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Gordon G. Chang

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Random House, N.Y. 2001, 144 pgs., index, notes, maps, paperback


Reviewer Comment:
I didn't realize when I ordered the book via Internet that it was written in 2001. The author's predictions, so far, have not occurred. But the book is interesting and useful as an example of what can take place in a few years. The author is a well known commentator on China today. The reader can compare his description of China in 2001 with other references and then his expectations of what might change with what has actually happened. His description of China in the 1990's up to 2000 is a good supplement to Jonathan Ward's China's Vision of Victory and Kai-Fu Lee's AI Super-powers China, Silicon Valley, and the New World order. Gordon Chang's major mistake in prediction is his idea that by joining the WTO China would be forced into making reforms that would inherent disrupt the Party's power. He did not consider the Chinese ability to cheat, ignore, and pretend to abide by the WTO, plus engage in massive cyberwarfare and theft of foreign intellectual secrets. Also, while he does note that already by 2000 foreign firms were eager to invest in China, he did not consider the extreme lengths to which the foreigners would resort to get into China and the ability of the Chinese to impose onerous demands before allowing them to do so. And he could not imagine (I doubt if anyone could) the rapidity by which thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs with very high computer- tech skills would unleash an explosion of technological innovation as described by Lee. The result of his correct observations about the fragile condition of China in 2000 and misunderstanding about the Chinese methods for overcoming them was to predict the 'collapse' claimed in his book title. The subsequent almost two decades have witnessed quite the opposite result.


Forward: The Final Chapter


1 The Dinner Party - The Revolution Has Grown Old


2 Lake of Gasoline: The Discontent of the People Is Explosive


3 Industrial Theme Parks: State-Owned Enterprises are Dying


4 Future@China.communism: Is the Communist Party Ready for the Internet?


5 Life Everlasting: Industrial Policy Grants Perpetual Existence to the Inept


6 The Banks That Sank: Chinese Banks Will Fail


7 Biting the Snakes: The State Attacks the Private Sector


8 Highway Girls: China's Economy Stagnates


9 Trade Charade: WTO Accession Will Trigger Collapse

No, it did not; and Chinese politicians and entrepreneurs were adept at circumventing any restraints that WTO rules and regulations might have inhibited them.


10 Sentences Without Verbs: Ideology and Politics Restrain Progress


11 Emerging in the East: Can the Chinese State Evolve"


12 Roads to Ruin: How the State Will Fall


Epilogue The State Begins to Disintegrate

The author summarizes his outlook for China's future. "The Communist Party has struggled to keep up with great change over the last two decades, but now it is beginning to fail as it often cannot provide the basis needs of its people." The subsequent 18+ years proved Dr. Chang totally wrong. The change in China accelerated. Tens of millions of individuals were moved from low productivity agriculture in rural regions into higher productivity industrial work in new cities. The power of the Party to control the population has increased. Massive quantities of foreign capital and intellectual high technical knowledge has flowed into the country. China's economic, geoeconomic, and military power has expanded dramatically.

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Michael Pillsbury - The Hundred-Year Marathon

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Jonathan Ward - China's Vision of Victory

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Martin Jacques - When China Rules the World

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Louis Vincent Gave - New World Order Will have China on Top

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