China in the Information Age: Telecommunications and the Dilemmas of Reform

China in the Information Age: Telecommunications and the Dilemmas of Reform

China in the Information Age: Telecommunications and the Dilemmas of Reform

China in the Information Age: Telecommunications and the Dilemmas of Reform

Synopsis

China's economic and social progress toward modernization is one of the defining features of the last quarter of the 20th century. The emergence of China coincides with another development of equally important international implications--the revolution in information and telecommunication technology. But how compatible are the new China and the information age? The Chinese Communist Party intends to embrace market-oriented economic development while maintaining centralized control over politics, culture, and public discourse. The contradictions and tensions of this goal are especially acute in telecommunication and information technology markets, where the rest of the world is moving rapidly toward liberalization and globalization. Will China's economic reforms allow it to join the information revolution, or will its unique political structure keep it insulated from the main currents of global economic development? This volume is the first detailed examination of how China's reform process is playing out in the realm of information and telecommunications.

Excerpt

The world is waking up to the midmorning reality that China is much more than a history to be studied, a market to be exploited, or a political power to be feared. the question of the day is not whether China will be a superpower, but rather what kind of superpower it will become.

The search for the answer has generated an ever-expanding library of books and monographs. Predictably, historians are busily revisiting the lessons of ancient China and its 3,000-year history of cultural glories and golden periods of bureaucratic mastery over foreign invaders. Politicians quickly remind us, however, of a more recent past of foreign hegemony, military build- ups, Tiananmen Square, and the intrinsic conflict between the preservation of doctrinaire communism and the pursuit of free markets. Economists may be the busiest of all. They are awash in the tide of China's expanding trade and economic growth statistics, which reflect a changing China and are playing havoc with traditional market economic models.

China is clearly the big "C" of the twenty-first century. Although complex, contradictory, and challenging, it appears to be successfully steering away from a much feared "big C" -- the cancer of out-of-control growth and systemic malignancy.

On the surface at least, China's breathtaking growth is on a positive course. the current 11.8 percent published growth rate in the economy is being kept well short of overheating. the . . .

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