Japanese invasion. By re-mapping lives and careers of individual female athletes, administrators, and film actors within a wartime context, Gao shows how these women coped with the conflicting demands of nationalist causes, unwanted male attention, and modern fame. While addressing the themes of state control, media influence, fashion, and changes in gender roles, she argues that the athletic female form helped to create a new ideal of modern womanhood in China at time when women’s emancipation and national needs went hand in hand. This book brings vividly to life the histories of these athletes and demonstrates how intertwined they were with the aims of the state and the needs of society. —University of British Columbia Press