Modern China has been a source of endless fascination, sometimes evoking feelings of profound admiration, while at other times leaving me feeling bitterly frustrated and outraged. One thing that China has never been, is boring.
Dr. Richard Baum was Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he specialized in the study of modern Chinese politics and foreign relations. He earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Baum lived and lectured extensively throughout China and Asia. He served as Visiting Professor or Visiting Scholar at institutions including Peking University, Meiji Gakuin University (Japan), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Princeton University, and Arizona State University, where he was honored as Distinguished Visiting Scholar for 2008. He was the author/editor of nine books, including Prelude to Revolution: Mao, the Party, and the Peasant Question, 1962ñ1966; and a personal memoir, China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom. Professor Baum served on the boards of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and the Joint Committee on Contemporary China of the Social Science Research Council. He was a consultant to numerous public and private agencies, including the White House, the United Nations, and the RAND Corporation. He was also a frequent commentator on Chinese and East Asian affairs for the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio. Professor Baum passed away in December 2012.