Rating

8

Qualities

  • Comprehensive
  • Overview
  • For Beginners

Recommendation

Futurist John Naisbitt was never one for understatement, and that holds true with this sweeping book on China. His early works broke ground and brought provocative ideas to light. This book, written with his wife, Doris Naisbitt, is less revolutionary. With warm enthusiasm, the authors present a comprehensive, generous compilation of eight major forces shaping China. They explain China’s politics simply and straightforwardly, with a generous dose of quotes from former leader Deng Xiaoping and others. The Naisbitts’ prose style and their slogans or sayings seem to lilt with a slightly Chinese cadence and, sometimes, even sentence structure. The book is not directed at cognoscenti who seek academic or deep coverage of China’s complexities, contradictions and challenges. Instead, getAbstract finds that it is a very accessible look at how China is evolving today, written for an interested but not expert general audience and slightly sugared with an accent on the positive. The authors praise China’s leaders – and even laud the fact that most leaders aren’t elected – and believe that criticism of China is based on misunderstandings that will clear up as the eight forces they list come to fruition over time.

Summary

“Pillar 1: Emancipation of the Mind”

Eight pillars mark the rise of modern China. The first is an end to doctrinaire thinking. Deng Xiaoping, who came to power in 1978 after the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, recognized the hazards of dogma and the harm done by brutal restrictions on ideas. He inherited an impoverished China, its population forced into passivity by decades of formulaic communism. Deng began the liberation process with his support of 18 farmers who bravely risked their lives by dividing up communal land and taking individual responsibility for cultivating and selling crops.

Widespread agricultural reforms triggered China’s emancipation, but freeing minds is a long process and China generally moves slowly. After millennia of authoritarian governments and top-down social structures, plus decades of communal property, many people felt discouraged about innovation or risk. Deng and his successors moved patiently to privatize unprofitable state-owned enterprises and build a modern financial system. The results legitimized the unelected regime. In the intervening years, China has cautiously re-evaluated Mao Zedong’s legacy. Esteemed for his undeniable ...

About the Authors

John Naisbitt has studied China since 1967 and has visited more than 100 times. Since 2007, Doris Naisbitt has directed the Naisbitt China Institute. She is also a professor at Nankai University.


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