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Reading List for Aspiring China-watchers (and Presidents)

With the [Shanghai International Literary Festival]( http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/articles/blogs-shanghai/shanghai-book-club/silf-2009-the-schedule/) coming up in March--and lots of **heavy hitter intellectual-types** rolling into town--it’s time to better ourselves with knowledge. And since we’re in China, it ought to be China-knowledge. There’s no better place to start for China knowledge than [The China Beat](http://thechinabeat.blogspot.com/) which has just come out with a fascinating two part suggested reading list for **President Barack Obama**. Even though we may not be responsible for maintaining harmonious relations between two superpowers (or are we?) the list is a valuable and very accessible primer for anyone interested in contemporary China. Highlights include:
[Beyond Tiananmen](http://www.brookings.edu/press/Books/2003/0615international-affairs.aspx) by Robert Suettinger
[China Into the Future](http://www.asianreviewofbooks.com/arb/article.php?article=846) edited by John Hoffman and Michael Enright
[The River Runs Black](http://www.cfr.org/publication/6920/) by Elizabeth Economy
[Chinese Lessons](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5639627) by John Pomfret

Here’s the full [list 1](http://thechinabeat.blogspot.com/2009/01/presidential-reading-recommendations.html) and here’s the full [list 2](http://thechinabeat.blogspot.com/2009/01/presidential-reading-recommendations-ii.html)

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utensils1977's picture


This is great - thanks for this!


That looks like an excellent recommendation. But isn't it equally true that Western diplomatic "pressure" on China has helped create positive social change?
jmcshg's picture


One piece that I did not see listed on the list is Will Hutton's "the Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century". This offers a critical look at China, as what can be best described as a "house of cards" that if not handled correctly both internally and externally may come crumbling down. What Obama or any international diplomat, for that matter, must understand is that provocation of the Chinese leadership will only lead to deconstructive outcomes. America and the West need China just as much as China needs the West. The biggest thing that has to be remembered is that the domestic actions taken by the Central Party, although difficult for most in the west to digest and justify, are at times needed to steer the boat through troubled waters. China is not like the west in many fronts, education, diplomacy, business, and culture most of all. These differences call for different actions, actions that some of us in the West may not be comfortable with. But, if in the long run peace is maintained, growth is fostered, and people are more free than in years gone by, then we will know that right course of action was taken. Read the book and so many others to give you a full perspective on this massive giant that is China. --Joseph Constanty Co-founder NextStepDirectory.com
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