Misreading China: It’s time to move beyond old stereotypes – Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom

From The Christian Science Monitor (link): China has outgrown ‘The Good Earth’ and so should the rest of us.

Three-quarters of a century ago, Americans often viewed China through one of two distorting lenses, both of which can be linked to famous works of popular culture of the 1930s. One was a patronizing lens that can be associated with the 1931 Pearl Buck novel “The Good Earth,” and the popular 1937 film it inspired. The other was a demonizing lens that can be associated with a 1932 horror film, “The Mask of Fu Manchu.” China today, of course, is a very different place.

And yet, as a look at recent American bestseller lists reveals, lenses of the “Good Earth” and “Fu Manchu” varieties continue to distort our view of the world’s most populous country.



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