The Transformation of Chinese Socialism

The Transformation of Chinese Socialism

Book Pages: 384 Illustrations: Published: May 2006

Author: Lin Chun

Asian Studies > East Asia, Economics, Politics > Political Science

In this significant contribution to both political theory and China studies, Lin Chun provides a critical assessment of the scope and limits of socialist experiments in China, analyzing their development since the victory of the Chinese communist revolution in 1949 and reflecting on the country’s likely paths into the future. Lin suggests that China’s twentieth-century trajectory be grasped in terms of the collective search by its people for a modern alternative to colonial modernity, bureaucratic socialism, and capitalist subordination. Evaluating contending interpretations of the formation and transformation of Chinese socialism in the contemporary conditions of global capitalism, Lin argues that the post-Mao reform model must be remade.


The Transformation of Chinese Socialism is an important book. Lin Chun’s grasp of the issues of Chinese socialism, and the serious engagement with which she presents them, easily makes the book by far the best discussion of socialism in China available in English.” — Arif Dirlik, China Review

The Transformation of Chinese Socialism, certainly the most intellectually stimulating book written on the reform era, is an eloquent plea to create a democratic "socialist market system" that combines the more egalitarian and democratic features of traditional China, the modern Chinese revolutionary experience, and the innovations of the reform period. . . . In making historically plausible the vision of a ‘socialist market system,’ Lin Chun challenges the assumption that only a capitalist economy allows for the possibility of political democracy.” — Maurice Meisner, Progressive

“Lin Chun presents a cogent and articulate argument for a socialist model of xiaokang. . . . Recommended.” — R.E. Entenmann, Choice

“Lin Chun’s diagnostic reasoning, backed by her 10-year diligent study, should help bring China’s public debate on the reform’s negative socioeconomic impacts closer to finding their root causes and final solutions.” — Xin Chen, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies

“Lin makes a fresh and fascinating claim that Chinese socialism, as a modern alternative to capitalism, could still be remade. . . . [B]y forcing a rethinking of the broader comparative literature on capitalism and socialism, Lin’s book unquestionably makes a major contribution to studies of China’s post-communist reforms and to political and democratic theory in general.” — Junmin Wang, European Journal of Sociology

“Lin's analysis . . . of the reform era does contribute significantly to the ongoing debates and controversies about the future of China.” — Thomas P. Bernstein, The China Journal

“This is a timely book dealing with a very important subject. . . . It should be read by scholars in various areas of comparative study and will in no doubt shape the discussion of contemporary Chinese politics and society.” — Yiching Wu,, The China Quarterly

“Those interested in international economic development will appreciate the author's discussions in the Chinese context of such standard concepts as globalization, noncapitalist development, socialism, nationalism, developmentalism, revolution, democracy, bureaucracy, institutions, ideology and legitimacy, and socialism and markets.” — Donald Bowles, Perspectives on Political Science

"Perhaps only a Chinese scholar who grew up as a socialist in China could combine the moral and the material argument in this way. Sometimes speculative but always stimulating, Lin Chun's analysis demands serious response from a generally much less adventurous Western scholarship." — John Gittings, Pacific Affairs

The Transformation of Chinese Socialism is a visionary and critical reorientation for social theory. It is a great reminder of what the stakes are just now and why socialism, far from being defunct, has as much to offer governance theories and policy planners as it always has.” — Tani E. Barlow, author of The Question of Women in Chinese Feminism

“While most people have already cast China as a capitalist country with a communist government, Lin Chun shows that there may be life in Chinese socialism yet. Combining erudition, passion, and an engaging writing style, Lin challenges a lot of conventional wisdom about China. This book should be on the shelf of everyone who has any interest in the course of the Chinese economy and society.” — Meghnad Desai, author of Marx’s Revenge: The Resurgence of Capitalism and the Death of Statist Socialism

“With quite exceptional historical and theoretical insight, Lin Chun examines what remains of the Chinese Revolution’s socialist legacy and explores the prospects for the rebirth of a new kind of Chinese socialism in the People's Republic. This very original and thought-provoking study is essential reading for those concerned about the future of China and the fate of socialism in the age of capitalist globalization.” — Maurice Meisner, author of Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Lin Chun teaches comparative politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the editor of the three-volume collection China and the author of The British New Left.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface ix

Introduction: The Making and Remaking of the Chinese Model 1

1. China and Alternative Modernity 17

2. Chinese Socialism 60

3. People’s Democracy 132

4. Liberty and Liberation 205

Conclusion: Rethinking the Chinese Model 251

Notes 289

References 323

Index 359
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3798-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3785-0
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