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THE UGLY CHINAMAN AND THE CRISIS OF...

THE UGLY CHINAMAN AND THE CRISIS OF CHINESE CULTURE by Bo Yang, translated from the Chinese and edited by Don J. Cohn and Jing Qing (Paul & Co./Allen & Unwen: $19.95; 162 pp., paperback original). Born in Kaifeng, China, in 1920, journalist Guo Yidong, fled to Taiwan in 1949. Under the pseudonym Bo Yang, he wrote satirical essays, and his thinly veiled jabs at Chiang Kai-shek led to his imprisonment in 1968. “The Ugly Chinaman” is a collection of lectures and essays focusing on the conflict between traditional Chinese culture and the values of the industrialized West. He bitterly denounces the former as an ossified, unresponsive system that has produced a voracious competitiveness and complete lack of cooperation within Chinese society. He buttresses his arguments with personal anecdotes and the sorry history of China over the last two centuries, noting, “The Chinese constitution is a bit like a theatre marquee; it changes every time there’s a new star.” Not surprisingly, his vitriolic criticisms have spurred furious debates in Chinese communities throughout the world, and the editors include responses from Beijing, Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles.


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