China's new most dangerous book

Well, it was and is bound to happen that China will become more assertive as its power, soft and hard, increases. What makes China Is Unhappy noteworthy is that the country’s growing power is attached to a kind of nationalism of grievance and resentment that is encouraged by the government, even as that government sometimes worries that nationalism could get out of hand. The long century and a half when China, poor and weak, was invaded, berated, semi-colonized, and humiliated by foreign countries has left its enduring mark, partly in the widespread conviction among many Chinese that when you come right down to it, nothing really has changed. The West, with the cooperation of Japan, still wants to drag China down, to hem it in, to keep it weak—all of these convictions being well represented in China Is Unhappy. Whenever some incident occurs—for example, a foreign leader meets that “jackal” the Dalai Lama or makes nice to Taiwan—Chinese propaganda insists that “the Chinese people are insulted.” The sense of national grievance, the special prickliness of China, is connected to more than a century of self-scrutiny, a search for the habit of mind that would explain the country’s weakness.