by Susan Shirk
Winner, The Lionel Gelber Prize
Silver Medal, Arthur Ross Book Award
For decades, China’s rise to power was characterized by its reassurance that this rise would be peaceful. Then, as Susan L. Shirk, shows in this sobering, clear-eyed account of China today, something changed.
For three decades after Mao’s death in 1976, China’s leaders adopted a restrained approach to foreign policy. They determined that any threat to their power, and that of the Chinese Communist Party, came not from abroad but from within, a conclusion cemented by the 1989 Tiananmen crisis. To facilitate the country’s inexorable economic ascendence, and to prevent a backlash, they reassured the outside world of China’s peaceful intentions.