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New Perspectives on China’s Late Imperial Period

Why China Slept

Patrick Leung

The book offers new perspectives on the history of China’s late imperial period and presents a much-needed novel explanation for China’s stagnation and decline in recent centuries. It begins by questioning all the conventional wisdom on the factors behind China’s relative lack of progress and subsequent decline since the 15th century and follows with a fresh interpretation of China’s past. The new vantage points provide insights into China’s resurgence in recent decades and its significance for other nations. The book also makes projections on the general direction that China’s future evolution is likely to take with respect to its market economy, rule of law and representative institutions.

The author aims to deepen international understanding of China’s past and present which will hopefully facilitate the development of more productive relationships between China and other nations. The book is written so that it appeals to students, academics as well as the general public and whoever is interested in gaining a better understanding of China’s rapid rise today. The book is relevant to third and fourth year undergraduate courses in history, economics, international relations, law and political science. It can be used as a text book for upper class core or elective courses in history and economics and as a reference book for upper class courses in international relations, law and political science. It can also serve as a reference book for graduate students in the above disciplines.

"Based on deep research, Patrick Leung has written a book that challenges Western understandings of why China ‘went to sleep’ in its late imperial period, after earlier leading the world in many dimensions, including education, technology and living standards. His findings about the importance of geopolitical rivalries have broad historical implications. Read it!"—William H. Overholt, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation

“This thought-provoking book by Patrick Leung is most timely at this juncture of geopolitical evolution. The book presents compelling arguments that many of the perceived wisdom about China's past are flawed and the ‘rise’ of China of late is a natural development from what had transpired in the Ming-Qing period. This book will enhance international understanding of China's past and present and help facilitate the development of more productive relationships between China and other nations.”— David Tien Sik Kiang, Chief Executive, Da Tang Xi Shi International Group Limited and Chairman of Finance Committee of Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce

“Patrick Leung has produced an impressive, interdisciplinary examination of the myriad factors that contributed to China’s long period of relative economic backwardness. Drawing on such priors, he offers explanations for the country’s present resurgence and suggests some signposts for its future path of evolution. There are China economists. There are China historians. There are China philosophers. And there are China jurists. Very few China scholars are able to pull together the large body of Chinese and foreign language literature into such a readable and informative analysis.”— Dr Simon Ogus, CEO DSG Asia Limited