Democracy Is a Good Thing: Essays on Politics, Society, and Culture in Contemporary China

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"Democracy is a good thing. This is true not only for individuals or certain officials but also for the entire nation and for all the people of China."—Yu Keping

So begins "Democracy Is a Good Thing," an essay of great influence that has commanded attention and provoked discussion throughout the world. It is the touchstone of this important volume of the same name. As one of China's foremost political thinkers and a leading proponent of democratizing the People's Republic, Yu Keping is a major figure not only in his native land, but also in the international community. This book brings together much of his most important work and makes it readily accessible to readers in the West for the first time.

"Democracy Is a Good Thing" created a stir internationally. Perhaps more important, however, is the heated debate it spurred within China on the desirability of democratic reform. That important essay appears here, along with several of Yu Keping's other influential works on politics, culture, and civil society. His topics include China's economic modernization, its institutional environment, and the cultural changes that have accompanied the nation's reforms.

Democracy Is a Good Thing pulls back the curtain to reveal ongoing discourse in Chinese political and intellectual circles, discussions that will go a long way toward determining the future of the world's most populous nation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Yu Keping is a must-read for anyone interested in the current public consciousness of China about the challenges ahead." —Brantly Womack, University of Virginia, The China Journal

From the Publisher

"Yu Keping is a must-read for anyone interested in the current public consciousness of China about the challenges ahead."—Brantly Womack, University of Virginia, The China Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815796947
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2009
  • Series: The Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 219
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Yu Keping is deputy director of the Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and a professor of politics at Peking University.

John L. Thornton is chairman of the board of trustees at the Brookings Institution and professor and director of Global Leadership at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Cheng Li, a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, is the editor of China's Changing Political Landscape (Brookings, 2008).

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Table of Contents

Foreword John L. Thornton vii

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction Cheng Li xvii

Part I Political Development in Reform-Era China

1 Democracy Is a Good Thing 3

2 The Study of Political Science and Public Administration in China: An Overview 6

3 The Seventeenth Party Congress and the Agenda for China's Political Reforms 27

Part II Social Transformation and Civil Society

4 China's Civil Society: Conceptual Definitions, Types, and Background 37

5 The Characteristics of Chinese Civil Society: Administrative Regulations and Institutional Environment 52

6 Civil Society Organizations: Challenges and Responses 75

Part III Culture, Modernity, and Sustainability

7 Culture and Modernity in the Chinese Intellectual Discourse: A Historical Perspective 93

8 The Transformation of Chinese Culture since the Launching of Reform: A Historical Perspective 113

9 China's Economic Modernization and Sustainability 134

10 Harmony between Man and Nature: China's Environmental Practices and Challenges 140

Part IV Globalization and Governance

11 Preserving China's Autonomy in the Era of Globalization 149

12 Federalism in Modern China: Concepts and Experiments 157

13 A Harmonious World and Global Governance: A Chinese Perspective 168

Notes 181

Further Reading: The Writings of Yu Keping 199

Index 207

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