Professor Zhang Wei-Wei offers a robust and well argued critique of China development, and it's impact for the world stage, as well as providing decent reasoning and defense of the China model. Zhang Wei-Wei is perhaps the first academic I have read who finally offers a definition of the description of China as a civilizational state, by providing possible counterparts, were they to exist now. Basically, if the Roman Empire had survived, Europe would be a civilizational state. If the Islamic Caliphate had remained in power throughout the Middle East, that would also be a civilizational state. Therefore, China is the only contiguous civilization to reach the modern world under the modern definition of a state. Zhang Wei-Wei provides a decent defense of the PRC system that few others have provided, instead of focusing purely on economic growth as the CCP's mandate for power, he provides decent examples of how CCP rule is beneficial, such as the focus on the longterm outlook, rather than the short termism of most Western Politicians, and the meritocratic structure of the top brass. Whatever one may say about speculated horse trading on the selection of the Politburo Standing Comittee, we at least have a situation where the 2 top men are PhD educated, and have held a variety of administrative and executive positions throughout China. What did Barack Obama have? 4 years in the US Senate, 2 of which was effectively running an election campaign. A real treat in this book is the debate with Dr Fukuyama, although this reader at least cannot discern a winner in that debate. Many of my friends complain to me of criticism of China, but the best weapon against criticism is a good argument itself, and Zhang Wei-Wei's book is one of the best arguments one can find.
To understand China one should know its long history, its development, its changes and progress to the present day. The West keeps proclaiming that democracy is the answer but its racial and financial problems have not be solved.
Professor Zhang will enable the reader to have a broader view and deeper knowledge of China.
This is a very interesting book providing a Chinese view of their country's progress to date since the Deng Xiaoping reforms. The writer suggests these reforms have led to a middle class which will be committed to stability above all else. Further reform will be empirical and gradual. The book glosses over the political concerns of the Western audience but then judging by the turnout for electing UK police commissioners (less than 30%) and recent lack of engagement by voters he may well be correct that most value stability over politics. The book doesn't address the corruption and scandals (eg Bo Xilai: imagine a British politician's wife being charged with murder and that cabinet minister disappearing!). There is an amusing strain of triumphalism however the central message that the CPC has managed a successful modernisation and that their methods worked is clearly true. Anyone visiting China as I have will recognise much more remains to be done and so does the authour. Whether that transition and wealth means there will not be another revolution as most individuals are excluded from the kleptocracy remains to be seen. Well worth reading.