Contemporary China


1978 marks the launch of economic reforms for China when veteran statesman Deng Xiaoping assumed leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and introduced a new economic development strategy aimed at rebuilding China’s ailing economy and society.

The new Chinese government led by Deng Xiaoping adopted an open-door policy and encouraged foreign trade and investment to spur economic growth and to improve the living standards of its citizens. Deng’s era which was characterised by economic liberalism and entrepreneurial expansion helped to kick-start China’s economy. In the ensuing three decades since the opening of China’s economy, coupled with China’s entry in to the World Trade Organisation in 2001, China’s economy grew by quantum leaps. According to the Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in the US, China is now regarded as the world’s leading economy by respondents in 12 out of 38 countries surveyed, particularly for countries in Europe and others such as Jordan, Canada, UK and Australia. (Source: Wike, R., Poushter, J., Silver, L. & Bishop, C. (2017, July 13). Globally, more name U.S. than China as world’s leading economic power. Retrieved November 1, 2017, from Pew Research Center website:

These are some selected resources on the transformation of China since 1978 that are available from NLB or the Internet. As this list is not intended to be exhaustive, please search the NLB catalogue or the Internet for more resources.


Search Terms Call Number
China economic conditions; China economic policy, China economic development 330.951; 338.951; 381.30951; 382.710951
China politics and government; Government accountability – China; Political leadership – China; Political culture – China; Transparency in government – China 306.20951; 320.951; 324.251075 ; 951.05; 951.06;
China – Population policy; Birth control – China; Family size – Government policy – China 304.60951; 304.630951; 363.90951; 363.960951
Rural-urban migration – China; Migration, Internal – China; Migrant labor – China 304.80951; 307.240951; 307.760951; 331.5440951; 331.5610951 ; 331.620951 ; 331.76240951132; 339.460951091734;
Social change – China 303.40951; 306.0951; 951.04; 951.06;
Middle class – China 305.550951
Families – China; Kinship – China 306.0951; 306.850951; 363.960951



Non-governmental organizations – China; Nonprofit organizations – China; civil society – China 300.951; 320.951; 338.7; 361.70951; 361.760951; 361.7630951
Chinese foreign policy; China – Foreign relations; China global power; China soft power; China – Foreign economic relations 303.48251; 327.51; 327.51054; 337.51; 951.06
People’s Liberation Army; China armed forces 355.00951; 355.033051; 355.30951; 951.042
China – Foreign relations – United States 327.51073; 327.73051
China – Foreign relations – Japan 327.51052; 327.52051; 951.05092



Note: myLibrary ID is required to access the eBooks.

(listed in alphabetical order)



  • Christensen, T. J. (2015). The China challenge: Shaping the choices of a rising power. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Available from NLB OverDrive.
    Christensen provides a new perspective on US-China relations and shows how China has become a regional leader with sufficient clout to cause instability in East Asia and to make an forceful impact on world economics, politics and security issues.


  • Dawra, S. (2016). China: Behind the miracle. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Available from NLB OverDrive.
    Dawra traces the success of China’s economy, which has enabled the fivefold increase in its per capita income in the three decades since Deng Xiaoping’s leadership. She also discusses the future of China’s continued growth in the light of its economic restructuring and policies supporting urbanisation, innovation in agriculture and manufacturing and the development of rural regions in central, southern and western China.


  • DeLisle, J., Goldstein, A. & Yang, G. (2016). The Internet, social media and a changing China. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.  Available from Proquest Ebook Central.
    Gain new insights to the social media revolution which has transformed how Chinese authorities communicate with the public and enabled Chinese citizens to engage with each other, share information and express opinions in the borderless cyberspace.


  • Haft, J. R. (2015). Unmade in China: The hidden truth about China’s economic miracle. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. Available from NLB OverDrive.
    Haft takes a close look at the US-China trade relationship in this book. He examines how the risks posed by the unregulated manufacturing industry in China has led to increased opportunities in the US, with China shifting from its role as an exporter of “made-in-China” products to becoming a major importer of American goods.



