Post-Mao China has long been viewed by many as a case of economic development without political liberalization. While more than three decades’ market-oriented economic reforms have transformed China into the second largest economy in the world, the process of political democratization has never seemed to fully take off. In China Experiments, Florini, Lai, and Tan challenge this conventional wisdom by treating China’s political trajectory as a slow-motion, bumpy transformation of authoritarianism – regulated, and often led, by the Communist Party of China (CPC) since 1978. Arguing that political change in China is much deeper and more extensive than is commonly recognized, the authors decide not to focus on policies and political initiatives from Beijing, but rather to look for hints from the myriad of local experiments.
Florini, A., H. Lai & Y. Tan. 2012. China Experiments: From Local Innovations to National Reform. Washington: Brookings Institution Press. 216 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8157-2200-7 (paperback)