Contemporary China - A History since 1978
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Using new research and considering a multidisciplinary set of factors, Contemporary China offers a comprehensive exploration of the making of contemporary China. 

  • Provides a unique perspective on China, incorporating newly published materials from within and outside China, in English and Chinese.  Discusses both the societal and economic aspects of China’s development, and how these factors have affected Chinese elite politics
  • Includes coverage of recent political scandals such as the dismissal of Bo Xilai and the intrigue surrounding the 18th National Congress elections in late 2012
  • Discusses the reasons for—and ramifications of—the gap that exists between western perceptions of China and China itself


Yongnian Zheng is Professor and Director of East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore. He has authored many books, including The Chinese Communist Party as Organizational Emperor, Will China Become Democratic?, Globalization and State Transformation in China, and Discovering Chinese Nationalism in China. He has also edited and co-edited several volumes, and is a columnist for newspapers in Hong Kong and Singapore.


List of Figures and Tables vii

Series Editor’s Preface ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

1 The Maoist Legacy 1

2 Elite Politics 21

3 Economic Reform 43

4 Globalization 63

5 Civil Society 83

6 Social Discontent 101

7 Cultural Changes 121

8 De Facto Federalism 139

9 Social Policy Reform 161

10 Bureaucracy and Governance 181

11 Democratization 195

Selected Bibliography 215

Index 229


“Zheng makes a marvellous attempt at dissecting this modern anomaly for readers.  Summing Up:  Highly recommended.  All academic levels/libraries.”  (Choice, 1 December 2013)

Contemporary China lives up to its title offering concise summaries of political, economic, technological, social, and cultural changes up to the present time. It is perfect either as a classroom text or as an introduction for general readers - and it also contains new insights about Party procedures that will interest specialists. This book is comprehensive, balanced, and highly recommended.
Lynn White, Princeton University

This book provides an excellent account of ongoing political and social changes in the world's most populous and fastest growing economy. All who are interested in China's global role should read it; it is invaluable as a text for every student of contemporary history.
Wang Gungwu, National University of Singapore