This volume by a prominent China scholar is the most comprehensive account yet to be published of the factors that contributed to the traumatic events of 1989. It presents the big picture in a clear and forceful fashion, strongly supported by a wealth of data. Cheng thinks it is possible that the domination of the "hard-liners" will continue for another three to five years and that the regime will take the form of a collective leadership with a strongly conservative character. An alternative scenario could emerge if the hard-line regime were replaced by a moderate one before Deng Xiaoping dies. The worst case scenario would be the disintegration of the central authority after a prolonged power struggle in the party hierarchy and a breakdown of the major military command. This could lead to a revival of the warlordism of the 1920s.
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