Title: The Sleeping Giant Awakes
Editor: China Watch, China Daily
Press: Guangdong People’s Publishing House
Forty years of reform and opening-up have left countless stories and topics to be written, and this book portrays reform and opening-up through the eyes of academics experts, politicians and economists – all of them foreigners.
Their common thread is a keen interest in China's development, which makes their take on the past, the present and future all the more compelling. The articles in the book will not only deepen our understanding of what reform and opening-up mean but will also help us to better predict the future.
The book is divided into four chapters: “Progress”, “Challenges”, “Opportunities” and “Stories”. It reviews the contribution of China’s reforms to global development and explores the challenges and major opportunities facing the next phase of the country’s reforms.
All authors laud the great strides China has made through reform and opening-up. In nearly four decades after its inception China’s share of the global economy rose from 1.8 percent in 1978 to 15.2 percent in 2017, second only to the United States. Such a sea change in such a short period is unprecedented in human history.
Essam Sharaf, former prime minister of Egypt, says in his article: “We should all celebrate the success” that over nearly four decades China has made unprecedented achievements in economic and social development, which have been described as an “economic miracle”.
Rana Mitter, professor of history and politics of modern China in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University, says at the start of his article: “Success brings along new challenges.” Two interlinked questions have been repeatedly asked, he says: How China’s rise will change the world and how China has been changed by the global order.
In addition to international vision and professional economic and political analysis, The Sleeping Giant Awakes is also full of interesting stories. For example, in the article “Incredible popularity of table tennis”, Jean-Michel Saive, a Belgian table tennis player and former chair of the Athletes’ Commission of the European Olympic Committee, recalls his experience of visiting China and his experience there.
He shared his memories of training, eating delicious cuisine and witnessing streets full of bicycles and the great changes that have transformed the country in recent years. He treasured the time training with Chinese athletes, he says, and was impressed by their hard work and wonderful skills.
Recommending the book, Romano Prodi, former prime minister of Italy and former president of the European Commission, says: “A very interesting read in order to know the unprecedented progress China has performed in two generations.
During my political career I have witnessed how much the Chinese government has improved the quality of life of its citizens. This example, adopted to different contexts, could be a guideline also for other countries.”
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, writes in the foreword that reading The Sleeping Giant Awakes, “I am delighted to see that, like me, there are many in the world who have been studying China's incredible transformation.”
The profound historical vision, economic analysis and unforgettable stories of the authors are valuable resources for the world to understand China's growth story, he says.
The star-studded lineup of writers for the book garnered great attention to the book even before its formal launch. At the Frankfurt Book Fair in early October, when the book was promoted under the theme of China's Reform and Opening-up and World Development, it attracted wide praise and much anticipation internationally.
In addition to Sharaf, Mitter and Saive, the contributors include: Stephen Roach, Yale University Senior Research Fellow; Edmund S. Phelps, Nobel laureate in economics; Dominic Barton, global managing partner at McKinsey & Co; and Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation.
Zhou Shuchun, a member of the standing committee of the National Committee of the CPPCC and publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, says in the preface of the book: “In the new era, China’s reform and opening-up will certainly create more opportunities for global development and open up new space for cooperation among countries around the world.”
“This book will not only let readers understand the 40 years of China’s reform and opening-up in greater perspective, but also give them inspiration to actively participate in the new wave of reforms with greater enthusiasm.”
Xiao Fenghua, president of Guangdong People’s Publishing House and deputy editor-in-chief of Southern Publishing and Media, said of the book: “The reason why so many foreign scholars and politicians were invited to write about the 40 years of China’s reform and opening-up was to encourage dialogue rather than stick to monologues.”
“ Only in this way can we see the significance of China’s development in the vision of the whole world. All these valuable comments and suggestions will enable us to better grasp the opportunities of future development."
The writers come from many different fields, which adds to the book’s attraction. From the four chapters, we can trace how foreigners understand China’s development in the past 40 years and see Sino-US relations in the global context. At the same time readers can also glimpse he intrinsic reason for China’s progress and what problems need to be tackled in the next stage.
The unique viewpoints of this book can also provide an important reference point for domestic experts studying reform and opening-up that may broaden their horizons. All text is in both English and Chinese, so the book would be a useful study guide for anyone wishing to improve their writing of idiomatic English.