How have Westerners seen the People's Republic of China over the years? The question raises many important issues, which this book aims to present, analyze and explain. The basic conclusion is that Western perspectives are somewhat more complex than simply viewing China's realities. Involved also are politics and power relations, trends in journalism and scholarship, as well as individual and group personalities and psychologies.Based on extensive personal experiences in China dating back to 1964 and wide-ranging travel in Tibet and ethnic regions since the 1980s, the author attempts to distinguish trends in different Western countries. However, most of the material will concern the United States, which has been the dominant contributor to Western perspectives during the whole period of concern to this book.The perspectives are taken up by topic, including politics, economy, society, and ethnic minorities. Inherent in each topic is the way cultures see and react towards each other. Images and perspectives can affect policy, and have done so many times in the past, which adds to the importance of this book. It also takes up questions of the sources of Western perspectives, both in terms of direct sources, such as newspapers, television or the internet, and deeper ones, such as social values and temperament.
Introduction; Historical Background; Political and International Relations Images of China, 1949 to 1971; Trends in Political and Foreign Relations Images of China, 1971 to 2001; Political and General Western Images of China in the Twenty-First Century; Images of the Chinese Economy, Population Policy and Environment to the End of the Twentieth Century; The Twenty-First Century: Images of the Chinese Economy, Population Issues and Environment; Socio-cultural Images of the People's Republic of China; Images of Ethnic Minorities; Conclusion.