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By Evan Osnos

A bright, colourful, and revelatory internal historical past of China in the course of a second of profound transformation

From out of the country, we regularly see China as a sketch: a country of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly devoted scholars destined to rule the worldwide economy—or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and at the fringe of stagnation. What we don't see is how either strong and traditional everyone is remaking their lives as their state dramatically changes.
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos used to be at the flooring in China for years, witness to profound political, monetary, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the best collision occurring in that state: the conflict among the increase of the person and the Communist Party's fight to keep regulate. He asks probing questions: Why does a central authority with extra luck lifting humans from poverty than any civilization in historical past decide to placed strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do thousands of younger chinese language professionals—fluent in English and dedicated to Western pop culture—consider themselves "angry youth," devoted to resisting the West's impact? How are chinese language from all strata discovering that means after 20 years of the relentless pursuit of wealth?
Writing with nice narrative verve and a willing feel of irony, Osnos follows the relocating tales of daily humans and divulges existence within the new China to be a battleground among aspiration and authoritarianism, within which just one can be successful.

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Additional resources for Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

Sample text

Two hundred and seventy-nine members of the provincial and local elite were interviewed in Shanxi Province during the period 1996–98. Although it would be hard to argue that those selected for interview were statistically representative or randomly chosen, interviewees were drawn from all over the province, and from a variety of industries, occupations and types of location. Of those interviewed, 54 were leading cadres and 225 were identified as members of the ‘new rich’—the essential leaders of economic reform in the province.

6 indicates, almost half of all wives and husbands worked together in the same enterprise. Necessarily, there were different proportions of husbands and wives in the same workplace across the different categories of the new rich. In the private sector, owner-operators and their wives almost always worked together; elsewhere the proportion was more usually four in every ten. The exception was the urban collective sector where only one in five couples worked in the same enterprise. 7 suggests, wives were often employed as accountants and bookkeepers, not only, as already noted, in the running of family concerns in the private sector but also in other types of enterprise.

14 This is not an unimportant distinction. ‘Work’ in this context is very much conceptualised as paid employment outside the home. A non-working wife (meigongzuo de furen or more colloquially meigongzuo de laopo) is seen as someone who has the ability to obtain work, and may at some time have been in the workforce, but now because of the family’s wealth (it is implied) chooses not to work. A housewife (jiating zhufu or more locally in Shanxi, jiating funü) is regarded as someone of considerably lower status, who has no experience of or ability to obtain work outside the home.

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