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I owe debts of gratitude to many individuals, beginning with
the students who have taken my classes and the people who
have attended the talks on China I’ve given in some fourteen
different countries located on four continents over the course
of the last two decades. The questions they have asked me
helped me fi gure out which ones to address in this volume.
I am enormously grateful to Tim Bent and Dayne Poshusta at
Oxford University Press, and the anonymous readers of the
book proposal they solicited, for providing me with guidance
in refi ning my list of questions. I also want to thank Tim,
the editor in charge of the project, for his unvarying support,
unfailing good humor, and the work he did on tightening up
the book’s prose; and Dayne, for bringing a sharp set of eyes to
the manuscript at a key stage in its development.
I want to thank the following friends and colleagues who
helped me greatly by answering my inquiries, listening to
me try out ideas, sharing unpublished works, or reading and
commenting on one or more chapters at very short notice:
Susan Brownell, Tim Oakes, Tim Weston, Lisa Claypool, Susan
Fernsebner, Lee Haiyan, Sara Friedman, Benjamin Read, and
Kate Merkel-Hess (who deserves a special separate expression
of thanks, since various parts of the book were shaped by work
she and I did on coauthored commentaries). Going even further
beyond the call of duty (and perhaps even friendship), Vanessa

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