University of Pittsburgh
August 27, 2003

Pitt Professor's New Book Maps Changing China

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—If China continues to modernize at its current pace, coastal China will become a great industrial strength, Hong Kong will be as prosperous as London or New York, and Beijing will become a cultural center akin to Paris, according to University of Pittsburgh Professor Chiao-min Hsieh, editor of the book Changing China: A Geographic Appraisal.

Released Aug. 22 by Westview Press, Changing China draws together a prestigious group of scholars to explore—through cartography and essay—China's transition from a centralized command economy to a market-based economy, and from a rural, agricultural society to an urban, industrial power.

Hsieh and coeditor Max Lu of Kansas State University have compiled maps and essays by 25 geography experts both inside and outside of China. The 27 maps detail changes in urban population density, migration patterns, spatial variations in ethnic diversity, and regions of economic activity.

"China is very important, and very few people know about it because of language, ideology, and Communism," says Hsieh, professor emeritus of geography in Pitt's Department of Geology and Planetary Science. "In this book, you really can see how China has changed, and the change is geographical, caused by migration in the coastal areas and the interior, agriculture, and shifting boundaries."

In the final chapter, Hsieh speculates about China's future. Within 50 years, he says, China will complete its industrial transition and will advance technologically. This will lead the country to a dominant role in world affairs, similar to Great Britain in the 19th century and the United States in the 20th century.

"No other country has been so affected by the past as China," writes Hsieh in Changing China. "But today, no other country is led by a regime so determined to ignore the past. History's most conservative nation has now seemed to become its most radical."

Changing China will be used as a college textbook at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Washington, and other U.S. universities. Exam or personal copies of the book are available by calling 1-800-386-5656. Book review copies are available by request on letterhead by fax to 720-406-7336, attention Greg Houle, Westview Press Publicity.