Another classic attempt to "explain and understand" China from the CIA/NSC archives, this one is like some sort of unholy mash-up of John King Fairbank, Max Weber, Henry Luce, Edward Said, and the KMT propaganda department...but there is some useful archival footage as well as interviews with seminal American "China watchers" such as Theodore White and Pearl Buck. Huge h/t to my fellow historian G.T.
In class two weeks ago we were watching the documentary series China From the Inside when one of my students asked, with some reason, that if there was so much hardship and discontent why does the CCP enjoy such broad support?
It was a good question, and like all good questions it depends on whom you ask and how you phrase the question. A middle-class manager in a multi-national company in Beijing is likely to have a more favorable view of current policies than, say, a farmer living next door to a factory that blatantly ignores environmental regulations while making the products sold by the middle-class manager in Beijing.
This stands to reason. But I think on a more fundamental level there is something which brings the farmer and the yuppie together: the question of what do you fear the most?
In Western Europe and North American our dystopian nightmares, those of science fiction and political thrillers, as well as in our history books, involve tyrants who acquired too much … Continue Reading ››