Some Useful Sources on Modern China - An Annotated Bibliography

Asian Power and Politics: The Cultural dimension of Authority
Lucien W. Pye with Mary W. Pye. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 1985.

This is a excellently-researched book delves into the traditional concepts of power and authority in East Asia. It clearly shows that these concepts still inform government structure in the region today. Essential reading for those who want to understand modern Asian political systems.

Asian Values and Human Rights: a Confucian Communitarian Perspective
William Theodore De Bary, Princeton: Harvard University Press, 2000.

The author argues that while the Confucian sense of personhood differs somewhat from the Western Libertarian concepts of the individual, it is not incompatible with human rights, in fact it could enhance them. This provides use with a more rounded view on the Chinese human rights debate.

The Search for Modern China
Jonathon Spence, W.W. Norton & Co, Reprint edition, 2001.

This is an excellent survey of contemporary China with solid historical backdrop in great and reasoned detail. This books chronicles the immense changes of modern China as seen in the context of the last 300 years. Spence is not afraid to voice his opinions in eloquent and concise prose.

The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution
Jonathon Spence, Viking Press, 1982.

This book is a description of the Chinese political and social revolution that took place from the last days of the Empire until after the establishment of the PRC. Spence focuses on individual ideas and the transformation of intellectual thought during this tumultuous period of Chinese history.

The Literature of China in the Twentieth Century
Bonnie S. McDougall and Kam Louie.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997.

This work should be a basic reference for anyone interested in Chinese literature of the last 100 years. Divided into fiction, drama and poetry, this concise volume discusses how each genre has developed, the major writers, dramatists and poets and their major works. This book will provide context for more in-depth literary study.

New Ghosts, Old Dreams
Geremie Barme and Linda Jaivin (editors), Times Books, 1992.

A collection of primary sources from China in the 1980s, written by counterculture figures, dissidents, writers and others leading up to the Tiananmen massacre of June 1989. This serves as a useful companion piece to political analyses of the period. The voices ring out passionately and vehemently.


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