My First Trip to China by Kin-ming Liu
Scholars, Diplomats, and Journalists Reflect on their First Encounters with China

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"My First Trip to China" invites readers to relive those voyages of discovery and to reflect on the complexities of modern-day China, whose new openness, material progress and limited freedoms were unimaginable just a generation ago.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

“Illuminating . . . Fascinating . . . Engaging. A reminder of the kinds of shattering debutante encounters with the enormity, and often imponderability, of Chinese realities that have shaped those who travelled there. Features reminiscences by many of the voices that have come to define how, until fairly recently, the West understood, however partially and imperfectly, China.”
- Asian Review of Books

“Captures the freshness and curiosity of first encounters with China . . . The richness of the book lies in the variety of accounts at different times in history.”
- South China Morning Post

My First Trip to China is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand the evolution of Western attitudes toward contemporary China. At the same time, this collection provides a vivid, personal window onto a fascinating period in Chinese history. Thirty leading China experts—ranging from Perry Link, Andrew Nathan and Jonathan Mirsky, to W.J.F. Jenner, Lois Wheeler Snow and Morton Abramowitz—recount their first visits to China, recalling their initial observations and impressions. Most first traveled to China when it was still closed to the world, or was just beginning to open. Their subsequent opinions, writings and policies have shaped the Western relationship with China for more than a generation.

About the Editor: Kin-ming Liu is a ChinaFile Fellow at the Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations. A former chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, he has worked for Apple Daily and the Hong Kong Economic Journal, and is currently with the South China Morning Post.

What the reviewers are saying:

“To collect the stories of first encounters with China was a brilliant idea. Not only do we get the benefit of many fascinating insights (and hindsights) from a range of foreigners and overseas Chinese, but these deftly edited views from the outside make up one great story: the history of Communist China. More than a history of one damned thing happening after another, however, this is a history of perceptions, lies, myths and revelations, as much about China as her rulers wish it to be seen, as about those who chose to see China, more and sometimes less clearly, over the last half century.”
- Ian Buruma, author of Bad Elements

“The opening of China to the world, and then of the world to China, is one of modern history’s most consequential stories. That story is told in a fresh, innovative fashion in this insightful collection of personal experiences related by a distinguished collection of historians, diplomats, journalists, political writers and others who ventured behind the Bamboo Curtain early on. Leading the way are disillusioned leftists stunned by the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and Mao’s Great Leap Forward that they discover. They gradually give way to knowing observers of a tumultuous society determined to become once again a world power. Their accounts form an impressionistic vision of epochal change taking place on the gallop.”
- Jim Hoagland, contributing editor, The Washington Post

“This is a wistful and absorbing volume, and a fitting remembrance for all of us who once thought that China was going to be easy to study.”
- Jonathan Spence, author of The Search for Modern China
 

About Kin-ming Liu

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Kin-ming Liu is a China File Fellow at the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. A former chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, he has worked for Apple Daily and Hong Kong Economic Journal and is currently with the South China Morning Post.
 
Published November 20, 2012 by East Slope Publishing Limited. 316 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Reviewed by Melanie Kirkpatrick on Mar 03 2013

"My First Trip to China" invites readers to relive those voyages of discovery and to reflect on the complexities of modern-day China, whose new openness, material progress and limited freedoms were unimaginable just a generation ago.

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