Mr. China, Tim Clissold, 2004
Based on a true story, a British student of Chinese with a few years of experience at an accounting firm, teams up with an experienced Wall Street banker to invest in China in the early 1990s.
Peking: A Novel of China’s Revolution 1921-1978, Anthony Grey, 1988
Historical epic about the Long March of the Chinese Communists.
Thousand Pieces of Gold, Ruthanne Lum McCunn, 1983
After famine hits her hometown in northern China, Lalu is sent to America in this heart-wrenching tale of slavery, misogyny, adventure and romance.
Foreign Babes in Beijing: A Portrait of the New China, Rachel DeWoskin, 2005
An American ex-pat’s explores of modern China.
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, Jung Chang, 1992
The inspiring biography tells the story of three daughters their struggle and survival against Communism in China.
Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, 2006
The authors recast Mao’s ascent to power and subsequent grip on China in the context of global events.
The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Li Zhi-Sui, 1996
The book reconstructs Dr. Li’s extraordinary time when he served as Chairman Mao’s personal physician.
One Billion Customers, James McGregor, 2005
Considered by some to be the bible for anybody doing business in China, the book reveals indispensable, street-smart strategies, tactics, and lessons for succeeding in the world’s fastest growing consumer market.
Up the Yangtze, Yung Chang, 2008
Largely set on a tourist boat making a “farewell to Old China” cruise, Chang’s documentary, like Jia Zhangke’s Still Life, explores the impact of China’s Three Gorges Dam project, said to displace over 2 million families before its completion in 2011.
Still Life, Jia Zhangke, 2006
In this harrowing, Golden Lion Award winner, two people—whose paths never actually cross—search for their spouses in Fengjie, a village slowly being demolished by the Three Gorges Dam Project.
The Last Emperor, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987
A lushly-directed masterpiece charting the dramatic history of Pu Yi, the final Chinese Emperor, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City.
55 Days at Peking, Nicholas Ray, 1963
Diplomats, soldiers and other representatives of a dozen nations fend off the siege of the International Compound in Peking during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion. Cast: Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner.
Raise the Red Lantern, Yimou Zhang, 1991
Extraordinary view of gender, sexuality, female rivalry and bonding in a historical context (1920s China) that bears political relevance to the present.
Moving the Mountain, Michael Apted, 1994
Told from the students’ perspective, this canny documentary addresses the 1989 Peking student demonstrations for more democracy in the People’s Republic.
Summer Palace, Lou Ye, 2006
Romance and politics parallel each other in this tale of a young girl whose first year at Beijing University ends with the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, 2012
Brilliant documentary about the activist artist; a must-see for anyone traveling to China today.
Children and Teens
Bound, Donna Napoli, 2006
Set against the backdrop of 17th century China, this Cinderella adaptation mixes the emotional story of Xing Xing with important Ming Dynasty history.
Chu Ju’s House, Gloria Whelan, 2005
The story of fourteen-year-old Chu Ju and her effort to save her baby sister who is in mortal danger due to China’s one-child policy.
Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin, 2005
The autobiographical story of Li Cunxin and his journey from a young impoverished village boy to a famous professional dancer who falls in love with America.