Cover image for China's crisis : dilemmas of reform and prospects for democracy
China's crisis : dilemmas of reform and prospects for democracy
Nathan, Andrew J. (Andrew James)
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
x, 242 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS779.26 .N38 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Nathan explored the roots of the Tiananmen tragedy in Deng Xiaoping's ten-year reform. How will cultural values and attitudes shape China's political development? What will be the impact of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the West? Drawing on ground-breaking empirical research, Nathan measures the expectations of individual Chinese and their attitudes toward government and democracy.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

What brought about the student-led Chinese democracy movement of April-June 1989? What are the prospects for its revival? Interest in these questions is sharpened by the collapse of Communism in Europe, and these two books can help us understand whether China is likely to remain a Leninist holdout regime. Feigon, a China historian and frequent visitor to that county, first presents a capsule history of modern Chinese student political movements as a context for his well-informed portrait of the Chinese democracy movement in 1989. Leavened with anecdotes from Feigon's own China experience, this sometimes disjointed, sometimes unfair (criticizing the students, for example, for lacking a well-thought-out political strategy), but mostly interesting account will serve as a useful discussion of the systemic crisis that led to Tiananmen. Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia, takes us much further in understanding both the roots of crisis and the prospects for the future. The 11 well-written and tightly argued essays collected here focus on China's capacity to move toward democracy as well as the transition to democracy in Taiwan and U.S.-China relations. Nathan suggests that Chinese-style democracy may eventually come about through a combination of elite-sponsored political reform and a resurgence of demands for change from an increasingly self-organized society that rejects outdated Leninism. These consistently thought-provoking analyses are the best available guide to contemporary Chinese politics. A very important book that deserves a wide audience. Nathan was a long-time LJ reviewer.--Ed.-- Steven I. Levine, Duke Univ., Durham, N.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Another outstanding volume on democracy in China by well-known China expert Nathan (Columbia University), author of Chinese Democracy (CH, Feb'86) and coauthor with R. Edwards of Human Rights in Contemporary China (CH, Sep'86). Nathan claims that the control system has loosened as a result of economic reform. He also indicates that the 1989 crisis was a function of the ending of a long, painful process of introspection among intellectuals and a change within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Nathan attributes the size and speed of the civic explosion to the following factors: the immobilizing succession struggle within the CCP, the intensity of the mass movement combined with paralysis at the top, and the panic of the ill-prepared troops and those who sent them to the streets. Meanwhile, the US understanding of China is flawed by the insufficient knowledge of informal relationship and internal politics among the leadership, the failure to distinguish between pronouncements and performance in China's reform, and the assumption that Stalinism was buired by Deng's reformist policies. A section on Taiwan, although somewhat deviating from the themes of the book, helps to illustrate the impact of Taiwan and mainland China on each other's political development. Highly recommended for college and university collections and public libraries. -S. K. Ma, California State University, Los Angeles