This book examines two eras of Chinese history that have commonly been viewed as periods of state disintegration or retreat. And they were--at the central level. When re-examined at the local level, however, both are revealed as periods of state building. In both the Nanjing decade of Guomindang rule (1927-1937) and the early post-Mao reform era (1980-1992), both national and local factors shaped local state building and created variations in local state structures and practices. This book focuses on one key area of the state, taxation and public finance, to trace the processes of local state building in these two eras. Using the records of local tax and finance offices in the Tianjin area and in Guangdong province, the author maps the process by which these county-level offices grew.
This book highlights variation in local state structures and practices between localities and between the central and local governments. As the author shows, this variation is important because it results in regional differences in state-society relations and affects central state capacity in terms of the local state's ability to implement central state policies as well as its own.
Sprawled along China's southern coast near Hong Kong, Guangdong is the fastest growing and most envied region in the country. With sixty million people in an area the size of France, the province has been a fascinating laboratory for the transformation of a static socialist economy and social system. Reforms instituted in the late 1970s by Deng Xiaoping have allowed this area to look outward once again and to move “one step ahead” of the rest of China and the socialist world in introducing new political and economic policies. Why did the new strategy come about? What happened in the various parts of Guangdong during the first reform decade?
To answer these questions Ezra Vogel—one of the most widely respected observers of Asian economic and social development—returned to Guangdong, the subject of his award-winning book Canton under Communism, for eight months of fieldwork. The first Western scholar invited by a province to make such an extended visit, Vogel traveled to every prefecture in Guangdong and conducted hundreds of interviews to get a true picture of how post-Mao reforms are working. The result is a richly detailed study of a region on the cutting edge of socialist reform.
One Step Ahead in China is a groundbreaking book, unique in its detailed coverage of Guangdong, the first socialist dragon to follow in the path of South Korea and Taiwan. Vogel paints a vivid portrait of Guangdong's accelerated development and surveys the special economic zones, the Pearl Delta, Guangzhou, and the more remote areas, including Hainan. He looks at the entrepreneurs and the role of the pervasive Chinese tradition of guanxi, in which friends and relatives of officials receive preferential treatment. He examines the problems of opening up a socialist system and places Guangdong in the context of the newly developing economies of East Asia.
Taiwan has been depicted as an island facing the incessant threat of forcible unification with the People's Republic of China. Why, then, has Taiwan spent more than three decades pouring capital and talent into China?
In award-winning Rival Partners, Wu Jieh-min follows the development of Taiwanese enterprises in China over twenty-five years and provides fresh insights. The geopolitical shift in Asia beginning in the 1970s and the global restructuring of value chains since the 1980s created strong incentives for Taiwanese entrepreneurs to rush into China despite high political risks and insecure property rights. Taiwanese investment, in conjunction with Hong Kong capital, laid the foundation for the world’s factory to flourish in the southern province of Guangdong, but official Chinese narratives play down Taiwan’s vital contribution. It is hard to imagine the Guangdong model without Taiwanese investment, and, without the Guangdong model, China’s rise could not have occurred. Going beyond the received wisdom of the “China miracle” and “Taiwan factor,” Wu delineates how Taiwanese businesspeople, with the cooperation of local officials, ushered global capitalism into China. By partnering with its political archrival, Taiwan has benefited enormously, while helping to cultivate an economic superpower that increasingly exerts its influence around the world.
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