Magazine article Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy

China's Dream: The Culture of Chinese Communism and the Secret Sources of Its Power

Magazine article Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy

China's Dream: The Culture of Chinese Communism and the Secret Sources of Its Power

Article excerpt

China's Dream: The Culture of Chinese Communism and the Secret Sources of its Power

Few things, at the moment, can match the strategic importance of the question as to where the People's Republic of China (PRC) is moving. Prof. Kerry Brown's new study, China's Dream: The Cul ture of Chi nese Com mu - nism and the Secret Sources of its Power, then, ranks as one of the most important tools in understanding what the Communist Party of China - the CPC - plans and hopes to do.

Brown, Professor of Chinese Studies at King's College, London, is well equipped to explain, as no-one has effectively done before, the cultural or sociological aspects of the CPC. China's Dream seems, as it unfolds, to be very accepting of the enduring presence of the CPC in China's future. It explains the CPC's history, contradictions, rationalizations, and goals within the broader context of China's evolution, particularly since 1949.

But it is a book which should disturb and frighten the PRC's leadership and Pres. Xi Jinping himself. Yes, the book does describe the rationale of Pres. Xi and others in how they have come to address re-positioning the CPC to become more acceptable to "Deep China": the China of the villages and families. The China which has a sense of its identity based not on the Communist Party but on millennia of historical achievement.

The CPC and governance is what the author calls "Real China", and this is what most of the world focuses on, while Xi and the CPC now recognizes that they must, themselves, focus on winning and controlling "Deep China".

But China's Dream also highlights the tenuousness of the CPC's legitimacy as it now embraces everything it was created to oppose: Chinese culture, history, and identity. Prof. Brown is rigorously objective as he tracks the urgency with which the PRC is now governed by a leadership which must, of necessity, abandon an international image as a state which has any pretensions to consensus governance in order to be able to manage a society which has become intensely fluid for a variety of reasons, including new wealth, urbanization, and the lack of control over its water and food supplies. …

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