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Since he has all this inside information and personal observation of the Chinese leaders since Mao, he makes it personal and that keeps it from becomong a dry history book. See all 3 questions about On China…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of On China.
Oct 18, Chan Yee rated it did not like it. Chinese top leading group is a black box.
Its operation is tightly kept confidential. For an autocracy like China, one cannot understand it without understanding its leaders.
No wonder Western China watchers are frustrated in understanding China. However, as a well-experienced diplomat who helped Nixon achieve rapprochement with China, Kissinger must be in a better position to see through Chinese leaders, since he has met all Chinese leaders since Mao many times. I, therefore, read through the book, but am greatly disappointed that Kissinger gives distorted images of and misinformation about China and Chinese leaders, especially Chinese madman Mao. So will China and America in the future, he concludes. Madmen Hitler and Tojo Hideki started the war because they were callous killers and their mad calculation made them believe they would win the war.
Tojo was especially mad. Hungary has not killed any counterrevolutionary. For the elimination of more than one million of the odd million people, I think we shall shout hurrah for that. The terror lies in his pride and joy in the killing. It was at first hailed in America as a campaign with lofty ideal. There were no statistics of the death toll and the number of victims.
People who personally experienced it like me know that the number was enormous.
However, when I was studying in a university in Anhui, China in , there was hot enthusiasm for communism among the students there. Mao trained and armed Vietnamese communists, sent lots of military advisers to help drive away France and establish communist North Vietnam, and provided aids worth billions of yuan to help them take over South Vietnam. Mao helped Khmer Rouge rise to power in Cambodia in Mao, an Idealist? Mao persecuted people but that was the punishment given by Mao the strict teacher for purifying his pupils, he hints.
However, Mao was not a loving but a cruel tyrannous teacher whose teachings you were not to trifle with.
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Non-acceptance of or doubting any of his teachings or instructions was a crime. She got a sentence of year imprisonment for that. Zhang Zhixin was a typical case. The tortures and death penalty she suffered and the cruelty of the Campaign can still be found on the Internet.
My father was framed-up and arrested as a counterrevolutionary then. He told me that he heard noise of torture everyday when he was detained in a detention center in Shanghai for more than one year. The plenty misinformation about China and failure to give information about present-day China and its leaders and people in his book reflect their ignorance too.
Three years later, his troops conquered Tujue. Emperor Taizong was the greatest emperor and his Reign of Zhenguan, most famous in Chinese history. Ignorance of him after reading Chinese history is like ignorance of Napoleon Bonaparte after reading French history. Huntington predicted in his well-known book "Clash of Civilizations" possible clash between Islamic and Western civilizations but America was not on alert. It failed to make thorough investigations when traces of Islamic terrorist attack were found months before 9. That reminds me of Pearl Harbor. Will America fail to be on alert a third time when the scenario of the clash between American and Chinese civilizations described by Huntington in his book becomes a reality?
Summer School on China Studies Tradition and Innovation
He mentions two recent books advocating sinocentric cosmology, but despite their being bestsellers, he treats them lightly, saying they are criticized in the Chinese press. If Americans believe him, they will not be on alert. As a profound understanding of Chinese culture and political system is indispensable for that, I have to give a short description and analysis though they are the topics for a special book.
When Confucianism had entirely lost its dominance and been denounced since and was criticized along with Lin Biao, ignorant of that, Kissinger mentioned it to Zhou Enlai and got furious response. During the Cultural Revolution, there was renaissance of Confucianism among a new generation of talented intellectuals with moral integrity. However, their Confucianism-Marxism, though dominant at present, has a very short history and takes time to be so well established as to prevent the emergence of another Mao. Another ideology, Maoism, the dominant ideology in Mao era, has its key elements such as egalitarianism, personality cult, sinocentric cosmology, enmity against intellectuals and cruelty in fighting for its goal deeply rooted in Chinese popular culture.
With such rich soil for Maoism, the emergence of another Mao is quite possible in the future. In China, there have never been any definition, codes or rules whatever about the power of a top leader whether he has the title of emperor or not. In fact, even if there are some codes or rules, there is no institution or mechanism to enforce them. Due to frequent usurp of sovereign power resulting in the demise of some ruling families, Han Fei ? As such strategy, etc. One of the most well-known examples was that of Liu Bei, the founding emperor of Shuhan Dynasty, characterized by establishing close affectionate bondage with talented generals and officials.
Han Fei gives the advice that a sovereign must keep all his officials in awe and maintain such awe by keeping a distance from everyone else including his family members, relatives and officials and trust no one.
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A sovereign will thus have no friends and lead a lonely life, but Qin Shihuang's application of Han's art proved that it was good in maintaining his iron rule though failed to ensure succession. Around BC, Confucianism was adopted as the dominant ideology. That was why he rehabilitated Qin Shihuang who until then had been condemned for 2, years in Chinese history, and openly advocated Legalism in his later years.
I will not rest at ease until the time when you have the final say. When all the elders and quite a large majority of officials became conservative after Tiananmen Massacre, Deng Xiaoping conducted his famous Southern Tour to reinvigorate the reform alone. All others had to obey his instruction and Deng Xiaoping typically played his role as the core who has the power above all others and even above law and Party and state constitutions like Mao. Democracy, the Only Way Out Only when there is real democracy in China can the emergence of another Mao be prevented and can another Mao be timely removed if he does emerge.
However what can Western countries do? They certainly are unable to impose democracy on China as they are doing now on Libya. With examples of prosperity in their democracies, they can attract Chinese people to learn from their democracies. Second, they shall keep on disseminating their ideal of democracy by every possible means among Chinese people. They shall continue to denounce China whenever it violates human rights.
It seems not effective, but it indeed works. That was why those who persecuted dissidents recently ordered their victims not to contact foreign journalists. By so doing, America will fail to be on alert again and may suffer a third time perhaps much more severely. View all 18 comments. Jul 10, Dave rated it liked it. First of all, the humorous aspects of the book: 1. Take a look at the cover itself!
Kissinger's name seems slightly bigger than the actual title. A disproportionate amount of the photos feature the distinguished author. So, Kissinger lives up to his reputation as being First of all, the humorous aspects of the book: 1. So, Kissinger lives up to his reputation as being somewhat self-important. With that out of the way, the book has a number of strengths: 1.
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Kissinger is an engaging writer. The book is easy to read.
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For someone like myself basically ignorant about China the book is informative and illuminating. I would not call Kissinger an apologist for the Chinese point of view, but he does do a solid job of giving the Chinese perspective on various events and problems. The Weaknesses: 1.
In typical Chinese fashion, the book is very slow to actually get anywhere 'decisive. He has great explanatory power bur does little to advance his own synthesis. He seems to go very easy on Mao. But that's not saying much. Kissinger always refers almost indirectly to the turbulence and atrocities of Mao's rule. This made me wonder what he was doing, and then I had an idea.
Perhaps Kissinger conceived of this book not so much as an argument, but as a last diplomatic mission. The book functions like a diplomat should - engaging, careful not offend either side, focus on dialogue, etc. If true, that would sum up both the book's strengths and weaknesses. Jun 03, Hartley Wise rated it it was amazing.