John FitzgeraldJul 20, 2022
How China Became the Chinese Communist Party
NewSouth Books 2022
Since the founding of the Communist Party in China just over a century ago there is much the country has achieved. But who does the heavy lifting in China? And who walks away with the spoils? Cadre Country: How China Became the Chinese Communist Party (NewSouth Books, 2022) places the spotlight on the nation’s 40 million cadres—the managers and government officials employed by the ruling Communist Party to protect its great enterprise – to show how the Communist Party operates in China and how the stories the party tells about itself are based on thin foundations.
The book pays particular attention to the history, language, and culture of the Communist Party but maintains a relentless focus on what has become of China since the Global Financial Crisis and in particular since Xi Jinping came to power. The party is in the act of swallowing a liberalised society, a marketized economy, and a diverse country. This matters for everyone, because the way China’s government behaves at home frames its conduct abroad.
John Fitzgerald is an historian of China and the Chinese diaspora. He headed the Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy at Swinburne University after serving five years as China Representative of The Ford Foundation in Beijing (2008-13). From 2015 to 2017 he served as President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. His recent books include Cadre Country: How China became the Chinese Communist Party (2022), Taking the Low Road: China’s Influence in Australia’s States and Territories (edited, 2022), and Chinese Diaspora Charity and the Cantonese Pacific, 1850–1949 (edited with Hon-ming Yip, 2020). Earlier books include Big White Lie: Chinese Australians in White Australia (2007), awarded the Ernest Scott Prize of the Australian Historical Association, and Awakening China: Politics, Culture and Class in the Nationalist Revolution (1997), awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize of the US Association for Asian Studies. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney (BA 1976), Nanjing University (Language Cert 1977) and ANU (PhD 1983), and studied at UW Madison as a Fulbright post-doctoral fellow (1988).
Dong Wang is distinguished professor of history and director of the Wellington Koo Institute for Modern China in World History at Shanghai University (since 2016), a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.