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Chinese literature published in the United States has tended to focus on politics -- think the Cultural Revolution and dissidents -- but there's a whole other world of writing out there. It's punk, dealing with the harsh realities lived by the millions of city-dwellers struggling to get by in the grey economy. Dunhuahg, recently out of prison for selling fake IDs, has just enough money for a couple of meals. He also has no place to stay and no prospects for earning more yuan. When he happens to meet a pretty woman selling pirated DVDs, he falls into both an unexpected romance and a new business venture. But when her on-and-off boyfriend steps back into the picture, Dunhuahg is forced to make some tough decisions. Running Through Beijing explores an underworld of constant thievery, hardcore porn, cops (both real and impostors), prison bribery, rampant drinking, and the smothering, bone-dry dust storms that blanket one of the world's largest cities. Like a literary Run Lola Run, it follows a hustling hero rushing at breakneck speed to stay just one step ahead. Full of well-drawn, authentic characters, Running Through Beijing is a masterful performance from a fresh Chinese voice.
This book lays bare the reality behind China's efforts at economic modernization by showing: (1) what is happening to the industrial forces that help shape the economy; (2) how economic agents have behaved; (3) what government intentions really are; and (4) how the transition from a centralized to a market-oriented economy has been filled with contradictions and difficult choices. The author examines issues such as China's WTO membership; the Three Gorges Project; the widening differences between the urban and rural areas; the government's efforts to protect its own interests and maintain stability; the impact of reform; and the situation facing state enterprises, the banking system, the agricultural sector, and the environment.
The spectacle of major cultural and sporting events can preoccupy modern societies. This book is concerned with contemporary mega-events, like the Olympics and Expos. Using a sociological perspective Roche argues that mega-events reflect the major social changes which now influence our societies, particularly in the West, and that these amount to a new 'second phase' of the modernization process. Changes are particularly visible in the media, urban and global locational aspects of mega-events. Thus he suggests that contemporary mega-events, both in their achievements and their vulnerabilities, reflect, in the media sphere, the rise of the internet; in the urban sphere, de-industrialisation and the growing ecological crisis; and in the global sphere, the relative decline of the West and the rise of China and other 'emerging' countries.
In the 1920s, revolution, war, and imperialist aggression brought chaos to China. Many of the dramatic events associated with this upheaval took place in or near China's cities. Bound together by rail, telegraph, and a shared urban mentality, cities like Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing formed an arena in which the great issues of the day--the quest for social and civil peace, the defense of popular and national sovereignty, and the search for a distinctively modern Chinese society--were debated and fought over. People were drawn into this conflicts because they knew that the passage of armies, the marching of protesters, the pontificating of intellectual, and the opening and closing of factories could change their lives. David Strand offers a penetrating view of the old walled capital of Beijing during these years by examining how the residents coped with the changes wrought by itinerant soldiers and politicians and by the accelerating movement of ideas, capital, and technology. By looking at the political experiences of ordinary citizens, including rickshaw pullers, policemen, trade unionists, and Buddhist monks, Strand provides fascinating insights into how deeply these forces were felt. The resulting portrait of early twentieth-century Chinese urban society stresses the growing political sophistication of ordinary people educated by mass movements, group politics, and participation in a shared, urban culture that mixed opera and demonstrations, newspaper reading and teahouse socializing. Surprisingly, in the course of absorbing new ways of living, working, and doing politics, much of the old society was preserved--everything seemed to change and yet little of value was discarded. Through tumultuous times, Beijing rose from a base of local and popular politics to form a bridge linking a traditional world of guilds and gentry elites with the contemporary world of corporatism and cadres.
This is a story about a boy who was told if he kept digging he would end up in China. Because of his sister's fearlessness and some fantastic friends, he finds himself in Beijing. In this comical retelling, the group meets in Beijing to support the boys sister, who is running The Great Wall Marathon. The run is a great excuse to extend the trip into an experience of a lifetime: enjoying local cuisine, checking out shopping hot spots, dispelling myths and pre-conceived notions, and putting the T back into tea--all the while laughing at themselves along the way.
A humorous and moving coming-of-age story that brings a unique, not-quite-outsider’s perspective to China’s shift from ancient empire to modern superpower Raised in a strict Chinese-American household in the suburbs, Val Wang dutifully got good grades, took piano lessons, and performed in a Chinese dance troupe—until she shaved her head and became a leftist, the stuff of many teenage rebellions. But Val’s true mutiny was when she moved to China, the land her parents had fled before the Communist takeover in 1949. Val arrives in Beijing in 1998 expecting to find freedom but instead lives in the old city with her traditional relatives, who wake her at dawn with the sound of a state-run television program playing next to her cot, make a running joke of how much she eats, and monitor her every move. But outside, she soon discovers a city rebelling against its roots just as she is, struggling too to find a new, modern identity. Rickshaws make way for taxicabs, skyscrapers replace hutong courtyard houses, and Beijing prepares to make its debut on the world stage with the 2008 Olympics. And in the gritty outskirts of the city where she moves, a thriving avant-garde subculture is making art out of the chaos. Val plunges into the city’s dizzying culture and nightlife and begins shooting a documentary, about a Peking Opera family who is witnessing the death of their traditional art. Brilliantly observed and winningly told, Beijing Bastard is a compelling story of a young woman finding her place in the world and of China, as its ancient past gives way to a dazzling but uncertain future.

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