In This Review

Ultimate Economic Conflict Between China and Democratic Countries: An Institutional Analysis
Ultimate Economic Conflict Between China and Democratic Countries: An Institutional Analysis
By C. Y. C. Chu, P. C. Lee, C. C. Lin, and C. F. Lo
Routledge, 2022, 204 pp.

Four prominent legal and trade specialists from Taiwan argue that China should be seen not as a market economy that gets away with transgressing international norms but as a different type of system that prospers under different rules. The authors use case studies of Chinese e-commerce platforms, social media companies, corporate governance structures, antitrust legislation, and inbound and outbound investment practices to show that the Chinese system works through direct and indirect mechanisms of state guidance, subsidization, protection, and data control. These practices apply to both state and nominally private large enterprises. Such a complex and well-functioning system could not be taken apart and reassembled into a Western-style market economy even if Chinese leaders wanted to—and they like their economic model the way it is. The authors suggest that instead of complaining about inequitable trading practices, market economies should create a separate trading community outside the WTO that implements market principles among themselves. But they acknowledge that this will be difficult, given the huge stakes that key Western companies have in China.