The Coming Collapse of China

Chang, Gordon G.

Published by Random House, 2001
ISBN 10: 0812977564 / ISBN 13: 9780812977561
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Synopsis: China is hot. The world sees a glorious future for this sleeping giant, three times larger than the United States, predicting it will blossom into the world's biggest economy by 2010. According to Chang, however, a Chinese-American lawyer and China specialist, the People's Republic is a paper dragon. Peer beneath the veneer of modernization since Mao's death, and the symptoms of decay are everywhere: Deflation grips the economy, state-owned enterprises are failing, banks are hopelessly insolvent, foreign investment continues to decline, and Communist party corruption eats away at the fabric of society.

Beijing's cautious reforms have left the country stuck midway between communism and capitalism, Chang writes. With its impending World Trade Organization membership, for the first time China will be forced to open itself to foreign competition, which will shake the country to its foundations. Economic failure will be followed by government collapse. Covering subjects from party politics to the Falun Gong to the government's insupportable position on Taiwan, Chang presents a thorough and very chilling overview of China's present and not-so-distant future.
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Review: From 1978 through the mid-1990s, China had the fastest-growing economy in the world, and it appeared poised to dominate Asia, and beyond, in the near future. But after focusing on facts rather than theory and looking at the conditions behind the spectacular numbers, Gordon Chang presents the People's Republic as a study in wasted potential: "Peer beneath the surface, and there is a weak China, one that is in long-term decline and even on the verge of collapse. The symptoms of decay are to be seen everywhere." For a nation that has always taken a long view of history, time is quickly running out. Chang believes China has about five years to get its economy in order before it suffers a crippling financial collapse--a timeline he seriously doubts can be met.

By failing to complete its reformation, China has maintained an illusion of progress, Chang explains, but in reality has caused more problems than opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs and foreign investors. Because reform has not been fast enough or comprehensive enough, China is unable to benefit from its modernization or keep up technologically with much of the world. The government's reluctance to get rid of state-owned enterprises has not only rendered China uncompetitive just as it prepares to join the World Trade Organization, but is causing the banks--which were forced to lend money to SOEs--to fail alongside them. Widespread unemployment, corruption within the Communist party, millions of resentful peasants, and a general lack of leadership further threaten stability. The Communist party "knows how to suppress but it no longer has the power to lead," Chang writes, arguing that the party is maintaining control only through the use of brute force and the people's instinct for obedience--popular support that could deteriorate as soon as the economy plunges. Simultaneously, societal ills such as gambling, drugs, and prostitution have become huge problems.

Stuck between Communism and capitalism, "China is drifting, unwilling to go forward as fast as it must and unable to turn back." It is uncertain what will be in the way when the giant finally falls. --Shawn Carkonen

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Title: The Coming Collapse of China
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. China is hot. The world sees a glorious future for this sleeping giant, three times larger than the United States, predicting it will blossom into the world s biggest economy by 2010. According to Chang, however, a Chinese-American lawyer and China specialist, the People s Republic is a paper dragon. Peer beneath the veneer of modernization since Mao s death, and the symptoms of decay are everywhere: Deflation grips the economy, state-owned enterprises are failing, banks are hopelessly insolvent, foreign investment continues to decline, and Communist party corruption eats away at the fabric of society. Beijing s cautious reforms have left the country stuck midway between communism and capitalism, Chang writes. With its impending World Trade Organization membership, for the first time China will be forced to open itself to foreign competition, which will shake the country to its foundations. Economic failure will be followed by government collapse. Covering subjects from party politics to the Falun Gong to the government s insupportable position on Taiwan, Chang presents a thorough and very chilling overview of China s present and not-so-distant future. From the Hardcover edition. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780812977561

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. China is hot. The world sees a glorious future for this sleeping giant, three times larger than the United States, predicting it will blossom into the world s biggest economy by 2010. According to Chang, however, a Chinese-American lawyer and China specialist, the People s Republic is a paper dragon. Peer beneath the veneer of modernization since Mao s death, and the symptoms of decay are everywhere: Deflation grips the economy, state-owned enterprises are failing, banks are hopelessly insolvent, foreign investment continues to decline, and Communist party corruption eats away at the fabric of society. Beijing s cautious reforms have left the country stuck midway between communism and capitalism, Chang writes. With its impending World Trade Organization membership, for the first time China will be forced to open itself to foreign competition, which will shake the country to its foundations. Economic failure will be followed by government collapse. Covering subjects from party politics to the Falun Gong to the government s insupportable position on Taiwan, Chang presents a thorough and very chilling overview of China s present and not-so-distant future. From the Hardcover edition. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780812977561

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