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Empire of Lies: The Truth about China in the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – April 8, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594032165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594032165
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Guy Sorman gives a human face to brutal oppression in today's China. He introduces us to the daily suffering of many individual human lives: students thrown into exile for signing their names to political leaflets, pregnant women beaten for being pregnant without the authorization of the state, peasant families enduring the long, slow sufferings of AIDS brought to them by unsanitary blood transfusions in public clinics. Sorman has long been a promoter of a realistic form of democracy in China and of a "barefoot capitalism" that would begin to diminish the huge number of those who suffer. -- Michael Novak

From the Back Cover: In political philosophy, a whole generation of French thinkers like Revel, Jean-Marie Benoit, and Guy Sorman are rejecting the old clichés about state power and rediscovering the danger such power poses to personal freedom. -Ronald Reagan



From the Back Cover

In political philosophy, a whole generation of French thinkers like Revel, Jean-Marie Benoit, and Guy Sorman are rejecting the old clichés about state power and rediscovering the danger such power poses to personal freedom. -Ronald Reagan

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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Snyder on June 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Economic conservatives and neoliberal "spinners" from James Fallows and Reed Hundt through Bill Clinton (singled out in one passage) are exposed as frauds, liars and enablers for a China of modern myth in this power-packed new book.

French journalist, politician and philosopher (and why can't we get that combo in America), exposes the lies of both the Chinese Communist Party and its Western apologists, which range from hardcore economic conservative American capitalists to French communists.

There's a few basic lies that underscore the scores of surface lies both the Chinese Party and its western enablers tell.

Sorman says Lie No. 1 is that capitalism will lead to democracy. He has a clear, albeit much smaller, counterexample - Singapore, led by, ironically or not, Chinese.

Lie No. 2 is that there is a "Chinese mindset," "Chinese way of business," or whatever, that is antithetical to democracy. Variants of that include references (usually wrong ones, according to Sorman) to Confucianism, etc. Counterexample? Taiwan. Daoism, repressed in China, flourishes there along with Confucianism, Buddhism and Protestant and Catholic Christianity -- along with traditional Chinese culture.

Lie No. 3 is the lie of Chinese economic statistics. Sorman says that even if you don't discount the costs of environmental degradation, Chinese growth rates are almost surely somewhat overstated, and possibly highly overstated.

Lie No. 4 might be a partial variant of No. 2, and would be the "China isn't all that bad" lie, especially if you compare it to the former Soviet Union. Sorman argues the other way around, that China is arguably more repressive than the Soviets of Khrushchev and beyond, at least in some ways.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Ray on September 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sorman has written a good summary of China's problems caused by the totalitarian Communist government. One has to feel a bit sorry for China's Communist leaders, as they are riding a runaway horse they cannot get off from - because the current political and economic system cannot go on (although like Gorbachev, they may not know it). However Sorman tends to overstate his positions (it's unlikely that almost all foreign investors are losing money in China for example) while some of his assertions could be backed up with some very persuasive evidence (the problem of bad loans in the banking system for one). The real value of the book is his conversations with Chinese both within the Party and those opposed, and his conversations in Taiwan. These are really illuminating.
The book was probably written more for the European (and especially French) intelligentsia with their love of socialism and a social and political order led by the properly academically qualified (somehow they seem to have forgotten that the intelligentsia were the ones murdered, tortured-frequently to death, exiled, and assaulted by their beloved Mao's Cultural Revolution). But their support of the Communists also allows them to satisfy their anti-American feelings.
So the book is a good summary of the political and economic problems facing China under the current system, although his points could be better documented. The translation unfortunately is not very good.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Much is made in the West today about the growing power and growing economy of China. Many fear that China will dominate the world by the end of the twenty-first century.

French writer Guy Sorman takes a different view in "The Empire of Lies". He interviews several people, including dissidents, in an attempt to uncover the truth about China today. Sorman believes that the Chinese economy is not growing as quickly as advertised, and that there is much discontent, especially in the countryside. The institutions in the country, he believes, encourage short-term thinking--this retards economic growth. In contrast to many in the West, he thinks that China will not be able to conquer Taiwan in the near future. Sorman also takes a look at religion and the persecution of religion by the Communist Party.

Sorman asserts that the West has had a tendency to misread China for centuries, and that it still does so today. Unlike many in the U.S. and Europe, he says that there is no reason to fear China at this time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Erik Petzinger on April 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this book soon after it was released back in 2008 right after listening to the author discuss his book on a radio talk show. It may be "dated" perhaps in a few details (such as the size of the economy comparable with that of Italy's), but economic data regarding China has always been unreliable. Nevertheless, it's main message is right on the mark.

China continues to be ruled by a party that varies between ruthless treatment of its subjects and mild toleration of it native detractors (dissidents). Sorman does an excellent job of interviewing the dissidents, describing in detail how they ran afoul of the government in the past as well as how they cope in their day-to-day lives while being under constant surveillance. To the one reviewer who states that Sorman leaves "very little space for the defense of the government", I can only say there is very little defense for a government that has created the largest police state in the world. It has the world's largest body of bureaucrats dedicated to policing the Internet and stifling any form of speech that may potentially challenge the Party. Even so, the recent political rumblings throughout Arab world (I'm writing this in May 2011), have reverberated all the way to China. It is therefore no surprise that China has launched a massive crackdown against lawyers, writers and activists, arresting and detaining dozens since February when on-line calls for protests similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa began to circulate despite the best efforts by Chinese authorities to squelch them.

Sorman notes throughout this book how the Chinese Communist Party leaders seek to develop a American style managerial class amongst its members.
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