22 January 2018

“The China Questions” Tops SupChina’s 2017 Winter Reading List

From SupChina: “Your brain needs expanding, and you need to buy gifts for your smart friends! We’re here to help with our selection of books recommended by our editors.”

“All the books on our [2017 winter reading] list have been published within the past six months. If you think we’ve left out something important, please let us know: editors@supchina.com. If you need more recommendations, check out our 2017 summer reading list.”


The China Questions: Critical Insights Into a Rising Power

  • Edited by Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi

“This collection of short essays by a veritable who’s who of the China-watching community tackles some of the most frequently asked questions across a wide range of topics, from elite politics to Chinese identity, from economics to the environment, and from ethnic tensions to historiography. The 30 authors are all affiliates of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and the editors have done an admirable job in keeping each essay brief, accessible, and chock-full of insight.”



Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi, eds., The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017).

Published to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies with 36 chapters contributed by its faculty and affiliates, The China Questions presents the most important issues in the fields of China’s politics, international relations, economy, environment, society, and history and culture.

Click here to order from Harvard University Press.

For media inquiries, please contact James Evans at jamesevans [at] fas.harvard.edu.

Click here to Google Search inside the volume.


Jennifer Rudolph is Associate Professor of modern Chinese political history at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Michael Szonyi is Professor of Chinese History at Harvard University.



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.





“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, 2017.




1. Is the Chinese Communist Regime Legitimate? [Elizabeth J. Perry]         11

2. Can Fighting Corruption Save the Party? [Joseph Fewsmith]         18

3. Does Mao Still Matter? [Roderick MacFarquhar]         26

4. What Is the Source of Ethnic Tension in China? [Mark Elliott]         33

5. What Should We Know about Public Opinion in China? [Ya-Wen Lei]         43

6. What Does Longevity Mean for Leadership in China? [Arunabh Ghosh]         51

7. Can the Chinese Communist Party Learn from Chinese Emperors? [Yuhua Wang]         58


8. Will China Lead Asia? [Odd Arne Westad]         67

9. How Strong Are China’s Armed Forces? [Andrew S. Erickson]          73 (pp. 73-80)

10. What Does the Rise of China Mean for the United States? [Robert S. Ross]         81

11. Is Chinese Exceptionalism Undermining China’s Foreign Policy Interests? [Alastair Iain Johnston]         90

12. (When) Will Taiwan Reunify with the Mainland? [Steven M. Goldstein]         99

13. Can China and Japan Ever Get Along? [Ezra F. Vogel]         110


14. Can China’s High Growth Continue? [Richard N. Cooper]         119

15. Is the Chinese Economy Headed toward a Hard Landing? [Dwight H. Perkins]         126

16. Will Urbanization Save the Chinese Economy or Destroy It? [Meg Rithmire]         133

17. Is China Keeping Its Promises on Trade? [Mark Wu]         141

18. How Do China’s New Rich Give Back? [Tony Saich]         148

19. What Can China Teach Us about Fighting Poverty? [Nara Dillon]         155


20. Can China Address Air Pollution and Climate Change? [Michael B. McElroy]         165

21. Is There Environmental Awareness in China? [Karen Thornber]         173


22. Why Does the End of the One-Child Policy Matter? [Susan Greenhalgh]         183

23. How Are China and Its Middle Class Handling Aging and Mental Health? [Arthur Kleinman]         191

24. How Important Is Religion in China? [James Robson]         199

25. Will There Be Another Dalai Lama? [Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp]         206

26. Does Law Matter in China? [William P. Alford]         212

27. Why Do So Many Chinese Students Come to the United States? [William C. Kirby]         219


28. Who Is Confucius in Today’s China? [Michael Puett]         231

29. Where Did the Silk Road Come From? [Rowan Flad]         237

30. Why Do Intellectuals Matter to Chinese Politics? [Peter K. Bol]         244

31. Why Do Classic Chinese Novels Matter? [Wai-yee Li]         252

32. How Have Chinese Writers Imagined China’s Future? [David Der-wei Wang]         261

33. Has Chinese Propaganda Won Hearts and Minds? [Jie Li]         268

34. Why Is It Still So Hard to Talk about the Cultural Revolution? [Xiaofei Tian]         276

35. What Is the Future of China’s Past? [Stephen Owen]         283

36. How Has the Study of China Changed in the Last Sixty Years? [Paul A. Cohen]         288

  • Further Reading         297
  • Acknowledgments         309
  • Contributors         311
  • Index         325




$27.95 • £22.95 • €25.00

ISBN 9780674979406

Available 12/11/2017

352 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

4 graphs, 2 tables



History: Asia: China

Political Science: World: Asian

Social Science: Developing & Emerging Countries

Political Science: International Relations: General