This collection of essays, written by the author over the past 15 years, explores the roots of China's recent crisis and the prospects for establishing a genuinely democratic system. The author is cautiously optimistic. He foresees a weak post-Deng regime, seeking to democratize under the pressures of economic stagnation and popular dissatisfaction, and aided by a unified army to guarantee stability. The Chinese Communist Party, he says, will preside over this democratic transition, and a factionalized opposition will emerge from existing satellite parties. Finally, the tug-of-war between the central government and the provinces (some as big as European states) will continue, the center weakening as the provinces prosper. This is one plausible scenario for the future; pessimists could devise others.