What Does China Think?

Mark Leonard, Author . Public Affairs $22.95 (164p) ISBN 978-1-58648-484-2

Commonly characterized as a juggernaut monomaniacally focused on breakneck economic growth, China is actually riven by a lively, far-reaching debate over its future, argues this inquisitive study. Leonard (Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century ) divides Chinese intellectuals into a New Right that wants to extend laissez-faire market reforms and an increasingly influential New Left that decries rising inequality, corruption and environmental destruction and wants a strong government to rein in capitalist elites and protect workers. Meanwhile, political reformers push cautiously for local and Communist Party elections against a consensus that associates democracy with chaotic mob rule or national dismemberment. China's foreign policy is split between liberal internationalists and truculent “neo-comms” who contend that China must be ready to use force against its enemies. The author notes that these ideological divisions resemble those in Western countries, but emphasizes the distinctiveness of Chinese ideas, like the concept of the “deliberative dictatorship” of a one-party state that stays responsive to popular pressures, or a “Walled World” where globalization enhances rather than erodes the autonomy of national governments. Leonard's is a lucid, eye-opening account of China's intellectual scene and its growing importance to the world. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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