Book Review: Handbook of the Politics of China by David S. G. Goodman.

AuthorZhu, Zhiqun
PositionBook review

Goodman, David S. G., ed. Handbook of the Politics of China. Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2015. xx + 553 pages. Hardcover, $280.00.

This book is a collection of over two dozen chapters on various aspects of Chinese politics. The chapters were first presented at a workshop at China's Nanjing University in May 2014. The purpose of the Handbook, as the editor David Goodman suggests, is to provide a study tool for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as academics, interested in research on different facets of Chinese politics as a field of study.

The Handbook of the Politics of China is organized into four parts. The first section deals with leadership, structures, and the institutions of politics. The second part examines the People's Republic of China's (PRC's) public policy. The third section concentrates on topics related to the PRC's political economy and social changes, and the final part addresses China's foreign relations. Part I includes seven chapters covering topics ranging from the central government to provincial politics, and from the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party to the post-Deng transformation of the People's Liberation Army. Part II has seven chapters including topics such as China's economic policy, regional development, minority rights, education, as well as welfare and social security. Part III contains six chapters on rural development, corruption, class politics, non-governmental organizations, gender, and social unrest. Part IV includes six chapters addressing China's role in the world, its economic statecraft, and its relations with East Asian countries, the United States, Southeast Asia, and the European Union.

The book highlights several key concepts in Chinese politics such as Guanxi, Hukou, Neibu, Weibo, Wechat, Falungong, Danwei, Chengfen, and apparat or Xitong. The contributors, each of whom reviews the literature on a specific topic and presents the latest research findings, include some of the leading scholars in China Studies such as Zheng Yongnian, Dali Yang, Bo Zhiyue, Bates Gill, Jean Oi, and You Ji. Several junior scholars also contribute to the Handbook, and together they present a broad and clear picture of how Chinese politics is conducted and why Chinese politics is so complicated.

The book as a whole studies the continuities in China's politics and explores whether the PRC as a polity will change. As a professor of China Studies, Goodman argues that, like all other political systems...

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