The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics by Mae Ngai

Beneath the media-polished statements of pundits, power brokers, and many of this year’s G7 leaders on the subject of China lies this question: Are the Chinese a threat to white, Anglo-American countries?

Though it reflects this millennium’s intensifying anxieties around China, this sentiment actually dates back to the 1800s, when it was popularly known as “the Chinese Question.” In her book of the same name, the American historian Mae Ngai revisits the question’s origins in the 19th-century gold rushes that spanned the U.S., Australia, and South Africa.