Two sharply contrasting views of China exist today. On the one hand a rising superpower predicted to have the largest economy in the world by mid century, on the other hand a brutal, anachronistic and authoritarian regime, a threat to geo-stability and to the economies of the industrial world. So which China is the real China? Randall Peerenboom addresses this question by exploring China's economy, political and legal system, and most controversially, its record on civil, political and personal rights in the context of the developing world. Avoiding polemic and relying on empirical evidence, he compares China's performance not with first world countries such as the US and UK but with other middle income countries and highlights the often hypocritical stance of an international community which demands standards from others that it does not match at home. He also critically evaluates the benefits of globalisation and democratisation and the normative values of the West set against Beijing's determination to retain its cultural and political integrity.
This book seeks to bridge the gap in understanding about China and to create a firmer foundation for mutual trust, while recognising that there are inevitable risks in a shift in global power of this magnitude that will require hard headed pragmatism at times where interests collide.