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China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Inc.
     

China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Inc.

by Willem Van Kemenade, Diane Webb, William Van Kemenade
 

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On the eve of June 30, Hong Kong was officially passed back to China. This event will mark what Willem van Kemenade sees as the start of an increasingly problematic — and even dangerous — reintegration of the old Chinese empire into a new world superpower. Since the early 1980s, investment money has been pouring into China from Hong Kong and trade has

Overview

On the eve of June 30, Hong Kong was officially passed back to China. This event will mark what Willem van Kemenade sees as the start of an increasingly problematic — and even dangerous — reintegration of the old Chinese empire into a new world superpower. Since the early 1980s, investment money has been pouring into China from Hong Kong and trade has escalated at a rocket's pace. A few years later, the same pattern began between China and Taiwan. The combination of Hong Kong/Taiwan management, financial and export know-how with China's inexhaustible pool of cheap labor and land has enabled China in one decade to leap from an impoverished revolutionary state to a major international trading power. This economic boom, in conjunction with the violation of intellectual property rights, systematic tax fraud, and the corruption of the police force, has helped shape the "socialist market economy," China's third way — and a new mix of old-fashioned Soviet Communism and East Asian capitalism.

The formal addition of Hong Kong will add to this mixture the democratic structures set in place by the British. And, as China moves to reclaim Taiwan (the process has already begun), it will be incorporating a rival Chinese sub-nation with a fully election-based political system and a powerful independence movement. Can such a reunified China resist the "spiritual pollution" of democratic values, human rights, and political freedom? Will it become the first depoliticized "corporatist superpower"? What are the prospects that reunification will be peaceful?

Van Kemenade's portrait of the true internal power structures of the three Chinas provides our clearest look yet at the fastest-rising new empire in the world today.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For the past 20 years, van Kemenade, a Dutch journalist, has been posted to Hong Kong and Beijing. During that time he has made frequent visits to China's provinces and stayed for extended periods in Taipei and Jakarta; he lives in Beijing and is married to a Taiwanese. The book, which is based on these experiences, is a riveting analysis of China's recent past and reflections on its future direction. Van Kemenade explores the anticipated political and economic fallout from the mainland's absorption of capitalist Hong Kong later this year and the possibility of its eventual takeover of Taiwan. He projects a foreseeable confrontation with Japan over Asian hegemony, ethnic and economic upheavals on China's "wild" western border that abutts former Soviet republics and a political backlash from the fast-growing middle class, which in its pursuit of wealth seems no longer loyal to socialist ideals. Concluding that China will continue to prosper economically, he predicts that politically it will remain as "secretive... and repressive as ever." This window onto the Middle Kingdom at the turn of the century should hold great interest for China watchers. (June)
Library Journal
In this updated and expanded version of its Dutch precursor (published in Amsterdam in 1996), Van Kemenade, a Beijing-based Dutch journalist, presents a comprehensive and detailed anatomy of three East Asian political/economic systems: China, which shifted from class struggle to economic development and repressive stability; Hong Kong, which will become a special administrative region (SAR) of China this month after 99 years of British colonial rule; and Taiwan, which was transformed from a one-party dictatorship to a multiparty democracy. To keep Hong Kong and Taiwan in the "Greater China Straitjacket," observes the author, Beijing sticks aggressively to the 1984 formula "one countrytwo systems," i.e., one China with socialism and laissez-faire capitalism. Van Kemenade devotes the latter part of his book to the discussion of China's special economic zones, opened to attract high-tech investments from the West. This deeply researched book will appeal to the East Asia collection of academic libraries.Steven Lin, Dallas P.L.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679777564
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1998
Pages:
476
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Willem van Kemenade was born in the Netherlands in 1943. He studied history at Nijmegen University and Chinese in Taiwan and at Leiden University. Since 1977 he has been a freelance journalist and correspondent in Beijing, Jakarta, Hong Kong, and Taiwan for the major Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. He currently lives in Beijing.

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