Women Warriors and Wartime Spies of China

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

In this compelling new study, Louise Edwards explores the lives of some of China's most famous women warriors and wartime spies through history. Focusing on key figures including Hua Mulan, Zheng Pingru and Liu Hulan, this book examines the ways in which these extraordinary women have been commemorated through a range of cultural mediums including film, theatre, museums and textbooks. Whether perceived as heroes or anti-heroes, Edwards shows that both the popular and official presentation of these women and their accomplishments has evolved in line with China's shifting political values and circumstances over the past one hundred years. Written in a lively and accessible style with illustrations throughout, this book sheds new light on the relationship between gender and militarisation and the ways that women have been exploited to glamorise war both historically in the past and in China today.
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About the author

Louise Edwards is Professor of Chinese History and Asian Studies Convener at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She publishes on women and gender in China and Asia. Her most recent sole-authored book is Gender, Politics and Democracy: Women's Suffrage in China (2008). She is also currently President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Mar 29, 2016
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Pages
285
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ISBN
9781316594803
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / General
History / Military / General
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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When Mao Zedong proclaimed The People’s Republic of China in 1949, China was a poor and wrecked society after years of continuous wars. For centuries, in fact, China had been seen as a sort of plunder-zone to be invaded, and then a backwater until the late 1980s, when domestic policy brought about monumental changes. The result was that in the past quarter-century China has grown to be the second largest economy in the world, and its military has grown proportionately.

Successive decades of economic growth have transformed China—in addition to the weapons revolution during the computer age—so that by now the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has become a modern fighting force. No longer having to rely on massed infantry attacks, it now features a formidable arsenal including nuclear submarines, ICBMs, stealth fighters, and modern battle tanks. Perhaps ominously for other maritime powers, the Chinese have also focused on beyond-the-horizon missile technology, as well as anti-aircraft systems, and have also explored the possibilities of cyber-warfare.

What is today’s PLA really like? What are its traditions and histories, and how is it armed and equipped? How does it recruit and train? This book describes some of the lesser known battles and wars the Chinese have undertaken, and the development of their key weapons systems. The United States, having opened the door to “drone warfare,” have had an attentive audience for such technologies in Beijing.

The last chapter provides thoughts on how the Chinese view matters of security. It is not yet known whether foreign powers can still enforce their territorial wills on China, but future attempts will meet an increased challenge. This book will be of interest not only to general readers but to policy-makers and militaries in the West, who may not yet realize that a new China has replaced the old.

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