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Tide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China Hardcover – Mar 29 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: New Press (March 29 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595586202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595586209
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #573,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Zha beautifully combines the hard-earned expertise of an insider with the moral candor of an outsider. In exploring China’s defining struggles . . . [she] illuminate[s] the shadows in between, with empathy and courage."
—Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

"If you want to understand the astonishing developments in China’s contemporary cultural life . . . there could be no surer or more entertaining guide than Zha."
—K. Anthony Appiah, Princeton University

"An engaging, comprehensible cross-section of the personalities and cultural concerns rising with China’s ascent."

"No one who writes in English about contemporary China is more thoroughly bilingual and bicultural than Jianying Zha. She truly 'gets it.'"
—Perry Link, author of Evening Chats in Beijing

About the Author

Jianying Zha is a writer, media critic, and China representative of the India China Institute, The New School University, New York. She is the author of one book in English, China Pop, and five books in Chinese: three collections of fiction and two nonfiction books, including The Eighties, an award-winning cultural retrospective on 1980s China. She has published widely in both Chinese and English, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, Dushu, and Wanxiang. She received her BA from Peking University, MA from the University of South Carolina, and M.Phil from Columbia University. She lives in Beijing and New York.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
it's in excellent condition. I am happy of my choice. this is one of the best books I have read this year.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A timorous, labored look at contemporary China July 20 2016
By nuffsaid - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Why are Northern Chinese so infatuated with academic degrees and professional standing? In the introduction to this book (which is the only original content) the author devotes almost all of her time relating in tiresome detail, her academic achievements and meager publishing history.
The main part of the book consists of a reader's digest sort of sketch of several rich people in China. The author seems to share the contemporary chinese obsession with great wealth. Where each fatcat stands on the national tote board seems to be a matter of some interest to the author.
The author relates the amazing fact that these successful people started out poor. Given that pretty much everyone in China 50 years ago was struggling, the astonishment with which that relevation is received is bound to be somewhat muted.
The prose of the book is competent but lifeless. It feels like the purpose of the book was more the sheer fact of its publication than a desire to say anything new or interesting.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overview of today's China from a bilingual, binational angle July 23 2011
By S. J. Snyder - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Just how bad is much of today's construction in China? So bad Chinese have their own term: "tofu dreg."

How bad is real estate "flipping"? They have their own term: "Stir fry building."

How much do thoughtful Chinese recognize the perils of trying to comment on these issues, reform their universities, and develop arts and literature in what is still a one-party state with growing economic inbalances? Very much.

And, in "Tide Players," Jianying Zha explains the details of all of that and more. With extensive time and academic study spent in the U.S. and U.K. as well as China, she has a good perspective, especially in analyzing the ambivalent feelings many Chinese have toward "sea turtles" that have spent extensive time abroad before returning home.

On issues of Chinese politics, she has a great deal of insight, beginning with the fact that her half-brother recently completed a nine-year prison term as a political dissident.

In an epilogue, she addresses questions of China's future, again from this same binational perspective.

That said, she's a bit more optimistic on China's future than I am. She largely ignores issues of pollution, resource consumption, and the rapid graying/demographic bell curve that lies in China's future. She also seems to skip over questions of just how much political reform will happen in China and how soon. And, speaking of pollution and resource consumption, it would have been nice to see a Chinese environmentalist among the "tide players."

The book is still a 5-star, though, for all the issues she covers before the epilogue.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars China's 'New' Entrepreneurs Aug. 9 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Wonderful book by a brave and adventuresome woman from China who has lived in several U.S. cities, the UK and who has 'bounced' between them and China. This book is a collection of Zha's writings about the lives of several people in China who have been extremely successful despite impossibly poor beginnings.

Along the way, she describes some of the attitudes and beliefs of today's Chinese citizens struggling daily to make the transiton to modern Chinese life.

To me, this little book mirrors, in a way, a book that could have been written about a boisterous, often messy, complex young America and some of the people who made her great."
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly insightful book and highly recommend it! Nov. 24 2013
By Doc Lover - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read many books on modern China, and this book is definitely among the best. The author gives candid yet nuanced accounts of several representative characters who have been shaped by and are also shaping China's recent development. The narrative goes much deeper than your average newspaper reporting to reveal the complex baggage and measured optimism of China and the Chinese people. A truly insightful book and highly recommend it!
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Oct. 18 2013
By Eileen Eastman - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was fascinating reading how the various people covered were propelled to start on their path to success: the methods they used and the areas chosen. In a way their success is an illustration of how hard work, determination, perseverance and luck all played their part in their success.