Since the accession of Xi Jinping as the supreme Chinese leader, the empire has been becoming increasingly aggressive, to the point of bullying. Its so-called “Belt and Road Initiative” seems designed to lure poorer nations into a debt trap, forcing them into subservience to Chinese demands. Its huge fishing fleet is encroaching upon the legitimate fishing grounds of many other nations. It is seeking to expand its territory to include almost the entire South China Sea, Taiwan, parts of India, Japanese islands, etc. Indeed most of “China” is conquered territory. Chinese efforts to control Australia have been extraordinary.
Yet is this the whole story? This book describes just how wonderful the Chinese people can be. The students I taught at Tongren University were amongst the best I have taught anywhere. It was not hard to love them.
The town of Tongren is itself quite beautiful, surrounded by conical hills and built around the green, winding Li Jiang River.