For the unsuspecting and awe-inspired outsider, China is the living and breathing embodiment of a Horatio Alger epic. A teeming mass of population that punched beyond its weight, to transform itself from a struggling economy to a behemoth of power and prosperity.
However, deep from within China is a colossus riven by contradictions that threaten to tare the very fabric of unity. Evan Osnos in this ruthlessly clear work brings to light the uneasy rubric upon which the fortunes of the second largest economy on the Planet hinges upon. A rubric which is at once ruthless and imposed. While China has over the years produced the largest number of billionaires in the world, it has also attracted disquieting attention for a blatant and remorseless flouting and violation of human rights. For every self made billionaire such as Alibaba’s Jack Ma, there also exists an exile in the form of Liu Xiabo, the Nobel Prize winning Chinese literary critic and professor. Not only has China denounced the honour bestowed upon Xiabo, but has also charged him for activities against the State and now he languishes as a political prisoner behind bars.
The ‘Party’ in China, the ruling elite brooks no nonsense and through its Propoganda Department, controls the freedom of speech and action. Social media networks are blocked and routine purge of ‘selected’ words from search engines become commonplace. The Party itself is a roiling cauldron of greed and hypocrisy. Ministers are arrested for corruption involving billions of dollars as arranging dalliances with mistresses and lavishing gifts for currying favour is a rampant norm.
The China of today is undoubtedly a global superpower. However as Evan Osnos brilliantly reveals in his book, it is also a country mired in murk, with more than a billion voices crying out for transparency, justice and fairness.
Age of Ambition – Where Growth meets Greed!