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What Does China Think? Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 29, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Useful reading for students of contemporary politics and international affairs." -- Kirkus, March 1, 2008
- ASIN : B0044KMX16
- Publisher : PublicAffairs (April 29, 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 176 pages
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.75 x 5.75 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,307,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Dear editor, kindly publish and distribute following important China dream discussion topics:
Harmony Renaissance: Revival of harmony philosophy ancient or modern for multipolar national cultural identity and world peace and harmony. For more details please refer to World Harmony Organization and Francis C W Fung publications. UPDATED 20 CHINA
China Dream: Revival of Chinese nation for national dignity and multipolar world peace and harmony. For more details on China dream please refer to summary of President Xi's statements.
1) China dream, harmony renaissance essential for China and global peace and China revival.
2) China dream and harmony renaissance together means Chinese soft power.
3) China must continue harmony renaissance for survival against U S criticism
4) China must be proactive on harmony renaissance not to be contained by U.S. liberal democracy
5) China dream, resolve south China sea dispute by harmony diplomacy
6) ancient Chinese thought, modern Chinese softpower through harmony renaissance
7) Harmony renaissance is the spirit of China dream, dream with in a dream
8) Harmony renaissance vs liberal democracy thought in 21st century.
9) Rally around harmony renaissance to rebuild a Chinese civilization state
10) Can China survive without harmony renaissance under U.S. democracy assault?
11) Survival of the fittest demands China dream to include harmony renaissance.
12) Without harmony renaissance China dream is empty
13) "China is unlikely to become a superpower because it lacked an independent ideology with global clout" according to Margret Thatcher.
14) China will remain a "small country" without harmony renaissance despite economic growth.
15) China dream means 21st century multipolar world, peace and world harmony.
16) Harmony renaissance is the missing ancient Chinese ideology with global clout Margret Thatcher is referring to.
17) Harmony renaissance is the revival of Chinese cultural value ,ancient and modern.
18) The Chinese dream with harmony renaissance can enrich world civilization.
19) Harmony renaissance adds spiritual life and perspective to China dream.
20) Harmony Renaissance will be a preferred balance to U.S. relentless and powerful push of liberal democracy ideology on other countries in a multipolar world.
21) China dreams mean democratic world order and multipolar world peace and harmony.
22) Sun Yet Sen and Nationalist party empowered the elite, Mao Zedong empowered women and the masses, Deng Xiaoping’s reform and open up empowered the economy and rule and order, the final movement in the symphony of Chinese modernization is to empower China’s soul and spirit with China dream and harmony renaissance.
Best of Harmony
Francis C W Fung, Ph.D.
World Harmony Organization
The introductory statement "that without understanding China, it would be impossible to understand world politics," (pg. 8) is never more true than today. The author is adept in the comparison of Thomas Friedman's "flat world" of globalization to the China-created philosophy of a "Walled World" (pg. 18). The contrast is both enlightening and insightful.
The zebra-horse allegory (pg. 23) was funny yet so true in the description of the methods used by China to change a state controlled economy to a market economy in the late 20th Century combined with the notion of incremental democracy or consultation with a new informed intellectual technocracy in party and government policy (pg. 67).
The concept of Comprehensive National Power (pg. 83) is most interesting and how the Chinese think-tanks conducted case studies of rising nation state powers (pg. 90). Moreover, the Chinese cultural outreach (pg. 95) especially in African economic affairs is impressive.
Several bona fide points were made by the author: 1] "that it is no longer axiomatic that liberal democracy as the necessary foundation for development," (pg. 96); 2] China has "developed a brand of 'listening diplomacy', contrasting to the multilateralism with American unilateralism," (pg. 97); the goal "is not to cut China off but rather to allow China to engage with the world on its own terms," (pg. 118); and, China "is determined to defend an older idea sovereignty, based around the sovereign rights of states," (pg. 128 and 132).
This reader enjoyed the description of China's participation in multinational organizations of the so-called 'flat world' and advancing state capitialism and the market economy (horses-to-zebras) while making central communist party control more fashionable domestically and internationally.
Top reviews from other countries
I applaude the authors balanced arguements, despite his self confessed opinion that Europe will prevail enventually (see his previous book.)I found it a disturbing read, (as a non religious person), to observe the achievements of a non religous state putting human rights and
the environment as an after thought. The European concept of interdependance to regulate selfish interest would appear to be a morally
superior secular arrangement.
The author makes the valid point that a sudden change to democracy would create many problems itself, it is interesting to entertain the idea that autocracy can compete. However, this is unlikely to endear the reader to such a prospect.
The thing that prevented this book from getting five stars was the neglect of the issue of population. After the boom came the single child policy, what does China think about pensions? (Not mentioned) This book, however, remains a sound, if brief introduction to a completely different way of working a society.
Mark Leonard's quest is to meet and talk to a wide range of leading thinkers, politicians and businessmen from all over China. He provides an insight into their views. What comes across is that the Chinese way is certainly not an imitation of any other development path. It is Mark Leonard's uncovering of the original, innovative thought and his lucid account and interpretation of events in China that makes the book so readable.
One Chinese school of thought is that they cannot afford the luxury of democracy. Maybe if I lived in grinding poverty with famine and disease close by I would put a reliable square meal and shelter before free speech. Louisa, my neice, tells me that even now in her part of China heating in homes is forbidden - there is not enough fuel for heating, you must simply put on more clothes.
