Thomas P. Bernstein, Professor Emeritus, Columbia University
“In this marvelous new book, Fewsmith highlights one of the key puzzles of Chinese politics: why do so few local officials experiment with political reforms when so many have experimented with all kinds of economic reforms? He draws on his extensive knowledge of local politics to show how the interplay of the political structure and individual personalities shapes the potential for political reform. He convincingly shows the importance of looking at grassroots dynamics – not just politics in Beijing – to understand the future of China.”
Bruce J. Dickson, The Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
“Why have Chinese local governance reforms failed to curb the arbitrary power of local bosses? Fewsmith’s fine survey convincingly shows how the Communist Party’s fears of losing control have hamstrung the reforms, and thereby lost the Party the opportunity to put its authority on a more solid footing. Let’s hope the book is translated into Chinese and its lessons learned by future Party leaders.”
Susan L. Shirk, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego
“Joseph Fewsmith, one of America’s best-informed China watchers, reads widely in Chinese. Over the past six years, he has traveled around many regions of China to see how badly needed reforms are proceeding. He has found that they have not succeeded, and here he tells us why.”
Ezra Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus, Harvard University
"In recent years, grass-roots political reforms in China have drawn much hopeful attention in the West … But Fewsmith’s careful analyses of roughly a dozen such experiments show that none was democratic in the Western sense."
Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs
"A leading scholar on China, Fewsmith examines the important reforms undertaken in China since the 1990s, ranging from inner-party democracy to deliberative democracy/consultative authoritarianism … this book excels in presenting specific instances of reform in China through the author’s extensive field trips and research there. Moreover, it answers an important question regarding China’s future and will be beneficial for students and scholars of Chinese political reforms, China’s democratization, and China studies. Summing up: recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."
X. Li, Choice