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Hu seeks to explain China's failure to establish a democratic system. He demonstrates both continuity and change in China's democratization process. Modern China regards power and wealth as primary goals and treats a strong state as a major means to these ends. Such a preference puts democracy on a back burner.
Employing a theoretical framework which consists of five factors—historical legacies, local forces, the world system, socialist values, and economic development—Hu shows that, while all of these factors were at work in all eras, each assumes a special significance in a particular period. Traditional China before the 1911 Revolution attempted to adjust itself to a new, Western-dominated world. In the Republican era, the control of local forces topped the political agenda. Nationalist China sought to survive and develop in the world system, while Maoist China set for itself the task of building a socialist state. And, of course, economic development has been the priority of the Deng era. As Hu shows, these five factors have had determining impacts on the long struggle for democracy in China.
- Table of Contents
Historical Legacies and Democracy
Local Forces and Democracy
The World System and Democracy
Socialist Values and Democracy
Economic Development and Democracy
Explanation and Prediction
^IExplaining Chinese Democratization^R is a well-written book and provides a fresh perspective on political development in modern China...the author's...should be applauded for the fine work.
Hu's thoughts on the limitations of democracy and his prognostication of China's future are realistic...This highly readable book offers valuable insight into an important topic. What is particularly good is the attention given to both history and politics in explaining the problems facing Chinese democratisation. I would recommemd it to all students of modern and contemporary China.
Students of modern Chinese history, sociology and politics will want to grapple with Hu's well-written ^IExplaining Chinese Democratization^R. It is tightly written and should be read closely with a finger in the chapter endnotes.
The strength of the book is its historical description and explanation.