Books

08.01.17

Globalization against Democracy

Guoguang Wu
Globalization has reconfigured both the external institutional framework and the intrinsic operating mechanisms of capitalism. The global triumph of capitalism implies the embracing of the market by the state in all its variants, and that global capitalism is not confined to the shell of nation-state democracy. Guoguang Wu provides a theoretical framework of global capitalism for specialists in political economy, political science, economics, and international relations, for graduate and undergraduate courses on globalization, capitalism, development, and democracy, as well as for the public who are interested in globalization. Wu examines the new institutional features of global capitalism and how they re-frame movements of capital, labor, and consumption. He explores how globalization has created a chain of connection in which capital depends on effective authoritarianism, while democracy depends on capital. Ultimately, he argues that the emerging state-market nexus has fundamentally shaken the existing institutional systems, harming democracy in the process. —Cambridge University Press{chop}

Books

04.05.17

China’s Crony Capitalism

Minxin Pei
When Deng Xiaoping launched China on the path to economic reform in the late 1970s, he vowed to build “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” More than three decades later, China’s efforts to modernize have yielded something very different from the working people’s paradise Deng envisioned: an incipient kleptocracy, characterized by endemic corruption, soaring income inequality, and growing social tensions. China’s Crony Capitalism traces the origins of China’s present-day troubles to the series of incomplete reforms from the post-Tiananmen era that decentralized the control of public property without clarifying its ownership.Beginning in the 1990s, changes in the control and ownership rights of state-owned assets allowed well-connected government officials and businessmen to amass huge fortunes through the systematic looting of state-owned property—in particular land, natural resources, and assets in state-run enterprises. Mustering compelling evidence from over two hundred corruption cases involving government and law enforcement officials, private businessmen, and organized crime members, Minxin Pei shows how collusion among elites has spawned an illicit market for power inside the party-state, in which bribes and official appointments are surreptitiously but routinely traded. This system of crony capitalism has created a legacy of criminality and entrenched privilege that will make any movement toward democracy difficult and disorderly.Rejecting conventional platitudes about the resilience of Chinese Communist Party rule, Pei gathers unambiguous evidence that beneath China’s facade of ever-expanding prosperity and power lies a Leninist state in an advanced stage of decay. —Harvard University Press{chop}

China Passes Law to Ensure Films ‘Serve the People and Socialism’

Alan Evans
Guardian
First law governing the country’s film industry targets box-office fraud and says film-makers must have excellent moral integrity

Books

08.02.16

Creativity Class

Lily Chumley
The last three decades have seen a massive expansion of China’s visual culture industries, from architecture and graphic design to fine art and fashion. New ideologies of creativity and creative practices have reshaped the training of a new generation of art school graduates. Creativity Class is the first book to explore how Chinese art students develop, embody, and promote their own personalities and styles as they move from art school entrance test preparation, to art school, to work in the country’s burgeoning culture industries. Lily Chumley shows the connections between this creative explosion and the Chinese government’s explicit goal of cultivating creative human capital in a new “market socialist” economy where value is produced through innovation.Drawing on years of fieldwork in China’s leading art academies and art test prep schools, Chumley combines ethnography and oral history with analyses of contemporary avant-garde and official art, popular media, and propaganda. Examining the rise of a Chinese artistic vanguard and creative knowledge-based economy, Creativity Class sheds light on an important facet of today’s China. —Princeton University Press{chop}

You Can't Understand China Unless You Know How the Communist Party Thinks

Zheng Bijian
Huffington Post
The CPC came into being in 1921, almost a century ago.

China’s College Counselors Told to Join the Party — the Communist Party

Hannah Beech
Time
China’s Education Ministry has deemed universities an “ideological frontline”.

Media

04.28.14

A Guide to Social Class in Modern China

Class is a sensitive word in China. Marxist-Leninist rhetoric like “class enemies,” “class conflict,” and “class struggle” are rarely seen in the country’s media these days, but since China began its market reforms in 1979, stratification has...

Features

11.08.13

Document 9: A ChinaFile Translation

This weekend, China’s leaders gather in Beijing for meetings widely expected to determine the shape of China’s economy, as well as the nation’s progress, over the next decade. What exactly the outcome of this Third Plenum of the Eighteenth Party...

Can China Deliver The Chinese Dream(s)?

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
In dedicating his people to pursue something more abstract and individualized, Xi has succeeded in capturing their attention. Now he faces the challenge of meeting their expectations.  

Media

03.13.13

Chavez and Bo Xilai Gone: Death of a Political Model?

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s death on March 5, 2013 came in the same week as the “Two Sessions” began in China, when China’s national legislature meets in Beijing. It was also almost exactly a year since the spectacular political demise of Bo...

Books

12.17.12

Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged

Nina Bandelj, Dorothy Solinger (editors)
Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged examines the twenty-year aftermath of the 1989 assaults on established, state-sponsored socialism in the former Soviet bloc and in China. Editors Nina Bandelj and Dorothy J. Solinger bring together prominent experts on Eastern Europe and China to examine the respective trajectories of political, economic, and social transformations that unfolded in these two areas, while also comparing the changes that ensued within the two regions. The volume features paired comparisons, with one chapter on the countries from the former Soviet bloc and one on China for each of the following themes: the reinstitutionalization of politics, the recasting of state-society relations, the reform of economic systems, changes in economic behavior, and transformations of social institutions. Despite differences in the specific substantive focus and disciplinary grounding among individual chapters, all chapters share a concern with the fate of the state in postsocialism. They elaborate on topics such as the transformations of the old socialist state and its nature, activities and roles; civil society before and after 1989; the ways in which the state has, or has not, acted to encourage new forms of economic behavior; and the state's responsibility for societal trends, whether in family formation, in protest or in inequality. Taking a unique approach to understand twentieth-century socialism on a global scale, Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged uncovers insights about political models and economic patterns that have emerged in the grand project of the transition from socialism. —Oxford University Press

Xinhua Insight: China Will Never Copy Western Political System

Meng Na and Mou Xu
Xinhua
Xinhua says Hu Jintao wants China to support state power and at the same time improve the system of community-level democracy.

My First Trip

02.19.11

Dawn in China

Perry Link
My father was a radical leftist professor. He led study tours to the Soviet Union in the 1930s and later admired Mao Zedong. That influence, in addition to the passion in the late 1960s and early 1970s within the American student movement against...

The China We Don’t Know

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
In the late 1990s, Chinese peasants in the village of Da Fo, many of whom between 1959 and 1961 had survived the twentieth century’s greatest famine, felt free enough to install shrines to Guangong, the traditional war god of resistance to...

Democratic Vistas?

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
In August 1980 Deng Xiaoping laid down the Communist Party’s view of democracy. It continues to cripple China and is used both inside the country and by its apologists abroad to avoid the issue of repression. Deng said: Democracy without...

The Chinese Dream Machine

Jonathan D. Spence
Simple-looking questions make good starting points for books; for simple questions are usually very hard to answer, and if the author is skillful enough he elaborates the simple question until it is overlaid with hovering qualifications, doubts, and...