The world is relearning a basic lesson about China: how it fits into international society depends on its internal politics. The ease of relations with China from 1976 to 1989 reflected the end of the Cultural Revolution and a great reduction in domestic repression; problems thereafter grew from the regime crisis following the Tiananmen massacre. As for the rise in tensions today, many of the factors prompting it--China's military modernization and expansion in the South China Sea, for example--clearly have something to do with looming political contention in Beijing after the death of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.
What does the future hold? Kenneth Lieberthal ventures an answer toward the end of Governing China. The book is an encyclopedic survey of what political science has learned about the People's Republic of China--about the careers of its leaders, its structures of authority, its policy and power struggles--and in both its impressive scope and judicious