How to understand China

From LARB, John B. Thompson reviews Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War by Stephen R. Platt and What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in 19th Century China by Tobie Meyer-Fong; and Nick Holdstock interviews Lisa Ross, author of Living Shrines of Uyghur China. How do Chinese intellectuals construe social instability? Deng Yuwen on how to understand China's foreign policy: China can become a beacon for the world — if it trades in its conservative foreign policy for one that emphasizes universal values. On criticizing China: James Fallows on a unified field theory on assessing goods and bads. Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng on China and the night-watchman state’s last shift. Benjamin F. Carlson on China's France fetish: The new rich want wine, cheese, and savoir vivre — underemployed Frenchmen are glad to deliver it.