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Tiger on the Brink: Jiang Zemin and China's New Elite First Edition Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520213951
ISBN-10: 0520213955
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Editorial Reviews Review

When Deng Xiaoping died in 1997, his unlikely heir as China's principal leader was the former mayor of Shanghai, a middle-level leader who seemingly came from nowhere to occupy a position of central importance to the world. Bruce Gilley, a writer for the Far Eastern Economic Review, traces the life of Jiang Zemin, the adopted son of a hero of the Chinese revolution who himself took part in demonstrations against the nationalist government before joining the Communist party and assuming a series of posts. Removed from power during the Cultural Revolution, which he would later call "a period of unprecedented destruction," Jiang became a cautious critic of the old-line regime, rising to prominence only in the aftermath of the Tienanmen Square demonstrations of 1989. In the 1990s, Gilley maintains, Jiang helps preserve something of the Communist status quo while opening the government to younger reformers--who, Gilley suggests, will exert some pressure on the Chinese government to democratize, a pressure that government is likely to resist. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

Gilley, Hong Kong correspondent for the Far East Economic Review, begins this intelligent, exhaustive biography of Chinese premier Jiang Zemin on an earthy note: he was partially inspired to write this book after running into the Chinese premier in a bathroom. That "Jiang had obviously sipped too much tea" made him "living and breathing in my mind." If Jiang never becomes quite so vivid for the reader, it's only because Gilley thereafter assumes a conventionally objective, scrupulously researched, cleanly written style for a chronological narrative that starts with Jiang's birth in 1926. Having joined the party in 1946, Jiang rose quickly through the ranks, but during the Cultural Revolution, he felt "revulsion" when asked to "ferret out" rightistsAand quickly became known as "everyman's leader." By 1983, Jiang was appointed mayor of Shanghai, where his moderate views on foreign trade proved quietly revolutionary. He was dubbed Mr. Tiger Balm ("relieves all manners of aches and pains") and Weathercock by opponents, and these nicknames illuminate his handling of 1989's Tiananmen Square massacre. To the protesters, he sounded "an unusually moderate tone"; but after Deng Xiaoping offered him the position of party general secretary to avert attention from the protesters, Jiang took a hard line on Tiananmen. Gilley characterizes Jiang's ruling philosophy as based on "economically liberal instincts; his willingness to adapt... Marxism in the face of new circumstances; his insistence on strict media controls." It is a formula that, in Gilley's estimation, will assure the wily, aging Jiang a long and fruitful tenure.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 410 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520213955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520213951
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By VIRGINIA MONCRIEFF on December 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Gilley has written a thorough and scholarly, well researched book on Zemin, for Sinophiles and political addicts alike. He has an understanding of the motivations of Ziang in wishing to liberalise the Chinese economy, while holding on firmly to communist ideology. Also explained is the relationship between Ziang and Zhu Rongji, which while evident now, has a history steeped in Shanghai politics. A must read for all those interested in contemporary China.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Bard William Shakespeare on November 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wanted information regarding Deng Xiaoping who started the economic successes of China. A picture tells a thousand words so I am assuming much of this tome is about Deng based upon his photo on the book cover.

Zemin is a brilliant leader and recognizes legitimate allies of China.

The world is going bankrupt financially from be morally bankrupt. China certainly has the Midas touch.

Pray the term regime is not stated a thousand times in this book by Bruce Gilley.

America is a hypocrite in every crack and corner. And The WorldTradeCenter story needs to be amended. TV and the telephone companies dialogues are a threat to the entire world.

The worst regime on Earth is the USA.

The book is in very good condition.

The price was better than a homeless bookseller's price.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For all the talk of China abandoning the practice of personality worshipping its leaders, here comes a non-Chinese citizen engaging in a veritable Jiang Zemin love fest. A nice introduction to the cast of characters in contemporary, post-Cultural Revolution China, but otherwise lacking in value as a serious reference book.
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