  • Naftali, O. (2016). Children in China. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. Available from NLB OverDrive.
    China’s government policies over the past decades have shaped the lives of the current generation today. Naftali explores issues such as the impact of the one-child policy and rural-urban migration trends which have impinged upon children’s education and development in both rural and city areas.


  • Riley, N. (2016). Population in China. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. Available from NLB OverDrive.
    In recent years, China has been experiencing a decline in fertility and mortality rates and an increase in the influx of rural-urban migration. China’s decades-long population policies have impacted the gender ratio and the country has to tackle the current problems of a rapidly ageing population and the heightened inequality between rural and urban residents.


  • Roberts, P. (2016). The power of culture: Encounters between China and the United States. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Available from Proquest Ebook Central.
    With contributions from mainly Chinese academics from Chinese universities and research institutes and several Western scholars, this volume explores the cultural dimensions of the Sino-American relationship alongside China’s growing international influence and power.


  • Shao, B. (2015). China under Xi Jinping: Its economic challenges and foreign policy initiatives. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. Available from Proquest Ebook Central.
    The essays in this book written by leading Chinese scholars in the fields of international relations and political economy discuss the policies enacted by Xi Jinping, China’s current leader and analyse how these policies influence China’s governance, economy and foreign relations strategy.



  • Song, L., Garnaut, R., Cai, F. & Johnston, L. (Eds.). (2015) China’s domestic transformation in a global context. Canberra: ANU Press. Available from Proquest Ebook Central.
    Read about the structural transformations occurring in many pockets of China’s domestic economy, from prioritizing government expenditure on education and research and development to energy and financial market reforms. Woven into the discussion is China’s strategy for participation in international trade policy negotiations.



(listed in alphabetical order)


  • Allison, G. (2017). Destined for war: Can America and China escape Thucydides’s trap? Brunswick, Vic.: Scribe Publications.
    Call no.: 327.73051 ALL (Available in NLB Public Libraries only.)
    Allison examines the US-China relations through the lens of the Thucydides Trap, which refers to war breaking out when a rising power threatens to destabilise an established power. The author also documents the strides which both countries have made in the past to keep the peace and the actions needed to avoid escalating tensions in the future.


  • Enright, M. J. (2017). Developing China: The remarkable impact of foreign direct investment. London; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    Call no.: RBUS 338.951 ENR
    Enright focuses on the critical role which foreign direct investment has played in the economic growth and development of China in tandem with its market liberalism policies and property rights reforms, transforming China’s once feeble economy to become the world’s second largest economy today.


  • Guo, C., Liu, D., Pieterse, J. N. (Eds.). (2017). China’s contingencies and globalization. London: Routledge.
    Call no.: R 303.48251 CHI
    The essays in this volume provide multiple perspectives on issues such as the Chinese globalisation strategy, China’s governance policies in relation to social movements, labour protests and migrant workers and the impact of China’s religious policies on social stability.


  • Heilmann, S. (Ed.). (2017). China’s political system. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
    Call no.: R 320.951 CHI
    This book provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of China’s political system. It discusses the influence of Chinese politics on its economic achievements and the adaptability of the Chinese political regime to changing economic, technological, social and global conditions.


  • Huang, Y. (2017). Cracking the China conundrum: Why conventional economic wisdom is wrong. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Call no.: RBUS 330.951 HUA
    Huang attempts to set the record straight on populist views of China’s economic, political and foreign policy issues. He analyses the contributing factors for China’s national debt, trade and investment relations with the West and the prevalence of corruption which transpired during China’s pursuit of economic liberalism.


  • Jankowiak, W. R. & Moore, R. L. (2017). Family life in China. Malden, MA: Polity Press.
    Call no.: R 306.850951 JAN
    Family life in China reveals the changing framework for family life in today’s Chinese society, discussing issues such as kinship, friendship, multigenerational family structure, ethnic diversity, courtship and marriage, parenting philosophy and intergenerational uncertainties.


  • Kokubun, R. et al. (2017). Japan-China relations in the modern era. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group.
    Call no.: R 327.52051 KOK
    Gain a deeper understanding of the past, present and projected future of China’s bilateral relations with Japan in this book. The contributions are from Japanese scholars and are valuable for researchers studying Japan-Sino relations.


