The Dictator's Dilemma: The Chinese Communist Party's Strategy for Survival

Oxford University Press
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Many observers predicted the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party following the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, and again following the serial collapse of communist regimes behind the Iron Curtain. Their prediction, however, never proved true. Despite minor setbacks, China has experienced explosive economic growth and relative political stability ever since 1989. In The Dictator's Dilemma, eminent China scholar Bruce Dickson provides a comprehensive explanation for regime's continued survival and prosperity. Dickson contends that the popular media narrative of the party's impending implosion ignores some basic facts. The regime's policies may generate resentment and protest, but the CCP still enjoys a surprisingly high level of popular support. Nor is the party is not cut off from the people it governs. It consults with a wide range of specialists, stakeholders, and members of the general public in a selective yet extensive manner. Further, it tolerates and even encourages a growing and diverse civil society, even while restricting access to it. Today, the majority of Chinese people see the regime as increasingly democratic even though it does not allow political competition and its leaders are not accountable to the electorate. In short, while the Chinese people may prefer change, they prefer that it occurs within the existing political framework. In reaching this conclusion, Dickson draws upon original public opinion surveys, interviews, and published materials to explain why there is so much popular support for the regime. This basic stability is a familiar story to China specialists, but not to those whose knowledge of contemporary China is limited to the popular media. The Dictator's Dilemma, an engaging synthesis of how the CCP rules and its future prospects, will enlighten both audiences, and will be essential for anyone interested in understanding China's increasing importance in world politics.
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About the author

Bruce J. Dickson is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Chair of the Political Science Department, and Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
May 16, 2016
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780190228569
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism
Political Science / World / Asian
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The United States' approach to China since the Communist regime in Beijing began the period of reform and opening in the 1980s was based on a promise that trade and engagement with China would result in a peaceful, democratic state.

Forty years later the hope of producing a benign People's Republic of China utterly failed. The Communist Party of China deceived the West into believing that the its system and the Party-ruled People's Liberation Army were peaceful and posed no threat. In fact, these misguided policies produced the emergence of a 21st Century Evil Empire even more dangerous than a Cold War version in the Soviet Union.

Successive American presidential administrations were fooled by ill-advised pro-China policymakers, intelligence analysts and business leaders who facilitated the rise not of a peaceful China but a threatening and expansionist nuclear-armed communist dictatorship not focused on a single overriding strategic objective: Weakening and destroying the United States of America.

Defeating the United States is the first step for China's current rulers in achieving global supremacy under a new world order based an ideology of Communism with Chinese characteristics.

The process included technology theft of American companies that took place on a massive scale through cyber theft and unfair trade practices. The losses directly supported in the largest and most significant buildup of the Chinese military that now directly threatens American and allied interests around the world. The military threat is only half the danger as China aggressively pursues regional and international control using a variety of non-military forces, including economic, cyber and space warfare and large-scale influence operations.

Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive for Global Supremacy details the failure to understand the nature and activities of the dangers posed by China and what the United States can do in taking needed steps to counter the threats.
Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction finalist

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award in nonfiction.

An Economist Best Book of 2014.

A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation

From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.

As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?

Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.

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