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Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants
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Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  307 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
The Chinese economic miracle is happening despite, not because of, China's 900 million peasants. They are missing from the portraits of booming Shanghai, or Beijing. Many of China's underclass live under a feudalistic system unchanged since the fifteenth century. They are truly the voiceless in modern China. They are also, perhaps, the reason that China will not be able to ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Public Affairs (first published 2004)
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Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: two-stars-books

2 "important information but poorly executed" stars.

I cannot in good conscience give this book more than two stars. This is information that needs to be shared with the world but the experience of this book was mostly tedious and often frustrating. I am unclear whether it is the writing style or could it possibly be the translation?

This book cannot afford to be poorly written as it is about the experience of 900 million people in China. Those sheer numbers blow me away. That is the population of
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Apa yang kamu ketahui tentang China? Shanghai..Jackie Chan...Film Kung Fu…Shaolin..Produk murah..atau pertumbuhan ekonominya yang fantastis menyaingi Amerika Serikat...Hal-hal tersebut juga terlintas dipikiran saya..Seperti kata pepatah, air sungai tenang menghanyutkan..sungguh yang terlihat dari China hanya di permukaannya saja yang tampak tenang-tenang..tapi jauh kedalamannya terdapat tekanan yang begitu kuat..Dan ibaratnya sebuah buku, Cover yang menarik hati bisa saja menipu pembaca.

Yang tak
While the book is informative, nonetheless the translation was spotty and it suffers from the illness that plagues all journalists: it is more focused on stories than about analysis. Unfortunately, many of these stories already appeared in China's domestic press, so while they may be new to foreign eyes the authors' reporting was not particularly original. In addition, the authors seem to make every person in their reporting two-dimensional: either good or evil. Nuance or careful analysis will n ...more
Christopher Rex
The book gets 3-stars b/c it is a "black market" book in China about Chinese peasants written by Chinese peasants who lived it. If it was some pencilneck, ivory tower dweeb who wrote it, it would be 2-stars. It's interesting and very enlightening to the plight of the Chinese peasantry (numbering 900million) and tells quite a bit about the HOW and WHY of the Chinese economic boom (as well as the brutal costs). But, it spends too much time "storytelling" about "this bad thing" and "that bad thing" ...more
Jose M.
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very educative book in the current political system of China and its history. An eye opener for an average European reader with an interest in political systems and history of different countries.

This book shows the other face of China. The one that most people aren't aware of. The other China, the second China. Really, it is another country within China. Another country whose citizens - the peasants - are regarded as second class citizens for the rest of the Chinese people.

The book
Lilly Mary
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Understanding a China it would prefer not to discuss - worth a read.
Arief Bakhtiar D.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it

REVOLUSI, kata Leon Trotsky, adalah sebuah resiko. Dan setiap revolusi, lanjutnya, meskipun begitu, memiliki kemungkinan akan menang yang besar.

Tapi siapa yang menang? Dan untuk siapa?

Yang menang, dalam sejarah Tiongkok adalah, setidaknya, yang mengamalkan ajaran ketua Mao. Dan untuk siapa, Komunis Cina telah mengatakan kepeduliannya pada para petani sejak meraih kekuasaan tahun 1949. Namun realitas sosial Cina pra-1949 memang berkata lain tentang petani. Pajak yang tinggi, dihisap oleh kel
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Will the Boat Sink the Water?" är en bok jag inte skulle ha läst på fritiden främst på grund av att boken behandlar ett ämne jag inte är jätteintresserad av att läsa om. Med denna inställning till boken kanske det inte är så konstigt att jag blev positivt överraskad. Trots att boken innehåller en del krångliga ord är den lättläst tack vare alla utförliga exempel. Dessutom blir boken intressant när man får exempel att relatera till för att förstå problemet. Det gör att boken kommer närmare och a ...more
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Started and finished this book yesterday (silly due dates at silly libraries). This is the English translation of a book called 中国农民问题调查 that made waves in China a few years ago (2004-ish I think). It was banned a month after it was released on the mainland but went on to sell something like 7 million copies in pirated form. Really interesting and heart breaking, the authors investigated cases of local corruption in tax and fee collection in villages across Anhui Province, one of China's poorest ...more
Nov 09, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who love history
1949 - 2001, Ternyata memang perjuangan yang lama untuk rakyat China mencapai kemajuan seperti sekarang ini, terutama buat para petani, yang ditekan sedemikian rupa untuk keuntungan bagi oknum-oknum pemerintahan yang berkuasa.

Jadi ingat film-film Mafia-nya Andi Lau waktu dulu, dibuku ini para petani yang membangkang dihajar habis-habisan sampai mati bahkan mayatnya pun bisa tidak dikenali saking parahnya pembantaian, dan yang lebih menyebalkan adalah cerita sebenarnya bisa dibelokkan sedemikian
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Maybe it was the 'chinese-ness' of the narrative, but I just didn't like this book. Yeah, they're poor and their lives are difficult, but was expecting a bit more of an overall point from this book. I guess (spoiler alert!!!) the point is that the size of the country, poor infrastructure, bureaucracy and some not so nice provincial officials make life miserable for the chinese peasantry. There's a bit about the history of their plight and the broken promises of the central gov't, but it's just s ...more
buku yang mengisahkan sisi lain dari kemajuan bangsa cina yang spektakuler sekarang ini
membuktikan bahwa kehidupan selalu punya dua sisi bertolak belakang yang justru semakin membuat hidup ini lebih berarti
membaca buku ini membuat kita menyadari juga bahwa revolusi apa pun bentuk dan alasannya selalu memakan korban tapi itulah harga yang harus dibayar untuk menghasilkan suatu perubahan