  • Li, X. (Ed.). (2013). China-neighboring Asian countries relations: Review and analysis. China: Social Sciences Academic Press.
    Call no.: R 327.51 CHI
    Written by scholars and policy advisers in China, this book examines China’s changing trade and economic relationships with countries in East Asia as well as with ASEAN countries. It also analyses the impact of US foreign policy on the Asia-Pacific region.


  • Mok, K. H. & Lau, M. (Eds.). (2014). Managing social change and social policy in greater China: Welfare regimes in transition. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge.
    Call no.: R 303.3720951 MAN
    Find out about the social welfare landscape in the Greater China region covering mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The essays in this volume discuss how major economic transformations in the region are creating new pressures on funding and resources allocated to welfare provision.


  • Mukherjee, P., Deb, A. L. & Miao, P. (Eds.). (2016). China and India: History, culture, cooperation and competition. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.
    Call no.: R 303.48251 CHI
    The essays by scholars and academicians from China and India help to paint an encompassing picture of the history, culture, political relations and economic functionalities of both countries.


  • Stromseth, J. R., Malesky, E. J. & Gueorguiev, D. D. (2017). China’s governance puzzle: Enabling transparency and participation in a single-party state. Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press.
    Call no.: R 320.951 STR
    Read about how China’s governance reforms have led to greater government transparency and increased public participation in policymaking. Learn about the impetus behind these reforms and the scope of their significance to Chinese civil society.


  • Tsang, E. Y. (2016). Understanding Chinese society: Changes and transformations. Singapore; New Jersey: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
    Call no.: R 306.0951 TSA
    Different facets of Chinese society are analysed in this book, with topics covering Chinese family and kinship, the emergence of the new middle class, consumerism, medical tourism, delayed marriage, popular culture and media in post-reform China.


  • Yang, J. (Ed.). (2014). China’s diplomacy: Theory and practice. Hackensack, NJ: World Century.
    Call no.: R 327.51 CHI
    This book sheds light on the theories behind the Communist Party of China’s diplomatic practices over the past 90 years and dissects the party’s key role in formulating the nation’s international relations strategies.


  • Ye, M. (2017). China-South Korea relations in the new era: Challenges and opportunities. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.
    Call no.: R 327.5105195 YE
    Ye provides an analytical review of the changing dynamics in the bilateral relations between China and South Korea as seen from both historical and theoretical perspectives. He also highlights the domestic politics of both countries which have seen the involvement and influence of a more vocal citizenry on state policies.


  • Zeng, J. (2016). The Chinese Communist Party’s capacity to rule: Ideology, legitimacy and party cohesion. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Call no.: R 324.251075 ZEN
    Zeng attributes the survival of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to its ideological reform and institutionalisation of power succession. This is despite that fact that China’s economic success has been brought about by the use of free-market capitalist economic policies, which appear to contradict the principles of a communist socialist society.


  • Zhou, H. & Xiong, H. (Eds.). (2017). China’s foreign aid: 60 years in retrospect. Singapore: Springer.
    Call no.: RSEA 338.9151 CHI
    Gain insights to the evolution of China’s foreign aid policy and mechanisms over the past 60 years and learn about China’s aid to Africa, Southeast and Central Asian countries, Latin America and the Caribbean region in this book. Written by Chinese scholars, the book argues that the administration of foreign aid to other countries has enabled China to strengthen its economic and political ties with many developing countries.



Journal articles

Note: myLibrary ID is required to access the eDatabases.
(listed in alphabetical order)


  • Chung, J. H. (2016, January). China’s local governance in perspective: Instruments of central government control. China Journal, 75(1), 38-60. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from EBSCOHost Academic Search Premier.
    Due to its sheer population size and land mass, China’s central government has had to design and deploy various strategies to govern even the most remote regions within its borders. This article discusses the seven dimensions of government control, which involve institutions, allocation of resources, personnel management, administrative monitoring, exertion of authority over local sectors and use of the military.


