The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers
An eye-opening investigation into china's communist party and its integral role in the country's rise as a global superpower and rival of the united states
China's political and economic growth in the past three decades is one of astonishing, epochal dimensions. The country has undergone a remarkable transformation on a scale similar to that of the Industrial Revolution...more
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The author has great difficulty, though he is obviously well informed about the facts on the ground, in understanding (and contextualizing) the soft authoritarianism that is China today. This is proof, which one finds often in many walks of life, that those who know the most don't always understand the best. (My own experience in my own field has given me MANY examples of this, to be sure.)
I have already e ...more
The key traits of the party, as McGregor finds out, are a sort of adaptive soft authoritarianism. From my perspective (at the lowest rungs of academia, as ...more
This review of The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor was originally published in the Vancouver Sun on August 14, 2010 and on my blog at http://horsethatleaps.com/theparty.
In the spring of 2006, I enrolled in a curious course at the B.C. Institute of Technology in Vancouver. It was called the “Fundamentals of Doing Business with China,” but it turn out to be more like “Leninism 101.”
Our instructor, Lawrence Gu, had just b ...more
Almost every thing about China for the last 60 or so years is about the Communist Party of China, its centrality and primacy can be seen in its society, culture, politics, media, corruption, etc. The Party takes precedence before anything, maybe even before China itself. Its presence can be quite literally be felt by a person, from the womb to the grave. It is a totalitarian yet adaptive system, ridi ...more
The language, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired: it's your typical, found-on-your-doorma ...more
Many Western commentators bray constantly about the imminent and inevitable collapse of the political system in China. According to them, the liberalization of the economic system and adoption of the free market, in which individual decisions about what to buy and what to sell hold sway, will inevitably undermine t ...more
The Party's central thesis is that, in the words of one Beijing University professor "The Party is like God. He is everywhere, you just can't see him."
What follows is a series of detailed accounts of how the party is at the heart of all the instruments of state, the economy, the media, and th ...more
It's easy to see why the Party's rule is now so secure, and at the same time why the PRC will never be dynamic or a model for other nations: the Party ke ...more
enlightening and informative about china. reminded of when nixon visited china, you remember that don't-cha? jim croce, on 8-track, swoosh! swoosh! swoosh! people over in japan, what's that noise? oh that's just every chinaman, sweeping the snow. moa zedung, communist red china, vietnam was hot and heavy and korea wasn't that long in the distant past. the mystery of the orient.
this helps the reader understand, somewhat, c ...more
I dunno, it felt not that 'inside' the secret world of the Communist Party and its rulers. He did get some frank information and quotes from some (former) leaders within the Party, but this book felt far less revelatory than I had hoped. I did learn from it, but I could've done the same through other channels.
Quick summary (by chapter):
* The state IS the Communist Party, at this point pretty much by definition. No surprise here. Leads to corrupti ...more
Also, while it's understandable that he couldn't get many sources inside to the Party (or even Chinese who aren't Party members) to speak on record, I think the title is a little sensationalist, as it implies that the author is going to somehow give you access to this "secret world". As the author himself said in an interview, he didn ...more
Describes how the government is a front for the Party. Party positions matter more than official government positions and behind each official committee and title there’s a puppet master in the Party wielding real power. Via the Party seemingly disconnected elements of government, military, and business have tight links.
"The ‘red machine’ is like no ordinary phone. Each one has just a four-digit number. It connects only to similar phones with fo ...more
Intgly, even the need for a properly privately held company to liason deeply with local and state politic ...more
The last chapter was good though, on Yang Jisheng's Tombstone and the CCP's relationship with history in general, both enlightening and surprising, and it is the reason ...more