Preface to the Turn of the
Century Edition

China: A Macro History was first published in November 1988. Most of the material was drafted two or three years earlier. My trip to Harbin in 1987 (see below) enabled me to put some finishing touches on it. Suffice it to say that the book is ten years old. Pressure has built up to revise it.

Indeed, a great deal has taken place in the past decade. Only six months after the book came off press, there was the Tiananmen massacre or incident, depending on how you look at it. Since then there has been the annual debate on China's trade status in Congress. Issues over human rights have been raised often. China's arms sales and copyright infringements caused further disputes. Last year, the presidential election in Taiwan became a point of contention. The firing of missiles into the Formosan strait by the People's Liberation Army created momentary international tensions. But the Chinese economy continued to make double-digit advances. All over the country, millions of new personal computers have appeared, many linked to the internet. There is sufficient material for not only revising one book, but also for writing several new ones.

All this creates a serious dilemma for me and for China: A Macro History.

The reader must keep in mind that the concept of a "macrohistory" is similar to what is called a "mega-trend"; it deals with the general direction, not all the specific details. If I have mentioned that "a medieval town can change its skyline rapidly and dramatically, often in just

-ix-

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