Modern China
by Xiaobing Li
November 2015, 421pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-625-8
$110, £85, 96€, A151
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-626-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How did China transform from third-world country to modern-day world superpower?

Providing an indispensable resource for students, educators, businessmen, and officials investigating the transformative experience of modern China, this book provides a comprehensive summary of the culture, institutions, traditions, and international relations that have shaped today's China.

In Modern China, author Xiaobing Li offers a resource far beyond a conventional encyclopedia, providing not only comprehensive coverage of Chinese civilization and traditions, but also addressing the values, issues, and critical views of China. As a result, readers will better understand the transformative experience of the most populous country in the world, and will grasp the complexity of the progress and problems behind the rise of China to a world superpower in less than 30 years.

Written by an author who lived in China for three decades, this encyclopedia addresses 16 key topics regarding China, such as its geography, government, social classes and ethnicities, gender-based identities, arts, media, and food, each followed by roughly 250 short entries related to each topic. All the entries are placed within a broad sociopolitical and socioeconomic contextual framework. The format and writing consistency through the book reflects a Chinese perspective, and allows students to compare Chinese with Western and American views.


  • Covers contemporary Chinese politics, economy, geography, law, education, culture, and history, providing readers with a breadth of insights into modern China and its people
  • Addresses a variety of current issues such as pollution, corruption, human trafficking, human rights, civil liberties, and the one-child policy
  • Contains accessible information ideal for high school and college-level students, grade school teachers, and any readers interested in the general topics of Asia and China
Xiaobing Li, PhD, is professor and chair of the department of history and geography and director of the Western Pacific Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Oil: A Cultural and Geographic Encyclopedia of Black Gold; China at War: an Encyclopedia of Chinese Military History, and Civil Liberties in China. His past works also include China's Battle for Korea: The 1951 Spring Offensive; Evolution of Power: China's Struggle, Survival, and Success; Modern Chinese Legal Reform: New Perspectives; Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from American, Asian, and Russian Veterans; A History of the Modern Chinese Army; and Voices from the Korean War: Personal Stories of American, Korean and Chinese Soldiers.


"It is refreshing to see a work that tries to provide a multitude of perspectives in understanding a nation’s personality. Each entry is clear, well organized, and highly readable, making it accessible to readers without a background on China. Recommended for high school students and general readers looking for an introduction to modern China and its peoples."—Booklist, Starred Review, January 29, 2016

"[T]his is a solid introduction to China in the modern context. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates and other beginning students; general readers."—Choice, August 1, 2016

Understanding Modern Nations

The Understanding Modern Nations series profiles individual nations that are of interest to high school students and undergraduates, focusing on countries that are often studied in school as well as countries that have made major headlines in recent years.

With coverage of topics such as geography, history, politics and government, economy, society, culture, social media, pop culture, and personal accounts of daily life, these volumes serve as ideal resources for students of geography, social studies, anthropology, political science, and more. Additional topics examine religion, social classes and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, education, language, etiquette, literature and drama, art and architecture, music and dance, food, and leisure and sport.

General overviews of each topic provide students with a basic foundation on the subject, and entries pertaining to the topic—such as biographies of significant people in the field, iconic events, and key ideas—follow each overview. Sidebars and photos, facts and figures that are integral to better understanding the countries, a glossary of key terms, and a holidays chart round out the coverage in each of these accessible, engaging volumes.
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