SOCIAL SCIENCES

End of an Era: How China's Authoritarian Revival Is Undermining Its Rise

Oxford Univ. Mar. 2018. 272p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780190672089. $29.95. POL SCI
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Minzner (law, Fordham Univ. Sch. of Law), author of multiple articles on Chinese law, makes a convincing argument that China's reform era is over, and its government's actions are moving the country toward increasing oppression, instability, and perhaps regime collapse. The author believes China's government is not on a path to institutionalization, rather it is repeating the cyclical patterns of its imperial past. To back up these claims the author provides a concise overview of China's politics, society, economy, recent history, and possible future. The central government's increasing consolidation of power and elimination of legitimate methods for citizens to have their grievances redressed is exacerbating simmering tensions in society and could eventually lead to dark outcomes. Instead of democratizing like Taiwan and South Korea in the late 20th century, the author sees today's China as similar to late 19th-century Czarist Russia. There the reversal of moderate reforms and the repression of regime critics resulted in increased radicalization, which laid the groundwork for the revolution of 1917.
VERDICT Captivating and essential reading for all China watchers. David Shambaugh's China's Future makes a great companion for this work as Minzner engages with some of its assertions.

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