China  -  Fragile Superpower

China - Fragile Superpower

Product ID: 24437

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Author: Susan L Shirk
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 320
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780195696943


Once a sleeping giant, China today is the world's fastest growing economy--the leading manufacturer of cell phones, laptop computers, and digital cameras--a dramatic turn-around that alarms many Westerners. But in China: The fragile Superpower, Susan L. Shirk opens up the black box of Chinese politics and finds that the real danger lies not in China’s astonishing growth, but in the deep insecurity of its leaders. China's rulers face a troubling paradox: the more developed and prosperous the country becomes, the more insecure and threatened they feel.

Shirk, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for China, knows many of today's Chinese rulers personally and has studied them for three decades. She offers invaluable insight into how they think--and what they fear.

In this revealing book, readers see the world through the eyes of men like President Hu Jintao and former President Jiang Zemin. We discover a communist regime desperate to survive in a society turned upside down by miraculous economic growth and a stunning new openness to the greater world. Indeed, ever since the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Chinese leaders have been haunted by the fear that their days in Power are numbered.

Theirs is a regime afraid of its own citizens, and this fear motivates many of their decisions when dealing with the United States and other foreign nations. In particular, the fervent nationalism of the Chinese people, combined with their passionate resentment of Japan and attachment to Taiwan, have made relations with these two regions a minefield. It is here, Shirk concludes, in the tangled interactions between Japan, Taiwan, China, and the United States, that the greatest danger lies.

Shirk argues that rising powers such as China tend to provoke wars in large part because other countries mishandle them. Unless we understand China's brittle internal politics and the insecurities of its leaders, we face the very real possibility of avoidable conflict with rising China. This book provides that understanding.


“Susan Shirk has written the definitive book at the right time. For those seeking an objective look at the new China, your search is over. The bonus is that Fragile Superpower is as fascinating as it is informative. A great accomplishment.”
- Madeleine K. Albright

“Now more than ever we need a realistic approach for dealing with China’s rising power. Susan Shirk has an insider’s grasp of China’s politics and firm understanding of what makes its leaders tick. China: Fragile Superpower is an important and necessary book.”
- Brent Scowcroft

“In this eye-opening work, Susan details China’s incredible economic progress while lifting the rug on its severe internal problems. She has injected a dose of realism into a distorted vision of China which has been promoted by gushing China watchers who focus on Shanghai’s skyline.”
- James lilley

“Although other problems dominate the news today, a rising China presents America’s greatest long-term challenge. Susan Shirk’s excellent book argues compellingly that it also pose the greatest challenge to China’s leaders. How they meet this challenge affects not only China, but also the U.S. and indeed the world.”

- William J.Perry

“A major statement about the present condition of China’s political system and the hidden hazards on the road ahead.”

- Andrew Walder



Strong Abroad but Fragile at Home

China’s Economic Miracle

Domestic Threats

The Echo Chamber of Nationalism: Media and the Internet

The Responsible Power

Japan: “When the Chinese People Get Angry, the Result Is Always Big Trouble”

Taiwan: “A Question of Regime Survival”

The United States: “External Troubles Can Become Internal Troubles”

China’s Weakness, America’s Danger

Appendix: Chinese and Japanese Periodicals