Recommended Reading : China: The Balance Sheet – What the World Needs to Know Now about the Emerging Superpower. Bergsten, Gill, Lardy & Mitchell. New York: Public Af
Review by Ms. Jinyu Hu, Regional Operations Manager
China’s unprecedented rise on the stage of the world economy has stirred up quite a few heated debates. Yet, “love it or fear it”, to truly understand China and what China’s emergence means to the U.S. and the rest of the world hasn’t been an easy task. Through the years, I’ve always looked out for good books and publications on modern China and have come across more than a few interesting and diverse points of view. In this sense, China: The Balance Sheet is a unique read.
China is an initial publication of a multi-year China Balance Sheet Project undertaken by two influential U.S. think tanks: the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Institute for International Economics (IIE). These scholars did a great job presenting a “comprehensive and holistic” picture of China to help readers untangle this “complex, contradictory and confusing” dynamic nation. It is not a book about pro or con outsourcing and globalization, or a book about the pros or cons of China. Instead, it answers questions in a factual, analytical and concise way, covering all aspects of the China phenomenon - from culture to politics, internal challenges to international relationships, economy to democracy, rice bowl to intellectual property rights, intentions to impacts, past to future, immediate effects to long-term policy implications, etc.
As big as the topic is, China is a rather easy read. The book structures the contents into four basic areas, allowing you to navigate easily through the chapters based on your own interests or needs. It can be a good source for data mining. But, it is an even better source for “one stop shopping” to learn about and understand China, either for basic facts and concepts or more comprehensive explorations. This book is also supported by the project’s official website, www.chinabalancesheet.org, which provides plenty of interesting background information and publications, as well as updated findings regarding the China Balance Sheet Project.