Contemporary China: A History since 1978

Contemporary China: A History since 1978

Contemporary China: A History since 1978

Contemporary China: A History since 1978


Using new research and considering a multidisciplinary set of factors, Contemporary China offers a comprehensive exploration of the making of contemporary China.

  • Provides a unique perspective on China, incorporating newly published materials from within and outside China, in English and Chinese. Discusses both the societal and economic aspects of China's development, and how these factors have affected Chinese elite politics
  • Includes coverage of recent political scandals such as the dismissal of Bo Xilai and the intrigue surrounding the 18th National Congress elections in late 2012
  • Discusses the reasons for--and ramifications of--the gap that exists between western perceptions of China and China itself


The contemporary world frequently presents a baffling spectacle: “New world orders” come and go; “Clashes of civilizations” seem imminent if not actual; “Peace dividends” appear easily lost in the post; terrorism and “wars on terror” occupy the headlines. “Mature” states live alongside “failed” states in mutual apprehension. the “rules” of the international game, in these circumstances, are difficult to discern. What “international law” is, or is not, remains enduringly problematic. Certainly it is a world in which there are still frontiers, borders, and boundaries but both metaphorically and in reality they are difficult to patrol and maintain. “Asylum” occupies the headlines as populations shift across continents, driven by fear. Other migrants simply seek a better standard of living. the organs of the “international community,” though frequently invoked, look inadequate to deal with the myriad problems confronting the world. Climate change, however induced, is not susceptible to national control. Famine seems endemic in certain countries. Population pressures threaten finite resources. It is in this context that globalization, however understood, is both demonized and lauded.

Such a list of contemporary problems could be amplified in detail and almost indefinitely extended. It is a complex world, ripe for investigation in this ambitious new series of books. “Contemporary,” of course, is always difficult to define. the focus in this series is on the evolution of the world since the 1980s. As time passes, and as the volumes appear, it no longer seems sensible to equate “the world since 1945” with “contemporary history.” the legacy of the “Cold War” lingers on but it is emphatically “in the background.” the fuzziness about “the 1980s” is deliberate. No single year ever carries the same significance across the globe. Authors are therefore establishing their own precise starting points, within the overall “contemporary” framework.

The series treats the history of particular regions, countries or continents but does so in full awareness that such histories, for all their continuing distinctiveness, can only rarely be considered apart from the history of the world . . .

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