It would be remiss to conclude an overview of the year’s events without mentioning the passing of one of the greatest China scholars of the contemporary age, Professor Jonathan Spence of Yale University, who died in December, aged eighty-five. Spence wrote accessibly on subjects ranging from the history of the Qing to the ‘memory palace’ of an Italian Jesuit in the court of the Ming. He was mourned across the Sinological world, and on both sides of the Taiwan Strait — no contradiction of views there.
The China Story Yearbook is a project initiated by the CIW at The Australian National University. It has always been the approach of the Yearbook to view political and economic developments as part of a greater picture that encompasses society, personalities, and culture — a picture that is illuminated by considerations of language and history. Our ongoing reference to the China Story 中国的故事 reflects the principle set out by CIW founding director, Emeritus Professor Geremie R. Barmé, that China’s story is not only the version portrayed by the CPC, but also a story that includes the diverse perspectives of a multitude of others, within and outside the People’s Republic of China who are dedicated to understanding the complexities of China through its language, history, culture, politics, economy, society and, most importantly, its people.
Co-editors Esther Sunkyung Klein, Linda Jaivin, and Sharon Strange are enormously grateful to all our contributors, to Jan Borrie for copy-editing the book, to Chin-Jie Melodie Liu for typesetting the book and for the artwork on the internal pages, to Teresa Prowse from ANU Press for the cover design, and to the two anonymous referees for taking the time to read and comment on it before publication.