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Contemporary Asian Politics

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In his classic book, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, Evan Osnos describes the life experiences of Chinese citizens as being enveloped by social, economic and political changes. The arguments provided in this book are in stark contrast to the Western perception of China as a country whose people are under a pretense of mass brainwashing while its government is hell-bent on exalted ambitions.

Osnos argues that there is a clash between the individuals rising in China and the ever-present desire of the Communist Party to control the people. Indeed, the author questions different and sometimes contrasting aspects that characterize the Chinese government, such as their need to alleviate poverty in China, while at the same time curtailing the freedom of expression of its people. The author then highlights the rampancy of anti-western ideologies in China. Indeed, most of the young professionals in this populous country have been brainwashed by the current administration’s ideologies of fighting against western influence in China. This campaign ideology reflects the Chinese youth preference to have Chinese standards legitimized against the pernicious Western values and institutions (Osnos 34).

China’s economic model will be unsustainable in the long term or perhaps collapse to a recession if the current authoritarianism persists. The Chinese government is aware that they cannot maintain power by censoring the media and propagating propaganda. They need to maintain the current economic growth in order to keep the Chinese citizens happy. The major problem, though, is that the economy of China need to be restructured if it is to remain healthy in the long-term. Chinese leaders, however, appear reluctant to make the necessary changes and are possibly held back by the authoritarian, one-party political system.

The ever-worsening failure of the Chinese government to make the necessary economic changes is apparent and the repercussions are just as predictable. The fact that the administration does not take the necessary steps to avert any possibilities is a sign that all is not well. One can suppose that it is not in its power to change the economy.

Question 2

Don Oberdorfer’s Two Koreas: A Contemporary History is a historical book that seeks to acquaint the reader with the long-standing rivalry between North and South Korea. Rebirthed after many years of ruthless Japanese imperialism, Korea fell into the hands of the Soviet Union and the US when the World War II was coming to an end. Initially divided by the Cold War, Korea was then immersed into an agonizing civil war which killed or wounded more than two million people. Thereafter, a truce was forged which saw the peninsulas halved. While the North is still struggling with communism and totalitarianism, the South has enjoyed a relatively long period of economic growth becoming the 111th largest economy in the globe.

Koreans have unique culture and values that can draw parallels to America’s. They, for instance, speak one language and use an indigenously developed alphabet called ‘hangul.’ Additionally, most young Koreans get the same education from elementary to high school using the same textbooks and pedagogy. Finally, Koreans have a ‘familyism’ kind of culture where much value is placed on family (Oberdorfer 435).

The disunion of Korea was not necessary as it was a result of the differing political interests of the Soviet Union and the US and not an internally-motivated issue. Indeed, for many years, Korea was a unified nation governed by generations of monarchic kingdoms. However, after the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the US decided to divide Korea without involving the decision of the Koreans. While Soviet ideologies were popular in the North, most members of the bourgeoisie fled to the South where the US supported the erstwhile regime because of its capitalist ideologies. The objective, afterward, was to let the Koreans decide what wanted to accomplish with their country. However, the Cold War thwarted any likelihood of a union. The US started pushing for the South to form a government, leading the Soviet Union to respond in kind. Evidently, the division was not from the Koreans, but from foreign nations who had special interests with the nation.

The idea of a united Korea seems far-fetched and drives me to think that the two should not reunite. Notably, the two have different political and economic ideologies that would make a reunion improbable or unsustainable in the long term. South Korea, being a staunch capitalist, has enjoyed a substantial period of economic prosperity, courtesy of economic liberalism and democracy. North Korea, on the other hand, is still wallowing in retrogressive leadership and communist ideologies that are unfavorable for economic prosperity. This makes North Korea a country of lethargic people who will only be a liability to the Southern populace. In addition, it is even more unlikely that Kim Jong Un can relinquish his seat for a united Korea considering his narcissistic personality and delusions of grandeur. Nonetheless, I am of the opinion that North Korea should be salvaged from the chains of dictatorship which is, by far, the worst enemy of economic development to the country.

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Contemporary Asian Politics. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from
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Contemporary Asian Politics. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Jun. 2022].
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