China: Fragile Superpower (2nd edition)

Susan L. Shirk

Once a sleeping giant, China today is the world's fastest growing economy, the leading manufacturer of cell phones, laptop computers, and digital cameras-a dramatic turn-around that alarms many Westerners. But in China: Fragile Superpower, Susan L. Shirk opens up the black box of Chinese politics and finds that the real danger lies elsewhere-not in China's astonishing growth, but in the deep insecurity of its leaders. China's leaders face a troubling paradox: the more developed and prosperous the country becomes, the more insecure and threatened they feel. Shirk, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for China, knows many of today's Chinese rulers personally and has studied them for three decades. She offers invaluable insight into how they think-and what they fear. In this revealing book, readers see the world through the eyes of men like President Hu Jintao and former President Jiang Zemin. We discover a fragile communist regime desperate to survive in a society turned upside down by miraculous economic growth and a stunning new openness to the greater world. Indeed, ever since the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Chinese leaders have been afraid of China's own citizens, and this fear motivates many of their decisions when dealing with the U.S. and other nations. In particular, the fervent nationalism of the Chinese people, combined with their passionate resentment of Japan and attachment to Taiwan, have made relations with this country a minefield. This new edition is thoroughly revised and updated, and includes two entirely new chapters on Tibet and Xingjiang as "core interests" and on the new assertive China.


Chapter 1 Strong Abroad but Fragile at Home
Chapter 2 China's Economic Miracle
Chapter 3 Domestic Threats
Chapter 4 The Echo Chamber of Nationalism: Media and the Internet
Chapter 5 The Responsible Power
Chapter 6 Japan: When the Chinese People Get Angry, the Result is Always Big Trouble
Chapter 7 Taiwan: A Question of Regime Survival
Chapter 8 The United States: External Troubles Can Become Internal Troubles
Chapter 9 China's Weakness, America's Danger


Susan L. Shirk is Director of the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and Professor at UC-San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. A leading authority on China, she has has written numerous books and articles on this subject, including pieces that have appeared in Washington Post, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal.