My own first introduction to Chinese thought and political economy was a university course in New Zealand in 1974. I especially recall one book, Mark Elvin’s “The Pattern of the Chinese Past”. If you are not familiar with the arguments in this book already, there is a reasonable summary at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Chinese-Past-Mark-Elvin/dp/0413286304 . Of course, China is any number of “countries”. With 20% of the world’s population it could hardly be otherwise. Nothing is more foolish than the outsider who pretends to “know” China, but certainly the second most foolish is the Chinese person who pretends to “know” China. Yet we are generalizing creatures. Probably we have form stereotypes to function at all. Looking at that vast conglomeration called China we can all discern flavours, tendencies, preferences, patterns… that are different from, say, the European mix, although we may argue about what the varieties mean.