The English edition of Heriberto Araujo and Juan Pablo Cardenal’s The Silent Chinese Conquest, which was apparently published under the title China’s Silent Army, has been reviewed by Bristol University psychology lecturer and blogger Zeng Biao, who also owns a consultancy on Chinese-British relations, for the newspaper 21st Century Economic Herald. Zeng notes the author’s “betrayal” of their interviewees, the Chinese entrepreneurs and managers who proudly showed them around their businesses, but add that such betrayals are the stock in trade of “political and social affairs journalists”. He adds that he feels some empathy for the small traders the authors describe, and wagers that,
if China’s global influence continues to increase and develop bit by bit, as it has, then history’s take on these Chinese peddlers will surely be full of the humour and intimacy of today’s British writings on the East India Company.
Overall, Zeng’s opinion of the book is favourable; his “only regret is that it was not written by Chinese.” And, “in order to avoid more regrets,” he recommends that it be published in Chinese.
Does Zeng agree with the authors’ alarmist tone and sees it as a positive thing, as some Chinese nationalists tend to do with Western books warning of China’s “rise?” Or does he agree with the warning, that the “silent army” has dire consequences in terms of crime, environmental hazards, exploitation and so on, as well? Or does he simply think the authors’ research deserves discussion? This is not clear.