Why has China lagged behind the West in terms of wealth and power? Chinese leaders, writers, and activists offer their explanations.
Ask an American about the Opium Wars and you’ll likely get a blank stare. Ask a Chinese citizen, however, and you’ll hear a detailed account of how Western powers humiliated China in the mid-19th century, forced opium on its people, and grabbed Chinese territory.
In Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century, Orville Schell and John Delury explain how, for more than a century and a half, Chinese leaders, writers, and activists have sought answers as to why China lags behind Western countries in wealth and power.
The authors go into great detail on the lives and philosophies of 11 prominent Chinese who represent a range of ideological beliefs, such as Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek, Communist Mao Zedong, reformist Deng Xiaoping, and modern-day dissidents. Despite their differences, the authors argue, all were obsessed with how to raise China’s status.
The book’s title is derived from a statement made by a Chinese philosopher more than 2,000 years ago: “If a wise ruler masters wealth and power, he can have whatever he desires.”