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China's Trapped Transition
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations Introduction 1. Why Transitions Get Trapped: A Theoretical Framework 2. Democratizing China? 3. Rent Protection and Dissipation: The Dark Side of Gradualism 4. Transforming the State: From Developmental to Predatory 5. China's Mounting Governance Deficits Conclusion Appendix: Reported Cases of Local Mafia States Notes Acknowledgments Index

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Minxin Pei is unquestionably one of this country's best informed and most insightful analysts of contemporary Chinese politics. This well-written, provocative book--a sobering picture of a China beset by severe social problems yet resistant to the political reforms needed to resolve them--directly challenges much of the conventional wisdom about the rise of China. It is certain to be welcomed by scholars, policymakers, and general readers alike. -- Elizabeth J. Perry, author of Patrolling the Revolution In this superb work, Pei asks penetrating questions about the course of China's development. He offers a very effective critique of the gradualist approach to reform, explaining that the problems China faces are not incidental to but an integral part of that approach. Powerfully argued, this is a major contribution sure to stir debate. -- Joseph Fewsmith, author of China since Tiananmen Pei's notion of a 'trapped transition' will prove valuable--and not just for its application to China. It serves to challenge the deterministic and evolutionary assumptions behind much of the literature on democratization. -- Philippe C. Schmitter, European University Institute Not only does Minxin Pei make the case that the Chinese reforms are partial and self-limiting, but he also calls into question the hopeful view that rapid growth will ultimately generate political reform. His important book has implications for current debates about the United States-China relationship, but will also force a rethinking of the broader comparative literature on the developmental state. -- Stephan Haggard, co-author of The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions

About the Author

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.

Reviews

Thought-provoking...Mr. Pei argues, persuasively, that China's gradualism, often favourably contrasted with the former Soviet Union's flirtation with radical reforms, is as much a political as an economic strategy. -- Martin Wolf Financial Times 20060531 Pei does not have much time for the optimistic assumption that democracy in China is just around the corner...For Pei, there is little chance of dethroning the Communist party behemoth in spite of the heroic efforts of the dissidents and democracy campaigners. -- Chris Patten Financial Times 20060612 As Pei sees it, big trouble looms [for China]. Continued progress toward a more modern economy will require the establishment of a true rule of law, which in turn will require 'institutional curbs' on governmental action. These two limitations on power are incompatible with the party's insistence on dominating society. So long as the current political framework remains in place, then, China is effectively, and perhaps fatally, trapped in its state of transition...[China's Trapped Transition presents a] comprehensive and, I believe, compelling understanding of present-day China. -- Gordon G. Chang Commentary 20060901 [An] acute and insightful examination of China's ongoing transition. -- Chris Hunter China Economic Review 20061001 Pei's most significant contribution lies in his lucid exposition of the causal links between the structural logic of China's "illiberal adaptation" and its manifest socio-economic and political consequences...He has arguably--like Elvin before him--raised the level of debate and altered the terms of engagement. -- Richard Baum China Journal 20070101

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