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.
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Randy Peerenboom is Director of the Oxford Foundation for Law, Justice and Society's China Rule of Law Programme, Associate Fellow of the Oxford University Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, and Professor of Law at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He obtained a B.A. in Philosophy, M.A. in Chinese Religion and Ph.D. in Philosophy before obtaining a J.D. from Columbia Law School. In addition to serving as an expert witness on PRC legal issues, he has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation and the Asian Development Bank on legal reforms and rule of law in China. He was previously a Professor of Law at UCLA Law School and practiced for several years with a major international law firm in Beijing.
"Peerenboom's appraisal deserves to be heard: it will help the general public who are interested in China and encourage policymakers to reassess their views. "--THES
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