Developing countries that have chosen democracy without the rule of law, such as Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda and the Lebanon, have resulted in chaos, as populist regimes have exploited ethnic tensions to get their hands on power. On the other hand countries like Singapore, Hong Kong have adopted the rule of law without democracy. They have known nothing but success: their economies are growing steadily; they are attracting investment; they have wiped out corruption and developed strong national identities. The breakup of the Soviet Union after Gorbachev's reforms and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet economy is a heartfelt salutary lesson to the Chinese leadership. Recognising an independent Taiwan is an anathema as it would provide an example other "regions of China" might want to follow.
According to Fang Ning of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences "Democracy in the west is like a fixed - menu restaurant where customers can select the identity of their chef, but have no say in what dishes he chooses to cook for them. Chinese democracy, on the other hand, always involves the same chef - the Communist Party - but the policy dishes which are served up can be chosen "a la carte".
For example Leonard describes the experiments in strengthening the rule of law and consulting the public in Chongqing - a city on the Yangste of 30 million people (bigger than 22 out of the 27 EU states) and growing at 500,000 people per year. There, Li Dianxun, the director of the city government spearheads a process whereby all significant government rulings are subject to popular hearing - in person, on television and on the internet. By 2008, 600 public hearings involving 100,000 citizens had been organised on subjects including compensation to peasants whose land had been requisitioned; on the level of the minimum wage; on the setting of prices for water, electricity, natural gas, roads, education and public health.
The city of Zeguo has taken this consultation process further in deciding how to spend the public works budget. Two hundred and seventy five people, randomly selected from the population, are briefed by the experts on the pros and cons of the building projects. They whittle down the projects and their wish-list is presented to the People's congress which votes the plan through in its entirety.
But it is not just with conventional ideas of power that the Chinese thinkers are concerned. They have studied how the USA has come to symbolise freedom and affluence from the Bill of Rights to Coca Cola, Macdonalds and Hollywood. They are attempting the "China Dream" of three powerful ideas: economic development, political sovereignty and international law.
Economic development was pioneered in the early 1980's with the establishment of the "Special Economic Zone" of Shenzen offering its leaders freedom from government regulation, tax breaks and a licence to pilot new market ideas. In order to access technology and capital they set about attracting investment from abroad. By 1992 half of China's industrial output was generated by private industry from the Special Economic Zones. Since then economic development has accelerated.
Developing countries throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa are encouraged to follow the Chinese model of pursuing economic reforms first and political reforms later. In 2007 the Zambian leader Levy Mwanawasa announced the establishment of a Special Economic Zone in Chambishi with China injecting $800 million into the country. This will provide China with copper, cobalt, tin, uranium and diamonds. A second economic zone will be in Mauritius, a third in Tanzania with others broached in Nigeria, and Liberia. The appeal to the African leaders is that China not only provides much needed investment, but also an alternative for African countries to the IMF western model of development.
Beijing's ascent has already changed the balance of military and economic power and is now changing the world's ideas about politics, economics and order. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Europe and America face a formidable alternative: the Chinese model.
A thought provoking book on a subject certain to have dramatic effects on all of us involved in an increasingly globalised economy
While the literary landscape is awash with political analysis on China, this short and highly readable volume addresses the fundamental aspects of China's political thought, in an approach that is neither judgmental, nor excessively optimistic toward China's progress.
Chinese approach toward democracy is essentially a cautionary one, with the political culture viewing it as a potential source of instability. This takes the form of possible unrest in non-Han areas, such as Xinjiang, Tibet, or the Korean regions of the North East, but also as an inhibitor toward economic growth.
The Chinese approach is to substitute the varying competing approaches found in multiparty politics for a one party system wherein various approaches compete under one party. This is compared to choosing a variety of chefs, and thereafter having no say in what they cook (the analogy of the Western model) or having one Chef, but choosing what he cooks you (the Chinese approach).
The book makes note of how participatory elections have begun at village and local levels, and have taken a much broader and dynamic form within the Chongqing Municipality, but approach to the national level will have to come incrementally.
A more thought provoking discussion is the approach to Chinese accumulation of military power. As strategists may be aware, China does not yet possess the key ingredients of superpower strength, namely a blue water navy, missile launching submarines, or aircraft carriers. However, it seeks to compete with American military might on asymmetric grounds, in the form of cyber-warfare, and other covert methods.
The most alarming chapter concerns China's foreign policy, which could be best defined as a pure political realism approach. China's only concern is sovereignty, and it pledges non-interference in the external affairs of others. However, as this book argues, China has sought to aid existing power structures, teaching neighboring Central Asian governments in approaches to suppressing domestic unrest, and has sold surveillance equipment to foreign leaders such as Robert Mugabe. This is not out of any ideological impulses, rather economic interests.
In all, this does not necessarily hold true to the principle of non-interference. Unlike revolutionary powers, such as the USSR, which challenged the status quo of other states, and to a lesser extent, the United States, China is arguably a staunchly non revolutionary power, a status quo vanguard.
The book contains insights into the divergence of thought between the proponents of continued runaway economic growth (the new right) and those who are more concerned about widening inequality and lack of opportunity (the new left).
In all, a very precise, informative, and to the point book recommendable to China novices, or established Sinologists.
If you want to know what future the Chinese are dreaming of for their country, or the world it is shaping, read this very concise and enjoyable book.
Argueably the most accessible and current work on where China is heading - which is principally dependent upon what China thinks rather than what the West thinks.
First-class book; highly recommended.
To understand China through the lens of business, I also recommend The China Executive.