This evocative and fascinating book shows how, from muddy village crossroads to raucous city streets, Chinese exhilarated by new dreams are shaping the future of their nation. Over the course of five years spent as China correspondents for the Christian Science Monitor, James and Ann Tyson dodged government surveillance and sought out the life stories of Chinese throughout the country: in the yak-hair tents of Tibetan nomads, the cramped Shanghai garret of China's most courageous dissident, the seaside mansion of a multimillionaire, and the tiny sheet-metal workshop of a peasant migrant. Allowing the Chinese to speak for themselves, the Tysons have written a book unique among Western studies of China for painting in vivid detail a firsthand portrait of a broad spectrum of Chinese. Through these diverse voices, the Tysons reveal how, with economic reform weakening the grip of the state over everyday life, the people of China are taking the future into their own hands. The initiative for change is coming increasingly from below, as millions of Chinese pursuing their own dreams propel reform far beyond the Communist Party's original intent. Chinese Awakenings provides an intimate understanding of the feelings, aspirations, and workaday lives of ordinary Chinese. It offers the crucial insight into grassroots society that is essential for discerning what lies ahead for China's 1.2 billion people.
Preface -- Introduction -- Chinese Society Breaks Free -- "Muddy Legs": The Peasant Migrant -- “Turning Iron to Gold”: The Entrepreneur -- “Bad Element”: The Shanghai Cosmopolite -- The Revival of Old Ways -- “People of the Black Tents”: The Tibetan Nomads -- “Descendants of Kings”: The Wang Clan -- The Losers from Reform -- “The Moon Reflecting the Sunlight”: The Village Woman -- “Walking on Fire”: The Railway Worker -- Chinese Challenge the State -- “Touching the Scales of the Dragon’s Throat”: The Dissident -- Conclusion: “Truth New Born”?