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CHINESE SOCIETY: Change, Conflict and Resistance, edited by Elizabeth J. Perry and Mark Selden. London, Routledge, 2000, 249 pp., $27.99.

These are gross oversimplifications of modern Chinese society. In fact, the government has been forced to respond and sharply redirect its policies in the face of the popular will. But as long as such images have currency, and as long as Chinese leaders respond to questions about these social problems with their time-honored refusal to explain — “that is an internal affair of our own country” (“zhe shi womenguode neizheng”) — balanced and reliable accounts of modern China will remain hard to come by.

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