Change and Conflict in Modern-Day China

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Evan Osnos, Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, describes the profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval occurring in China. In Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, Faith in New China, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions about why a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any in history chooses to put strict restraints on freedom of expression and how two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth has affected Chinese from all walks of life.


Evan Osnos

Comments [12]

Matt Helme

It's worth noting that in China even privet companies are owned and operated by State Institutions. Even the stock market is a State run operation.

May. 13 2014 06:59 PM
Ed from Larchmont

China is soon to become the country with the largest number of Christians, there is conflict in store between them and the government for sure. What do you think will happen?

May. 13 2014 01:29 PM
Tony from Ny

Can we blame Cheney for China's issues, or Bush?

May. 13 2014 12:54 PM

Chine was the number one economy on the planet between the Roman empire to just before Columbus. In fact it was still the largest economy till around 1820. The rise of Europe and America were due to the industrial revolution, and Japan was the first in Asia to eagerly adapt to western ways in the late 1860s.
China remained closed and went into poverty and then towards warlordism and then communism. That kept it down for so long. Once it chose to open up to western investment in 1979 it zoomed up like a rocket and will continue going until it is number one again, in another 3 or 4 decades.

May. 13 2014 12:48 PM
tom from asioria

My American family built their lives on JOBS that, from the 1920s until the 1970s were plentiful here. Now those massive numbers of jobs are in places like China. We desperately nee those jobs and investments, yet our press never reports the two realities together: A factory closed in Buffalo is relocated in Shanghai. Shouldn't we start reporting these connections?

May. 13 2014 12:38 PM
Matt Helme

Can you produce more stuff with less wage labor and at a lower cost? This is what Marx and Engels would have seen as capitalism's transition to socialism. Communism being the total absence of wage labor,price and profit.I don't recommend learning Marxism from Leonard Lopate.

May. 13 2014 12:27 PM
Amy from Manhattan

superf88, I think human politics have an impact on environmental issues--primarily as they affect humans, true, but many of the effects on humans overlap w/effects on the life on earth as a whole. It will take human politics to do anything about environmental damage.

Mr. Osnos just mentioned the environment (which I was hoping he would), but I'd like to ask what he thinks the prospects are for the existence of an environmental movement & for its bringing about any significant change in both gov't. & private environmental practices.

May. 13 2014 12:26 PM

China is where America was 100 years ago. It's all new and fascinating as millions of Chinese buy their first cars and hit the road, and get their first modern apartments with all the appliances and utilities. So sure they optimistic, ambitious and full of zest as Americans once were. Over time the novelty will wear off, but that time is still decades off.

May. 13 2014 12:26 PM
tom from asioria

Is there any appreciation among the Chinese people of the great gift that American and European corporations have given to them in MASSIVE JOBB CREATION. Why doesn't anyone talk about how much they are indebted to us for this great gift?

May. 13 2014 12:21 PM

Compared to the catastrophic damage the Chinese are doing to their environment and our earth, and allowing/enabling foreigners to do also, human politics seem puny and insignificant, even when it's billions of humans at hand.

Sorry to be a premise questioner, but in this case, it is singularly relevant.

May. 13 2014 11:54 AM

"why a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization""

The government did that? The market economy did that. It was the government that forcibly prevented that for decades with their "progressive" command (i.e., Communist) economy.

And the Chinese government is STILL interfering in the market economy in many ways that are prohibiting it from growing even more.

May. 13 2014 06:31 AM
George from Brookyln

If a free and fair nationwide election were held today, would the communist party win?

May. 13 2014 12:36 AM

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