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China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power

by ,

"When China wakes, it will shake the world." Napolean Bonaparte once remarked. That moment is now at hand. This work brings to life the people, the politics and the paradoxes of China as never before. It combines reportage with the authors' personal account of how they came to discover the human stories within the world's most populous nation. Attracted by China's potential for greatness and repelled by its propensity for cruelty, the authors' struggle to reconcile their optimism about China's future with the brutality that always seems to break their hearts. This book is the story of China's economic take-off. Kristoff and WuDunn, the first married couple ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for journalism, take readers with them to meet their friends (and enemies) and share their concerns - especially WuDunn's ambivalence about how, as a Chinese-American, she must come to terms with the legacy of her ancestral homeland. WuDunn takes readers along as she slips into a China usually hidden from foreigners, a China of cabinet ministers making unwanted advances on local women and of peasants who cannot afford pants for their children. Kristoff tells how he witnessed Chinese troops massacring protesters at Tiannanmen Square, and later came face to face with the man who betrayed the leaders of the democracy movement to the police. With the Chinese economy (the world's third largest) on a trajectory to overtake Japan and the United States in the coming decades, this book describes a spectacular economic boom that has enabled a 23-year-old to start his own airline and a manual labourer to become a millionaire furniture manufacturer. But they also reveal the chilling paradox lurking beneath these rags-to-riches stories - despite the stock markets and the cellular telephones, China has retained its totalitarian infrastructure, including the notorious "shackleboards" to which dissidents are strapped and brutally tortured. And with the world's largest army, the People's Republic continues to embody a tremendous challenge to the stability of the Pacific Rim. Hide synopsis

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