In This Review

Democratization in China and Taiwan: The Adaptability of Leninist Parties
Democratization in China and Taiwan: The Adaptability of Leninist Parties
By Bruce J. Dickson
Clarendon Press, 1997, 276 pp

In a sophisticated and insightful study, Dickson asks whether the Chinese Communist Party will democratize China in a manner similar to the Kuomintang in Taiwan. He argues that the party is unlikely to become democratic or democratize the political system. Any move in that direction, he contends, would leave the regime facing the same fate as communist parties in Russia and Eastern Europe: the erosion of power and subsequent collapse.The author contends that the extreme paucity of liberals at the top level of the Chinese Communist Party, the lack of a democratic opposition in China, and the party's unusually strong totalitarian background all give a successful democratic transition slim chances. Whether the reader agrees or not, the book is an important contribution to the literature on China's prospects for democratization.