The Third Revolution : Xi Jingping and the New Chinese State Hardback
The emergence of China as a near-superpower over the past three decades has resulted in a veritable flood of information and scholarship.
Yet it is very difficult to make sense of the country given all of its contradictions.
At times, we hear that China is busy instituting the rule of law, but we also read many stories about mass arrests of lawyers and activists, deep-seated corruption, and heightened party control.
The emergence of President Xi in recent years hasonly increased the complexity of the picture. Under Xi's leadership, significant new laws and regulations have been drafted, revised, and promulgated at an astonishing rate, in many instances challenging long-held understandings of the country's overall political and economic trajectory.
Yet he hasalso grabbed many of the powers that had previously held by other institutional leaders in system first established by Deng in the 1980s. Is he a reformer, an authoritarian bent on re-establishing a more Maoist style of leadership, or both at once?
In The China Paradox, Elizabeth Economy, one of America's leading China scholars, provides an authoritative overview of contemporary China that makes sense of all of the seeming inconsistencies and ambiguities in its policies and actions.
She begins by exploring the evolution of Xi Jinping's vision for China and lays out the broad contours of his reform efforts.
Economy then takes a deep dive into six issues the Xi government has identified as its top reform prioritiesâ€”politics, the internet,innovation, state-owned enterprises, the environment, and foreign policyâ€”to provide a picture of the overall arc of current Chinese reform efforts.
She points out where the reforms have succeeded and where they have fallen short, and makes recommendations for how the United States and othercountries can best take advantage of the transformation underway to achieve their own objectives.
Throughout, she returns to three key themes. First, the Chinese leadership, in its drive to realize a rejuvenated China that will recapture the glories of its ancient past, has largely rejected the previous consensus around reform and 'opening up.' Instead, the direction of reform in China today is reactionary, reversing the direction of more than three decades of institutional reform designed toopen the system to political and economic competition.
Secondly, for all the change seemingly underway, the reforms' successes have been greater in form than in substance.
A proliferation of new commissions and initiatives are suggestive of powerful change but have not delivered significant results. Lastly, China's reactionary turn over the past four years has not only constrained relations with the US and other countries, but also presented important new opportunities.
For instance, Xi's ambition for regional and global leadership has created greater potential for conflict in certain areas such as foreign direct investment (which is now declining in relative terms) and control of the South China Sea.
The very boldness of Xi's initiatives, therefore, has provided more political space forboth the international community and Chinese reformers to push for and, in some cases, achieve their own objectives.
This is essential reading for anyone interested in how the US and the world should deal with this vast nation in the coming years.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 360 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- Publication Date: 15/06/2018
- Category: Marxism & Communism
- ISBN: 9780190866075