Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Understanding Contemporary China, 5th edition

Robert E. Gamer and Stanley W. Toops, editors
Understanding Contemporary China, 5th edition
ISBN: 978-1-62637-653-3
ISBN: 978-1-62637-704-2
2017/526 pages/LC: 2017001474
Understanding: Introductions to the States and Regions of the Contemporary World

Also of interest: Politics and Society in Contemporary China, 2nd ed. by Elizabeth Freund Larus
"Arguably the best multidisciplinary anthology on China, offering up-to-date information in a single volume.... Highly recommended."—Choice

Praise for the previous editions:

"Leading readers almost painlessly through an extensive tour of modern China's events and issues, this anthology is well planned and, with its extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter, a useful guide to deeper study as well as a rich resource for acquainting readers with China.... A well woven and brightly colored tapestry creating a kaleidoscopic and vibrant picture of China."—Mary Karen Solomon, Education About Asia

"A well-balanced overview."—Future Survey


China today bears little resemblance to the country introduced in the first edition of Understanding Contemporary China, published nearly two decades ago. Even in just the past five years, dramatic changes have occurred under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

This new edition of the book reflects those changes, exploring the impact of new domestic policies; China's role as a behemoth in the world economy; its rapidly modernizing infrastructure; its expanding military presence in the region; the environmental challenges it confronts; and much more. The result is an accessible, well-grounded look at the most crucial issues affecting China today.


Robert E. Gamer is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Stanley W. Toops (1957−2023) was associate professor of geography and international studies at Miami University.


  • Introduction—R.E. Gamer.
  • China: A Geographic Preface—S.W. Toops.
  • The Historical Context—R. Murphey.
  • Chinese Politics—R.E. Gamer.
  • China’s Economy—S.Y. Tong and J. Wong.
  • China Beyond the Heartland—L.T. White III and R.E. Gamer.
  • International Relations—R.E. Gamer.
  • Population Growth and Urbanization—R. Ma
  • China’s Environmental Problems—R.L. Edmonds.
  • Family, Kinship, Marriage, and Sexuality— X. Zang and W. Jankowiak.
  • Women and Development—L. Bossen.
  • Religion—H. Chan and A.Y.C. King.
  • Literature and Popular Culture—C.A. Laughlin.
  • Trends and Prospects—R.E. Gamer and L.T. White III.