Beyond Beijing: Liberalization and the Regions in China

Beyond Beijing: Liberalization and the Regions in China

Beyond Beijing: Liberalization and the Regions in China

Beyond Beijing: Liberalization and the Regions in China

Synopsis

There are wide disparities of wealth between the different regions of China. The result has been increased tension between ethnic groups and serious divisions between China's provinces. This book offers a balanced assessment of the dynamics and consequences of the decentralization of power and resources in post-Mao China. The author argues that increasing decentralisation has unleashed much competition and emulation among local governments. He discusses also the impact on regional disparities and cleavages, and government efforts to address regional disparities. This book is an authoritative study of an issue that will remain highly visible on China's political agenda for the foreseeable future.

Excerpt

In the late 1970s, as China’s reform era opened, the Communist Party of China committed itself to first doubling and then redoubling the aggregate size of the economy of the People’s Republic of China by the end of the millennium. At the time and into the early and mid-1980s it was a prospect greeted as a desirable aspiration by most academic observers of China, but as little more. Many economists in particular pointed out the difficulties in the project and the near-impossibility of its achievement. in the event, the target was attained with almost five years to spare, sometime in 1995.

The rapid growth of China’s economy is a useful starting-point for this series, intellectually as well as chronologically. It is not only that China has developed so spectacularly so quickly, nor that in the process its experience has proved some economists to be too cautious. Rather, its importance is to demonstrate the need for explanatory theories of social and economic change to themselves adapt and change as they encompass the processes under way in China, and not to assume that previous assumptions about either China or social change in general are immutable.

China in Transition aims to participate in these intellectual developments through its focus on social, political, economic and culture change in the China of the 1990s and beyond. Its aim is to draw on new, often cross-disciplinary research from scholars in East Asia, Australasia, North America and Europe, as well as that based in the more traditional disciplines. in the process, the series will not only interpret the consequences of reform in China, but also monitor and reflect the changes of the future.

The regional dimensions of change in contemporary China present a prime example of the need to adjust perspectives, and in Beyond Bejing Dali Yang has risen admirably to the challenge. Unlike many of the more instantaneous reactions to growth in political profile for the regions and regional leaders—that subsequently stress China’s potential to disintegrate—this is a carefully grounded study of the political economy of relations between the central regions, the inland provinces and central government. It argues cogently that to understand the dynamics of regional change it is necessary to consider the attitudes of inland provinces and central government separately and in relation to

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