cover image The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power

The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power

Edited by Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi. Harvard Univ., $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-674-97940-6

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. In a piece on the U.S.’s response to the flexing of Chinese military power, for example, Robert Ross, a political scientist at Boston College, charges Washington with simultaneously failing to improve ties with allies in the region and to “manage Chinese perceptions of U.S. intentions.” The editors have done an excellent job of pruning jargon and creating succinct essays on complex topics, though in some cases an article’s brevity is a shortcoming: in writing about religion in China, for example, James Robson, a professor of East Asian languages and civilizations at Harvard, takes a largely top-down approach, focusing on the state’s changing attitude toward religion while saying very little on religious practices themselves. Still, this is a highly informative, readable collection for scholars and nonscholars alike. (Jan.)