I have never been to China but if I did I would most certainly take this splendid little tome with me. Author Kathy Flowers efforts for the "Culture Smart!" series (published by Kuperard) packs a lot of useful information into a very small space.
There are stacks of fascinating facts and figures which cast a welcome light on this most insular of country's way of life. What impresses me most about Ms Flowers take on Chinese history and culture is her preparedness to take on the thorny issue of past and present human rights abuses as well as leaving room for some degree of optimism about the possibility of change. (Many other guides bottle out!)
The section on 'The Media' is particularly enlightening: "China has the largest number of Web users in the world. It also has some of the tightest controls on sites of which it does not approve : try typing words like 'freedom' or 'Falun Gong' into a search engine while in China and watch it mysteriously crash." (It could never happen here...could it?!!)
On a lighter note, the two pages on 'Business Communication Styles' are a hoot and a must have/must know for any budding entrepreneur with his sights set on making a bob or a buck (or two) in Beijing!