Book cover of The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire by Henrietta Harrison
Asia

The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire 

An impressive new history of China’s relations with the West—told through the lives of two language interpreters who participated in the famed Macartney embassy in 1793

The 1793 British embassy to China, which led to Lord George Macartney’s fraught encounter with the Qianlong emperor, has often been viewed as a clash of cultures fueled by the East’s disinterest in the West. […Learn More]

Book cover of Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern by Jing Tsu
Asia

Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern

After a meteoric rise, China today is one of the world’s most powerful nations. Just a century ago, it was a crumbling empire with literacy reserved for the elite few, as the world underwent a massive technological transformation that threatened to leave them behind. In Kingdom of Characters, Jing Tsu argues that China’s most daunting challenge was a linguistic one: the century-long fight to make the formidable Chinese language accessible to the modern world of global trade and digital technology. […Learn More]

Book cover of Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today's China by Desmond Shum
Asia

Red Roulette: An Insider’s Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today’s China

As Desmond Shum was growing up impoverished in China, he vowed his life would be different. Through hard work and sheer tenacity he earned an American college degree and returned to his native country to establish himself in business. There, he met his future wife, the highly intelligent and equally ambitious Whitney Duan who was determined to make her mark within China’s male-dominated society. Whitney and Desmond formed an effective team and, aided by relationships they formed with top members of China’s Communist Party, the so-called red aristocracy, he vaulted into China’s billionaire class. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Chinese Typewriter: A History by Thomas Mullaney
Asia

The Chinese Typewriter: A History

How Chinese characters triumphed over the QWERTY keyboard and laid the foundation for China’s information technology successes today.

Chinese writing is character based, the one major world script that is neither alphabetic nor syllabic. Through the years, the Chinese written language encountered presumed alphabetic universalism in the form of Morse Code, Braille, stenography, Linotype, punch cards, word processing, and other systems developed with the Latin alphabet in mind. […Learn More]

Book cover of Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia by Eric Schluessel
Asia

Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia

At the close of the nineteenth century, near the end of the Qing empire, Confucian revivalists from central China gained control of the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang, or East Turkestan. There they undertook a program to transform Turkic-speaking Muslims into Chinese-speaking Confucians, seeking to bind this population and their homeland to the Chinese cultural and political realm. Instead of assimilation, divisions between communities only deepened, resulting in a profound estrangement that continues to this day. […Learn More]

Book cover of China Unbound: A New World Disorder by Joanna Chiu
Asia

China Unbound: A New World Disorder

While the United States stumbles, an award-winning foreign correspondent chronicles China’s dramatic moves to become a dominant power.

As the world’s second-largest economy, China is extending its influence across the globe with the complicity of democratic nations. Joanna Chiu has spent a decade tracking China’s propulsive rise, from the political aspects of the multi-billion-dollar “New Silk Road” global investment project to a growing sway on foreign countries and multilateral institutions through “United Front” efforts. […Learn More]

Book cover of The War on the Uyghurs: China's Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority by Sean R. Roberts
Asia

The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority

How China is using the US-led war on terror to erase the cultural identity of its Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region

Within weeks of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the Chinese government warned that it faced a serious terrorist threat from its Uyghur ethnic minority, who are largely Muslim. In this explosive book, Sean Roberts reveals how China has been using the US-led global war on terror as international cover for its increasingly brutal suppression of the Uyghurs, and how the war’s targeting of an undefined enemy has emboldened states around the globe to persecute ethnic minorities and severely repress domestic opposition in the name of combatting terrorism. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Amur River: Between Russia and China by Colin Thubron
Asia

The Amur River: Between Russia and China

The most admired travel writer of our time—author of Shadow of the Silk Road and To a Mountain in Tibet—recounts an eye-opening, often perilous journey along a little known Far East Asian river that for over a thousand miles forms the highly contested border between Russia and China.

The Amur River is almost unknown. Yet it is the tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific. For 1,100 miles it forms the tense border between Russia and China. Simmering with the memory of land-grabs and unequal treaties, this is the most densely fortified frontier on earth.  […Learn More]

Book cover of China's Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia
Asia

China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia

Under the ambitious leadership of President Xi Jinping, China is zealously transforming its wealth and economic power into potent tools of global political influence. But China’s foreign policy initiatives, even the vaunted “Belt and Road,” will be shaped and redefined as they confront the ground realities of local and regional politics outside China.  […Learn More]

Book cover of China's Gilded Age by Yuen Yuen Ang
Asia

China’s Gilded Age

Why has China grown so fast for so long despite vast corruption? In China’s Gilded Age, Yuen Yuen Ang maintains that all corruption is harmful, but not all types of corruption hurt growth. Ang unbundles corruption into four varieties: petty theft, grand theft, speed money, and access money. While the first three types impede growth, access money – elite exchanges of power and profit – cuts both ways: it stimulates investment and growth but produces serious risks for the economy and political system. Since market opening, corruption in China has evolved toward access money. […Learn More]