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Chinese Characters

Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

An artist paints landscapes of faraway places that she cannot identify in order to find her place in the global economy. A migrant worker sorts recyclables and thinks deeply about the soul of his country, while a Taoist mystic struggles to keep his traditions alive. An entrepreneur capitalizes on a growing car culture by trying to convince people not to buy cars. And a 90-year-old woman remembers how the oldest neighborhoods of her city used to be.

These are the exciting and saddening, humorous and confusing stories of utterly ordinary people who are living through China's extraordinary transformations. The immense variety in the lives of these Chinese characters dispels any lingering sense that China has a monolithic population or is just a place where dissidents fight Communist Party loyalists and laborers create goods for millionaires.

Chinese Characters is a collection, as Pankaj Mishra writes in his foreword, "to herald a new golden age of journalism about a ceaselessly fascinating country." Contributors include a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, a Macarthur Fellow, the China correspondent to a major Indian newspaper, and scholars whose depth of understanding is matched only by the humanity with which they treat their subjects. Their stories together create a multi-faceted portrait of a country in motion and an introduction to some of the best writing on China today.

With contributions from:

Alec Ash

James Carter

Leslie T. Chang

Xujun Eberlein

Harriet Evans

Anna Greenspan

Peter Hessler

Ian Johnson

Ananth Krishnan

Christina Larson

Michelle Dammon Loyalka

James Millward

Evan Osnos

Jeffrey Prescott

Megan Shank

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 30, 2012 – Edited by UC-Irvine history professor Wasserstrom (China in the 21st Century) and journalist Shah, this anthology chronicles the difficulties and contradictions faced by Chinese citizens, as well as emerging opportunities. As Shah notes in her afterword, “Oversimplified views, which too often pit Communist Party loyalists against a few famous dissidents, have done much to fuel cartoonish understandings of China.” The reality is far more complex, and in providing 15 essays by different authors, the book shows citizens (and foreigners) of all ages adjusting to the rapidly modernizing country, working both in cautious tandem with, and against, the single-party government. With the rise of the middle class, the prevalence of migrant labor, and a measure of independence from government control of private life, citizens are seizing strange new opportunities: bringing rock guitar to the Chinese masses, starting a rental car business, or simply floating from job to job. However, problems abound: racial tensions between the Uyghurs and Han Chinese simmer; activists reveal the hidden environmental costs of massive government works projects; and children spend every minute of their days on schoolwork. The essays cover a panoply of issues facing modern China, and the book’s combination of scope and intimacy is central to its achievement.
Chinese Characters
View in iTunes
  • $18.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Sep 28, 2012
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Seller: University of California Press
  • Print Length: 244 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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