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The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Economy


Economy & Politics, Current Issues


Ian Williams






Ian Williams was foreign correspondent for Channel 4 News, based in Russia (1992–1995) and then Asia (1995–2006). He then joined NBC News as Asia Correspondent (2006–2015), when he was based in Bangkok and Beijing. As well as reporting from China over the last 25 years, he has also covered conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East and Ukraine. He won an Emmy and BAFTA awards for his discovery and reporting on the Serb detention camps during the war in Bosnia. He is currently a doctoral student i...





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State capitalism. Socialism with Chinese characteristics. A socialist market economy. There have been numerous descriptions of the Chinese economy. However, none seems to capture the predatory, at times surreal, nature of the economy of the world’s most populous nation – nor the often bruising and mind-bending experience of doing business with the Middle Kingdom.

Rules and agreements mean little. Markets are distorted, statistics fabricated, foreign industrial secrets and technology systematically stolen. Companies and entrepreneurs, at home and abroad, are bullied – often with the collusion of the victims themselves. The Party is in every boardroom and lab, with businesses thriving or dying at its will.

All this is part of realising President Xi Jinping’s ambition of China becoming the world’s pre-eminent economic, technological and military power.

China’s economy has been presented as a technocratic model to be emulated, but also as an enormous Ponzi-style bubble which defies economic gravity. To admirers it has pulled hundreds of millions out of poverty (a claim fundamental to Party legitimacy); to critics the achievements are exaggerated, the costs enormous, and a reckoning inevitable. The vicissitudes of ‘reform and opening’ are extensively studied, but poorly understood. ‘Reform and opening’ was never a coherent policy. The survival of the Communist Party was always fundamental.

This book is the story of China’s vampire economy, and the single-minded effort by the Party to bend economics and business to its own will and ambition. It is a predator. Businesses thrive or die at its will. In many ways contemporary China now shares the characteristics of the pre-war Nazi economy. 

This book will:

  • Examine the myths upon which so many studies of the Chinese economy are built

  • Look at the messy reality behind ‘reform and opening’

  • Describe how the will of the Party has been and remains the driving force

  • Describe the essentially predatory (and often surreal) nature of the Chinese economy and the wider goal of global economic and military leadership

Each chapter will be a snapshot of different aspects of economy/business.


"A penetrating and chilling account of how and why China's rise to global economic dominance has been stopped in its tracks. Xi Jinping's surveillance state is incapable of making the changes necessary to deal with the fact that China's economic policies are unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable. Now, as Ian Williams writes, we are faced with the problems created by China which is now post-peak rather than on the way up." --Chris Patten, Former Governor of Hong Kong, 1992-97 "In this hard-hitting exposé, Ian Williams demonstrates how the Chinese Communist Party's obsession with exercising uncontested power has led to pervasive corruption and unintended consequences for China's own population and the world at large." --Nigel Inkster, former director of operations and intell...



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