About the book, from the publisher:
Among the reviews and endorsements for China: Fragile Superpower:
Once a sleeping giant,
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 : The 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. China
Shirk, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for
, 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 China Tiananmen Squareand the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Chinese leaders have been haunted by the fear that their days in power are numbered. Theirs is a regime afraid of its own citizens, and this fear motivates many of their decisions when dealing with the and other foreign nations. In particular, the fervent nationalism of the Chinese people, combined with their passionate resentment of U.S. and attachment to Japan , have made relations with these two regions a minefield. It is here, Shirk concludes, in the tangled interactions between Taiwan , Japan , Taiwan , and the China , that the greatest danger lies. United States
Shirk argues that rising powers such as
tend to provoke wars in large part because other countries mishandle them. Unless we understand China 's brittle internal politics and the fears that motivate its leaders, we face the very real possibility of avoidable conflict with China . This book provides that understanding. China
"Shirk's depth of knowledge about China - including personal acquaintance with many of its leaders - makes this book a valuable read."Susan Shirk is director of the
--Christian Science Monitor
"Susan Shirk has written the definitive book at the right time. For those seeking an objective look at the new China, your search is over. The bonus is that Fragile Superpower is as fascinating as it is informative. A great accomplishment."
--Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State
"Now more than ever we need a realistic approach for dealing with China's rising power. Susan Shirk has an insider's grasp of China's politics and a firm understanding of what makes its leaders tick. China: Fragile Superpower is an important and necessary book."
--Brent Scowcroft, former U.S. National Security Advisor
"Although other problems dominate the news today, a rising China presents America's greatest long-term challenge. Susan Shirk's excellent book argues compellingly that it also poses the greatest challenge to China's leaders. How they meet this challenge affects not only China, but also the U.S. and, indeed, the world."
--William J. Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense
"Susan Shirk's lively and perceptive book examines the constraints on Chinese foreign policy in an era of rapid socio-economic change. Shirk brings a wealth of experience as an astute observer of Chinese politics and as a practitioner of track I and II diplomacy toward China to illuminate the relationship between domestic legitimacy dilemmas and foreign security dilemmas."
--Alastair Iain Johnston, The Laine Professor of China in World Affairs, Harvard University
During 1997-2000, Dr. Shirk served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for the People’s Republic of
She founded in 1993 and continues to lead the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), an unofficial “track-two” forum for discussions of security issues among defense and foreign ministry officials and academics from the
Dr. Shirk’s other publications include her books, How China Opened Its Door: The Political Success of the PRC’s Foreign Trade and Investment Reforms; The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China; and Competitive Comrades: Career Incentives and Student Strategies in China.
Read a Q & A about China: Fragile Superpower with the author at the OUP blog.