Linda Jaivin In Conversation
Sunday 06 June 2021
The shortest history of China
From kung-fu to tofu, tea to trade routes, sages to silk, China has influenced cuisine, commerce, military strategy, aesthetics and philosophy across the world for thousands of years. Chinese history is sprawling and gloriously messy. It is full of heroes who are also villains, cultural vibrancy and censorious impulses, rebels and loyalists. The story of women in China, from the earliest warriors to twentieth-century suffragettes, is rarely told. And historical spectres of corruption and disunity, which have brought down many a mighty ruling house, continue to haunt the People’s Republic today.
Modern China is seen variously as an economic powerhouse, an icon of urbanisation, a propaganda state or an aggressive superpower seeking world domination. Linda Jaivin distils a vast history into a short, readable account that tells you what you need to know, from China’s philosophical origins to its political system, to the COVID-19 pandemic and where the PRC is likely to lead the world.
Linda Jaivin is an expert in Chinese politics, language and culture. She has been a foreign correspondent in China, and is co-editor of the China Story Yearbook and associate of the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University. The author of twelve books, she writes regularly for The Saturday Paper, The Monthly and Australian Foreign Affairs.