When Soong Meiling, better known to the world as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, died in October 2003, her life of over a century almost exactly paralleled America’s own century of direct involvement with Asia, which began with the acquisition of the Philippines. Alone among Western Powers, the United States championed an Open Door policy toward China. The Madame’s Christian family and her American education perfectly suited the American aspirations for a free and democratic China. And when Japan threatened both countries, the Madame, in perfect English, spoke directly to Americans as the heroic symbol of Chinese resistance. Never mind that she and her husband turned increasingly authoritarian and that the Guomindang was defeated by Chairman Mao Zedong’s communists. And never mind that she never really connected with the vast majority of Chinese living in the countryside. Today, as China is again catching up to the West in leaps and bounds, it is almost as if Soong Meiling, ending her life after a Rip Van Winkle-like retirement in the United States, is ushering in another century, when new Open Door Americans look toward China again. Here for a new generation of general readers and scholars are thoughtful reflections on the significant impact of a major twentieth-century figure who fascinated Americans for decades and had a significant impact on American perceptions of China.
About the Editor
Samuel C. Chu (1929-2013) was a Professor of History at Ohio State University.
This classic account (1952) of the makers of “New Japan” tells the life stories of a journalist, an ex-Navy vice-admiral, a steel worker, a farmer, and Emperor Hirohito. Frank Gibney was a wartime intelligence officer who became Time magazine correspondent during the American Occupation of Japan. He went on to be a major interpreter of Japan to […]
The Oriole’s Song is a love story — love of family, of entwined cultures, of life itself — during and after the turmoil of war. This beautiful recollection of an American girlhood in China during World War II is a continual delight with large insights and small moments made exqusite by delicate prose. On May […]
Shaoyi Sun & Li Xun
In Lights! Camera! Kaishi! Sun and Li interview twenty-one young Chinese movie-makers on a variety of challenges facing them as cinema gradually emerges from the PRC’s long-standing censorship restrictions. Assembled by theme, the reader experiences a sense of eavesdropping on an open discussion between with these notable film directors. Includes biographical sketches (with color photos) of each […]
The most comprehensive analysis and reference on the enormous water resource crisis confronting the People’s Republic of China. China’s Water Crisis (Zhongguo shui weiji) describes in detail the history of floods, water scarcity, and pollution problems in all seven of China’s major drainage basins and proposes solutions for future sustainable management.
“I love freedom and I will long for the freedom of the soul and the dignity of being a human being for the rest of my life. I’m not the first nor am I the last to suffer or even to sacrifice a life to that idea. Prior to my imprisonment, I didn’t try to […]
China and Postsocialist Anthropology applies lessons learned from socialist governance, especially in China, to the realm of social theory. Socialist governance explicitly draws on various aspects of Marxist theory and thus directly illuminates issues as varied as theorizing power, imagining the relationship between continuity and discontinuity in historical process, utilizing the category of “the political” […]