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About "Dangerous Straits"
An introduction to the FRONTLINE documentary

Historical context in which to learn about U.S.-China relations, an overview of the key issues between the two countries, and information on the recent strains in the United States' relationship with China

Lesson Plan
Students are asked to prepare policy briefs for their U.S. representatives; to learn about the art and practice of diplomacy; and to engage in meaningful debate about U.S.-China relations.

  • Books/Articles
  • On the Web

  • Glossary
    Short descriptions of the key terms and historical figures

    Fitzgerald, John. "China and the Quest for Dignity," in National Interest, Spring 1999. Interesting essay on the development of nationalism in contemporary China.

    Lampton, David M. Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing U.S.-China Relations, 1989-2000. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001. Detailed, authoritative study of this period of U.S.-China relations by a leading academic and policy specialist in the field.

    Mann, James. About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton. New York: Knopf, 1999. Enlightening account by a respected diplomatic correspondent for the Los Angeles Times about the narrow social base on which the U.S. rebuilt its relationship with China during the 1970s and 1980s.

    Niu, Jun. "Suspicion: Present Chinese Understanding of and Reflection on the United States," from China and World Economy, No. 5, 2001. A review of recent U.S.-China relations from a Chinese perspective by specialist on international relations at Beijing University, who is well regarded by colleagues in the field in both countries. (Available on the Web at http://www.iwep.org.cn/wec/.)

    Schaller, Michael. The United States and China in the Twentieth Century, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1990. Good brief survey of U.S.-China relations.

    Shambaugh, David. "The United States and China: Cooperation or Confrontation?" from The China Reader: The Reform Era, Orville Schell and David Shambaugh, ed. New York: Vintage Books, 1999, 470-479. Originally published in Current History, September 1997. Analysis of U.S.-China relations during the mid-1990s by an expert in the field, with insight into American opposition to China.

    Starr, John Bryan. Understanding China: a Guide to China's Economy, History, and Political Structure. New York: Hill and Wang, 1997. Excellent general introduction. Chapter 16, on China's foreign relations, describes the range of interest groups in the shaping of Chinese foreign policy and discusses Chinese commercial and strategic priorities.

    Tyler, Patrick. A Great Wall -- an Investigative History. New York: The Century Foundation, 1999. Account by a well-informed New York Times correspondent of how six recent U.S. administrations struggled to guide U.S.-China policy through a series of diplomatic and military challenges.

    on the web

    Weekly journal with provocative but thinner coverage than Far Eastern Economic Review. Use its search engine to bring up articles on a specific topic.

    Central Intelligence Agency Factbook, China
    This source gives basic information culled by U.S. government researchers about contemporary China on a variety of topics. Up to date to July 2001.

    China Daily
    This newspaper is published in Beijing and represents Chinese government perspectives. Its search engine will return all kinds of topics relevant to this project. The homepage (lower right side) has hot links to other Chinese communications media, including Xinhua News xinhuanet.com.cn, various information agencies, and TV/radio sources.

    Dialog@Carl News Collection
    This subscriber service provides full text of over 115 national and international newspapers and news services. It is available at your public library and may well also be online at your school library. The Asian news services include Asia Intelligence Wire, Asia-Pacific News (covers 10 Asia regional newspapers and agencies including the China Daily PRC, the China News Taiwan, and the Central News Agency Taiwan), The South Chine Morning Post (Hong Kong), and Xinhua News Agency (PRC). An advantage of this service is that you can search up to 6 data bases simultaneously.

    The Economist
    If your school subscribes to this resource, it is worth consulting. The Economist is a leading weekly English language journal for informed commentary on worldwide political and economic topics. (Current articles are free; to use the search engine costs $4.95 a week or $59 a year to subscribe.)

    Far Eastern Economic Review
    Outstanding weekly journal published in Hong Kong. Provides broad review of developments throughout East Asia. Use its search engine to find relevant articles on China. (Free)

    Inside China Today
    From EuropeanInternet.com. This source draws heavily on European wire services. It contains such resources as"Sino-U.S. Relations Since 1971" and many up-to-date news stories on China today. (There is a small registration fee to join this service.)

    The New York Times
    Typing"spy plane incident in China" into search engine, and choosing current year to date for the date range, brought up 93 articles (as of 9/21/01). (Free, but requires registration.)

    South China Morning Post
    Outstanding newspaper published in Hong Kong. Typing in"spy plane incident" into its search engine brought up 83 entries (as of 9/21/2001).

    Trade Information Center, U.S. Department of Commerce
    Major source for information on U.S. international trade.

    World Bank
    This source provides considerable information on China's economy.

    NOTE: There are many other URLs giving information about China. Don't believe everything you read in them. The Web sites of major journals and information agencies give the same information that is published in print and have the reputation of the journal or agency behind them.

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