  • Guo, C. & Shen, J. (2016). Gender and migration: Employment of rural migrants in South China’s factories. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, 22(3), 228-248. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from Proquest Central.
    This study uncovers the trend for rural women to secure factory employment more successfully compared with their male counterparts. From the factories’ perspective, women are considered to be more efficient and careful workers, while males are associated with “carelessness”, “laziness”, “violence” and “conflict”.


  • Li, H., Loyalka, P., Rozelle, S. & Wu, B. (2017, Winter). Human capital and China’s future growth. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1), 25-48. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from Proquest Central.
    Focusing on human capital, this article discusses the prospects for China’s economic growth. It examines China’s hukou policy which demarcates China’s labour force into two distinct camps of rural and urban workers and documents the progress which China has made in raising the education levels of its population.


  • Popescu, G. H. & Bitoiu, T. I. (2016). Sustainability strategies of China’s economic growth model. Journal of Self-governance and Management Economics, 4(2), 90-96. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from Proquest Central.
    This article explores the links between China’s economic progress, CO2 emissions, China’s dependence on heavy industrial output and concerns about environmental sustainability in its industrial energy-intensive sectors.


  • Qi, X. (2015, March). Filial obligation in contemporary China: Evolution of the culture-system. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 45(1), 141-161. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from EBSCOHost Academic Search Premier.
    Despite changing cultural and social mores in China and the rise of ‘individualisation’ (shifting from collective needs to self-realisation and self-interest), filial piety still functions as an important familial obligation among Chinese families. The paper posits that the absence of a social welfare system will ensure the propagation of interdependent relations between parents and children.


  • Rarick, C. & Firlej, K. (2016, June). Leadership and the mandate of heaven: Political risk in China. Journal of Economics and Political Economy, 3(2), 183-191. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from Proquest Central.
    Read this article to get an overall perspective of the possible derailers hindering China’s future prospects after having enjoyed over three decades of economic growth and social progress. It also highlights the problems China faces at present, such as income inequality, labour shortage due to its long-standing one-child policy, rising debt and environmental pollution.


  • Wang, F. (2017, April). Policy response to low fertility in China: Too little, too late? AsiaPacific Issues, 130, 1-4. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from EBSCOHost Academic Search Premier.
    This four-page article details China’s declining fertility levels which began manifesting in the 1970s, before the one-child policy was implemented in 1980. Despite the total lifting of the one-child rule in November 2015, the number of births in China has only increased marginally. The author suggests that the Chinese government should introduce policies that will make it easier for citizens to have children and offer schemes to provide financial and healthcare support for its greying population.


Newspaper articles

Note: myLibrary ID is required to access the eDatabases.
(listed in alphabetical order)



  • Lu, L. (2017, October 13). China focus: Chinese parents optimistic about having a second child. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved from Factiva.
    After the lifting of China’s one-child policy, 1.31 million more babies were born in 2016 compared to 2015, with 45 percent being a second child. China is also introducing more programmes which are favorable for family planning, such as longer maternity leave, the building of more maternity and pediatric hospitals and making preschool education more inclusive.


  • Richardson, J. (2017, September 28). China’s green revolution disrupts chemical supply chains. ICIS News. Retrieved from Factiva.
    To tackle environmental problems such as air pollution caused by its many chemicals plants, China is embarking on an aggressive environmental campaign that purports to hold its office holders responsible if cities fail to achieve their emission reduction targets. Many chemicals companies are also at the brink of being temporarily or permanently shut down as part of the solution to minimise pollution.


  • Wang, J. (2017, July 21). Opportunities arising to improve Sino-Japan relations. Global Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
    Political and business scholars from Japan believe that the time is neigh for China and Japan to work together to deepen economic and trade relations in areas such as the Belt and Road initiative, promote mutual investment and look to the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for investment and financing services for joint infrastructure construction projects.


  • Wei, L. (2017, October 20). China economy backs in the future. Dow Jones Institutional News. Retrieved from Factiva.
    China’s economy grew by 6.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017. This was largely due to larger outputs from the manufacturing, coal mining and construction sectors. However, inefficiencies in these industries and rising corporate debt if left unsolved could cause sluggish economic growth and pull the plug on China’s aspirations to become a “moderately prosperous society by 2020”.