sekali lagi saya membaca buku terjemahan yang membuat buku ini mempunyai keterbatasan dalam penyampaian cerita s
Samantha Phillips
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Considering the amount of time put into research for this book and the importance of the topic, it is a shame that it is so difficult to read. The first half of the book is so laden with cliches and hyperbole that the truly tragic stories are overshadowed. Fact and opinion are mingled, personal stories and interviews are intertwined with economic facts. I'm glad I read the book, as it will serve as a starting point to learn about the peasants of China, but so much more could have been done with ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 中国
I learned a great deal about the Chinese political system. For instance, the US has a three tiered system whereas China has a five tiered system. The burden that the Chinese peasantry must bear to support this bloated bureaucracy is excessive as are the local cadres methods of squeezing the peasants for money. I knew this book would be good since it is banned in China. I was not disappointed. It takes a truthful, fair look at one area of modern China that needs A LOT of improvement.
Sep 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the worst beach read I ever chose, as it inflamed me against a totalitarian state that kills the spirit and then the body of over 800 million people. Completely incongruous with the sun, sand, sea, and seduction all around me. I couldn't put it down though. Therefore, no flirting on the beach, and thus saving the relationship with the woman who is now my wife. If the reds knew this, would they still ban the book? Probably, and that's why they're reds!
Feb 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book has a great untold stories about China's farmers. There are chapters that explore the suffer of China's farmers (because of the unlimited taxes) in different districts, showing how they manage to survive and how they struggle to get their rights back. In these contents, this book is amazing. But, I'm really confortable with the plot. Ini the middle of the content, I felt so boring because the each story has almost the same matters.
Stories about local government in Anhui gone wrong (tax collecting leading to death and injury) followed by discussion of the huge number of bureaucrats at the township level (1 per 67 or 1 per 40 of the population where the average was 1 per 7000 and 1 per 2000 for most of Chinese history). Interviews conducted in 2001-2004 about events that happened in 1991-1995 turned into a narrative style means it's hard to evaluate how many of the details are accurate.
Nurudin Hanif
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
China Undercover: Rahasia di Balik Kemajuan Cina
by Guidi Chen, Chuntao Wu, Lulu Fitri Rahman (Translator)

sebenarnya judul aslinya itu,, tapi entah kenapa ga bisa ditulis review nya. mungkin karena di negara aslinya Cina, buku ini sudah dilarang beredar..

buku ini menceritakan tentang penderitaan petani Cina yang dibebani dengan pajak yang sangat banyak oleh partai berkuasa, dari jaman ke jaman..

Sunny San
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: China-lover, investigator... :P
Such a controversial book... :)
The authors are vvv brave 2 write all datas 'n crucial information regarding China's governmental bureaucracy in grassroots level...
We may see the other side of China centralized government...
Overall, it enriches our perspective in understanding China's internal society...
Oct 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in modern China
This book is maybe a little too serious for the casual reader with no knowledge of modern China. It is, however, very important for the world to read in order to understand the plight of China's peasants and to see that the images of development in the news really only represent the situation for those lucky enough to hold an urban residence permit.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
seperti indonesia, china juga pernah hancur oleh korupsi. tapi korupsi di china lebih parah. ternyata untuk mendapat keadilan dibutuhkan 9 nyawa dan kerelaan disiksa sampai liver pecah

ada 5, kalau ga salah kisah petani yang menuntut keadilan atas kenaikan pajak yang melebihi batas kemampuan mereka. dan hanya satu yang diceritakan berhasil mendapat keadilan. recommended banget lah!
May 03, 2007 rated it liked it

This is a good book, and the final chapter highlights some of the inherent contradictions in solving the problem of the Chinese peasant farmer - tax reformation eases the burden on the peasants but impoverish the rural government at the same time. Definite medicine to counter the "China fever" that affects much of the Western media world.
Aug 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people in China
The first few chapters are horrifying stories about what peasants have been going through over the last ten years including over-taxation, corrupt leaders, murders, other bad things...

The last two chapters, I thought lacked direction. And the message about what the peasants should do was only suggested at the last few pages. Left me wanting more. The translation is mediocre.
Oct 02, 2007 rated it did not like it
Very important stories about how China's government can easily become corrupt on the local, village level as the power officials wield approaches 'absolute' given the lack of checks and balances. But help me god, it is boring - largely a recitation of all the petty squabbles that only Chinese villagers could have.
Ratri Dian
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hasil kerja sepasang suami-istri yang sangat mengagumkan. Buku ini lahir dari keberanian menggugat kesalahan-kesalahan tersembunyi dengan riset-riset 'berbahaya'. TOP!
Membuka wawasan siapa saja mengenai apa-apa yang ada di balik negara besar China..,
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I knew that it would be depressing, and it was. I think that it is a good book to read and spread the knowledge of how life is for Chinese peasants, but it also seemed slow and hard to follow at times.
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Worried about China's hegemony? Have no fear. Thuggery is the rule, communism is just the front. Speak out and you'll get dragged out of bed in the middle of the night for a good ass kicking, then you'll get arrested for disturbing the peace. Implosion. That's China's next act.
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Written by two journalists in China. A worthy topic that deserves more serious attention (justice and rights in an oppressive and corrupt system) but an absolutely awful translation and a disappointing lack of serious methods.
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
masih belum selesai baca. tapi kayaknya menarik. melihat sisi lain kemajuan ekonomi china yang mengagumkan itu. kayak endonesa di masa pertengahan orde baru kayaknya.

*)semua buku yang masuk di TAGS currently-reading belum satupun yang selesai kubaca sampai hari ini. menyebalkan!
bangkit aditya
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Hohoho, this one would knock PRC government down. This is extremely a great investigation report. The author captured the uneasiness of Chinese peasants, how they've been exploited bluntly by the village party official. Thank god that the Chinese government has done much about it today!
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