"The Search for a Vanishing Beijing weaves the genres of travel essays and travel guides into a comprehensive narrative about the cultural mosaic of the capital of China.
President Nixon's historic trip to China in February 1972 marked the beginning of a new era in Sino-American relations. For the first time since 1949, the two countries established high-level official contacts and transformed their relationship from confrontation to collaboration. Over the subsequent twenty years, however, U.S.-China relations have experienced repeated cycles of progress, stalemate, and crisis, with the events in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 the most recent and disruptive example. Paradoxically, although relations between the two countries are vastly more extensive today than they were twenty years ago, they remain highly fragile. In this eagerly awaited book, China expert Harry Harding offers the first comprehensive look at Sino-American relations from 1972 to the present. He traces the evolution of U.S.-China relations, and assesses American policy toward Peking in the post- Tiananmen era. Harding analyzes the changing contexts for the Sino-American relationship, particularly the rapidly evolving international environment, changes in American economic and political life, and the dramatic domestic developments in both China and Taiwan. He discusses the principal substantive issues in U.S.-China relations, including the way in which the two countries have addressed their differences over Taiwan and human rights, and how they have approached the blend of common and competitive interests in their economic and strategic relationships. He also addresses the shifting political base for Sino-American relations within each country, including the development of each society's perceptions of the other, and the emergence and dissolution of rival political coalitions supporting and opposing the relationship. Harding concludes that a return to the Sino-American strategic alignment of the 1970s, or even to the economic partnership of the 1980s, is less likely in the 1990s than continued tension or even confrontation over such issues as trade, human rights, and the proliferation of advanced weapons. But he also explains the importance of maintaining normal working relations with China in order to promote security in East Asia, protect the global environment, and encourage an open, more realistic and stable relationship with China. Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Book of 1992 Award winner for excellence in publishing from the Association of American Publishers
IN the earliest eras of historic Japan there existed a hereditary corporation of raconteurs (Katari-be) who, from generation to generation, performed the function of reciting the exploits of the sovereigns and the deeds of heroes. They accompanied themselves on musical instruments, and naturally, as time went by, each set of raconteurs embellished the language of their predecessors, adding supernatural elements, and introducing details which belonged to the realm of romance rather than to that of ordinary history. These Katari-be would seem to have been the sole repository of their country's annals until the sixth century of the Christian era. Their repertories of recitation included records of the great families as well as of the sovereigns, and it is easy to conceive that the favour and patronage of these high personages were earned by ornamenting the traditions of their households and exalting their pedigrees. But when the art of writing was introduced towards the close of the fourth century, or at the beginning of the fifth, and it was seen that in China, then the centre of learning and civilization, the art had been applied to the compilation of a national history as well as of other volumes possessing great ethical value, the Japanese conceived the ambition of similarly utilizing their new attainment. For reasons which will be understood by and by, the application of the ideographic script to the language of Japan was a task of immense difficulty, and long years must have passed before the attainment of any degree of proficiency.
Journalist Michael Meyer has spent his adult life in China, first in a small village as a Peace Corps volunteer, the last decade in Beijing--where he has witnessed the extraordinary transformation the country has experienced in that time. For the past two years he has been completely immersed in the ancient city, living on one of its famed hutong in a century-old courtyard home he shares with several families, teaching English at a local elementary school--while all around him "progress" closes in as the neighborhood is methodically destroyed to make way for high-rise buildings, shopping malls, and other symbols of modern, urban life. The city, he shows, has been demolished many times before; however, he writes, "the epitaph for Beijing will read: born 1280, died 2008...what emperors, warlords, Japanese invaders, and Communist planners couldn't eradicate, the market economy can." The Last Days of Old Beijing tells the story of this historic city from the inside out-through the eyes of those whose lives are in the balance: the Widow who takes care of Meyer; his students and fellow teachers, the first-ever description of what goes on in a Chinese public school; the local historian who rallies against the government. The tension of preservation vs. modernization--the question of what, in an ancient civilization, counts as heritage, and what happens when a billion people want to live the way Americans do--suffuse Meyer's story.
This book is the first analytical treatment in any language of the "most durable 'sino-foreign' institution in modern Chinese history." It traces the beginnings of a Russian-Orthodox presence in Peking several decades back before the commonly held date of its origin. It also shows how the news of the plight of prisoners from the Russian fortress of Albazin (taken by the Ch'ing in 1685) was transmitted back to Russia, and how the indecisiveness of the official Russian response colored the entire subsequent history of the mission. The chapters on the Orthodox missionary life in Peking and on the institutions of the mission provide us with new insight into life in the Ch'ing capital. The tentative beginnings of Russian scholarly and scientific interest in Chinese matters, an outgrowth of the missionary presence in Peking, are also discussed. The book tackles an especially difficult case, for by ordinary standards the Russian ecclesiastical mission was a failure, not a success. The monks and students were an unruly lot, the mission itself never functioned as a full diplomatic institution, and the Chinese frequently treated the missionaries with neglect or disdain. Yet, as the author demonstrates, even this apparent failure had a purpose. The mission served to maintain a minimal contact between the two empires throughout a long period of conflicting ambitions and actions in the Inner Asian theater.
A. C. Scott s first visit to China in 1946 marked the beginning of a personal involvement with that nation s people and culture that would prove singular in its intensity, intimacy, and joy. Now, more than three decades later, an eminent Western authority on Asian theatre looks back on those early years of discovery in a memoir that is at once compelling drama and vividly etched history. This is an explorer s impressions of a world which few foreigners have ever seen and a scholar s unique depiction of pre-liberation China, its society, customs, and theatre, before the final curtain fell. For anyone interested in Chinese culture, history, or drama, or intrigued by the increasingly rare genre of travelogue, Scott s achievement will prove both enjoyable and invaluable."
The idea for a study of Indian foreign poliey originated during a diplomatie posting to New Delhi between 1957 and 1960. These years were marked by the eruption of the Tibetan revolt, the arrival of the Dalai Lama and the first ineidents along the Sino-Indian border. My departure eoineided precisely with the landing of the aireraft earrying Premier Chou En-lai to the meeting with the Indian Prime Minister whieh would terminate the preliminary phase of the boundary dispute. The eonfliet subsequently assumed proportions affeeting the entire position of India. It provided the most severe testing ground for of Peaeeful eoexistenee whieh India Panehsheel, the Five Principles advoeated as a new and Asian eontribution to international relations. The object of this book is to traee the five principles from their optimistic start in an atmosphere of friendship with China to their decline as an instrument of praetical polities. As Panehsheel experieneed both its rise and fall in the bilateral eontext of Sino-Indian relations, these will be examined in eonsiderable detail. Most emphasis is put on the border dispute whieh represented the first eonfliet between a eommu nist power and a non-aligned state. The analysis of legal aspeets and politieal motives in the dispute is preeeded by a lengthy ehronological deseription, whieh seemed neeessary not only to eomplete the aeeounts given in other publieations, but also as an illustration ofboth its climaetie development and the gradual inerease of Chinese pressure.