The rise of China is the most significant development in world affairs in this generation. No nation in history has risen as quickly or modernized as rapidly as has China over the four decades. This sixth edition of The China Reader chronicles the diverse aspects of this transition since the late-1990s. It is comprehensive in scope and draws upon both primary Chinese sources and secondary Western analyses written by the world's leading experts on contemporary China. Perfectly suited as both a textbook for students as well as for specialists and the public alike, the volume covers the full range of China's internal and external developments.
During the past three decades China dramatically modernized its economy and taken a position as one of the two major powers in the world. Its mega-economy has skyrocketed to being the second largest in the world, and will soon surpass the United States on aggregate. The physical transformation of the country has been extraordinary to witness, with infrastructure development unparalleled in human history. Modern cities featuring futuristic architecture have literally risen from farmland across the country.
As China has developed domestically, it has also taken its place as a major power on the world stage. Whether in its relations with other powers-the United States, Russia, and European Union-with its neighbors in Asia or other countries across the world, China is now a major factor in international relations. Its businesses are "going global" and its people are establishing their footprint from Antarctica to outer space.
For all its newfound prowess, China's rise has not been a smooth process. Domestically, the nation's juggernaut economy has produced numerous negative social and environmental side-effects. Its political system remains anachronistic and authoritarian, with substantial repression. Externally, Beijing's rapid military modernization and regional territorial claims have alarmed China's neighbors. Its relationship with the United States is complex and increasingly strained. And its "soft power" remains limited.
Still, the rise of China is the story of the current era. The China Reader is a perfect window into the complexities of this historic process.