(listed in alphabetical order)


  • Kontanko, B. et al. (2017, June). Chasing the Chinese dream: Aspirations and dilemmas of China’s new affluent consumer class. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from Oliver Wyman website:
    Read about the aspirations and consumer pursuits of the Chinese mass affluent population (individuals with RMB 650,000 to 6 million investable assets) in this 22-page report. This segment of the Chinese population is expected to reach 33 million in 2020 from the current 15 million recorded in 2015. The report also highlights the shift towards wealth and lifestyle, rising discontent due to the soaring cost of living and fresh opportunities for businesses and wealth managers in this new paradigm of domestic consumer spending.


  • Lun, J. (2017, January). China’s domestic politics and foreign policy: January 2017 analysis. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from House of Commons Library website:
    Explore the trends in China’s domestic politics and foreign policy in this 19-page report, which provides an analysis of President Xi Jinping’s leadership and the goals and objectives behind China’s approach to foreign relations, particularly with the US. The report also discusses the future prospects for China’s socialist ideology and its slow evolution towards some form of liberal democracy given the enlarged role that China now plays in the global political and economic arenas.


  • Morrison, W. M. (2017, September 15). China’s economic rise: History, trends, challenges, and implications for the United States. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from Congressional Research Service website:
    This report traces the advent of economic reforms and trade liberalisation in China which began 36 years ago and its current economic structure today. It also discusses the challenges which China faces in sustaining a rapidly growing economy and the Chinese government’s plan to implement sweeping economic reforms.


  • OECD Economic Surveys China. (2017, March). Retrieved October 27, 2017, from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development website:
    This 52-page report gives a detailed overview of the current state of China’s economy which is doing well but appears to be slowing down. The Chinese government is allocating sizeable funds on research and development to boost corporate dynamism and performance and the report recommends ensuring inclusive growth by improving the labour market opportunities for citizens.


  • Schell, O. & Shirk, S. L. (2017, February). US policy toward China: Recommendations for a new administration. Retrieved October 27, 2017 from Center on US-China Relations website:
    This report from the Task Force on US-China Policy sets forth recommendations which are aimed at helping the Trump administration to develop a strategic US-Sino policy which will further develop bilateral ties and promote trade and investment cooperation between both countries while protecting US national interests.


Accessing National Library Board Singapore Resources

Accessing the Print Materials

You can search the library catalogue (for physical materials) in the library and from home ( The easy search function allows you to search/browse by author, title, keyword, subject and ISBN/ISSN whereas the advanced search allows you to narrow your searches to specific media types or language holdings. In both instances, you will also be able to limit your search to search only specific libraries by clicking on the “limit by branch” option.

To search Lee Kong Chian Reference Library’s Holdings

If you wish to search for only materials available in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, please always click on the “Limit by Branch” button at the bottom of the page, after you have keyed in your search term. This brings you to a new page whereby you will be able to select the library of your choice. Choose “Lee Kong Chian Reference Library” and select “yes” under the “Display only items available in the selected branch below” and then click on search.

Things to note:

Once you have identified the title that you need, please double check through the following information and write down the necessary info:

i. The “Status” of the item: the item is not available in the library, if the status displayed is “in transit”, “in process” or “not ready for loan”.

ii. Double check that the item is in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library under “Branch”.

iii. Write down the Location Code and the Call Number of the item. This helps you to locate the item within Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Please refer to the table below for more information (Note: Please feel free to approach the counter staff for help in locating the books.)

All featured books and periodicals are located at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.

Accessing the Databases

The National Library Board (NLB)’s eResources are free for all NLB members. Click here to find out how to register as a member.

If you’re having problems registering or logging in, please contact us. If you wish to find information in the databases but am not sure where to begin, or need recommendations on which databases to use, please use the “Ask A Librarian” function or send an email to for help. The librarian will get back to you within three working days.



Sharon Teng


The information in this resource guide is valid as at November 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2017.


Written by Sharon Teng