The Prospects for Communist China

By W. W. Rostow. | Go to book overview

PREFACE
Like our earlier study, The Dynamics of Soviet Society,* this volume tries to serve two purposes. It aims to pull together in the compass of a short volume what we know about Communist China; and it aims to assist in the making of a forward-looking American policy by offering a unified interpretation of Peking's intentions and its ability to achieve them.Specifically we set out to answer these key questions:
1. What are the operative motivations of the Chinese Communist regime?
2. What are its current intentions with respect to the society of the mainland and to the external world?
3. What problems does it confront in achieving its purposes?
4. What is the likelihood of Chinese Communist success or failure, in terms of the regime's apparent objectives?
5. What are the prospects for change in Chinese Communist society over the foreseeable future?

To answer these questions we have found it necessary to review the modern history of China from the perspective which 1954 affords; to assess the changing human response to Communist rule on the mainland from 1949 to the present; to examine in detail the character of Peking's network of ties to Moscow, and the relationship to the external world implicit in those ties; and to consider the economic foundations for the regime's power aspirations. The interconnection among these elements as they are likely to affect the future course of Chinese Communist society is our ultimate theme in Chapter 16.

The conception underlying the book's structure is the following: Parts 1 and 2 narrate the major facts of modern Chinese history and set out our interpretation of them; Parts 3, 4, and 5 focus intensively on the three great strategic factors likely to determine the future evolution of Chinese Communist society-the interplay between the regime and the people, the Sino-Soviet alliance, and the Chinese economy; Part 6 weaves together our conclusions as a whole. This

____________________
*
W. W. Rostow and others, W. W. Norton, New York, 1953; Mentor Books, 1954.

-v-

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