The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography (1979-2015) provides a riveting new way to understand twenty-first-century China and a personal look at the changes that have taken place since the Reform and Opening Up era started in 1979. One hundred key individuals from this period were selected by an international group of experts, and the stories were written by more than 70 authors in 14 countries.
The authors map the paths taken by these individuals—some rocky, some meandering, some fateful—and in telling their stories give contemporary Chinese history a human face. The editors have included—with the advice of myriad experts around the world—not only the life stories of politicians and government officials, who play a crucial role in the development of the country, but the stories of cultural figures including, film directors, activists, writers, and entrepreneurs from the mainland China, Hong Kong, and also from Taiwan.
The “Greater China” that comes through in this volume has diverse ideas and identities. It is often contradictory, sometimes fractious, and always full of creative human complexity. Some of the lives rendered here are heroic. Some are tragic, and many are inspirational. Some figures come in for trenchant criticism, and others are celebrated with a sense of wonder and awe.
Like previous volumes of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography, this volume includes a range of appendices, including a pronunciation guide, a bibliography, and a timeline of key events.