China Syndrome – Ellen Bork

From Weekly Standard (link):

A MAN WALKS INTO A BAR. At first, he finds nothing unusual about the noisy, convivial atmosphere, but then he realizes something is a little different. Numbers are being called out, one at a time, eliciting laughter from the patrons. “Seventeen,” says one man. Laughter. “Fifty-six,” another says, to great amusement. “What’s going on?” he asks the man next to him, who replies: “Everyone knows all the jokes already so we assigned numbers to them. Saves a lot of time.”

Policy debates about China often seem like this: an inane repetition of policy one-liners lacking facts or persuasive argument. In this new book, Minxin Pei demolishes the frequently uttered, and facile, pronouncement that China’s economic development will bring about political liberalization. He shows that China does not conform to this, or other, theories that overlook crucial features of China’s economic development and political system, especially the incentives and motives driving the leaders of its one-party political monopoly.

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