Here are a few noteworthy China articles I've run across lately:
I've also added two new books to my growing pile of China material:
China Hands by James Lilley, former US ambassador to China.
China INC by Ted Fishman. The subtitle tells the story: "How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World." (This book hasn't arrived yet, but I ordered it after reading an excerpt in the current issue of INC magazine.)
Several weeks ago Wayne Johnson pressed an old book into my hands and said he thought I'd enjoy reading it. The book has a worn leather cover and looks as if it has been handled and read many times since its publication date of 1914. In the late 1800s, a young man named Burton Holmes began traveling to remote, exotic regions of the world, camera in hand, recording his impressions in a series of travelogues. Wayne gave me Volume IX, the story of Holmes's adventures on the Amur River in Siberia, and his visit to Peking (now Beijing) and the Forbidden City in 1901. His visit to Peking is especially fascinating because it took place in 1901, one year after the end of the infamous Boxer Rebellion. He encountered a Chinese capital wholly subjugated by the "foreign devils." Considering the state of photography and the difficulties of travel in those days, the resulting book is nothing less than amazing. Here you get a glimpse of a world entirely vanished. He saw Russia near the end of the Czarist era. And he saw Peking near the end of the Qing Dynasty. The succession of emperors would come to an end just a few years later. It's amazing to see photographs of the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace from 1901, considering that we toured both sites last month. Holmes commented that the Forbidden City, for all its fabled glory, seemed rundown, prefiguring the state of the dynasty itself as it headed toward a final collapse.
I've also been reading Jesus in Beijing by David Aikman and Back to Jerusalem by Paul Hattaway. You can't read either book without being deeply moved by the vitality and courage of the Chinese church in the face of decades of Communist persecution. Clearly the Chinese church is more than just a "persecuted church." It is poised to become a leader in world missions, especially among the Muslims and the Hindus.
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