BEIJING — China is in a foul mood, according to the appropriately titled Unhappy China, a white-hot bestseller that is as controversial here as I've found it to be accurate in a week-long canvassing of this country's increasingly important growing pains. It's a collection of essays from five overtly nationalist writers who want China to stand up and assume the global leadership that, in their opinion, naturally falls to their country once America's profound bankruptcy has been revealed. The book has triggered an intense debate across China's vast sea of netizens, with the bulk of commentary as scathingly critical of the authors' long-term vision of China's superpower-dom as the book is of American leadership.
Taken as a whole, one can easily get the impression that China is deeply distressed by Team USA's recent streak as globalization's guns-a-blazing Leviathan, but equally reluctant to replace. Having survived Mao Zedong's murderous insanities, China's version of Boomers are truly careful what they wish for.
But if the Chinese are unhappy with America's government, there's even more dissatisfaction with their own. Between the milk scandal, a poor response to the massive Sichuan quake, and pervasive corruption of officials, China's ruling capitalist party finds itself wading nervously through a series of anniversaries: twenty years of Tiananmen Square memories, thirty since Deng Xiaoping's world-shaking reforms, and the sixty for the People's Republic itself.
With that kind of ideological crossroads, it's little wonder that China's confused about what it wants to be when it's all grown-up.
Read more: China at the Wheel of the World: Sissy or Superpower?
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