CHINA'S TRAPPED TRANSITION

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Harvard University Press, 2006 - History - 294 pages
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The rise of China as a great power is one of the most important developments in the twenty-first century. But despite dramatic economic progress, China’s prospects remain uncertain. In a book sure to provoke debate, Minxin Pei examines the sustainability of the Chinese Communist Party’s reform strategy—pursuing pro-market economic policies under one-party rule.

Pei casts doubt on three central explanations for why China’s strategy works: sustained economic development will lead to political liberalization and democratization; gradualist economic transition is a strategy superior to the “shock therapy” prescribed for the former Soviet Union; and a neo-authoritarian developmental state is essential to economic take-off. Pei argues that because the Communist Party must retain significant economic control to ensure its political survival, gradualism will ultimately fail.

The lack of democratic reforms in China has led to pervasive corruption and a breakdown in political accountability. What has emerged is a decentralized predatory state in which local party bosses have effectively privatized the state’s authority. Collusive corruption is widespread and governance is deteriorating. Instead of evolving toward a full market economy, China is trapped in partial economic and political reforms.

Combining powerful insights with empirical research, China’s Trapped Transition offers a provocative assessment of China’s future as a great power.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Why Transitions Get Trapped A Theoretical Framework
17
Democratizing China?
45
Rent Protection and Dissipation The Dark Side of Gradualism
96
Transforming the State From Developmental to Predatory
132
Chinas Mounting Governance Deficits
167
Conclusion
206
Reported Cases of Local Mafia States
219
Notes
223
Acknowledgments
279
Index
281
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About the author (2006)

Minxin Pei is Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 Professor of Government and Roberts Fellow, and the director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College.

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