Few countries have had more turbulent politics in the twentieth century than China. Although China's unprecedented stability and prosperity in the 1980s gave hope that such turbulence was at an end, the crises of Tiananmen, culminating in the massacre of June 4, 1989, proved that the turbulence continues. Here, eight distinguished China specialists provide broad-gauged, original essays that attempt to explain the dynamics of contemporary Chinese politics by analyzing the preceding patterns of development. Some of the essays focus on the most basic issues of the historical development of Chinese politics while other essays focus on developments in important policy areas since 1949. The book concludes with a penetrating analysis of the Tiananmen events by Tang Tsou, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Together, the essays detail the weight of the past on Chinese politics, but also the long-term developments that prevent the simple recurrence of previous patterns.
"This book presents an extraordinarily perceptive analysis of the historical dynamics of Chinese politics. It addresses many of the most fundamental questions about the course of China's modern development and examines crucially important contemporary dilemmas in their historical context. Both China specialists and general readers will be stimulated. The final chapter is a remarkable examination of the dilemmas facing China in the wake of the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 and the urgent need for a fundamental reconciliation between state and society in China." A. Doak Barnett, School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University