China Deconstructs: Politics, Trade and Regionalism by David S.G. Goodman, Gerald Segal

By David S.G. Goodman, Gerald Segal

China seems to be set to regain its former strength, experiencing the world's quickest financial progress for over a decade. taking a look at the demanding situations posed by means of reforms, the participants examine elements that may result in or hinder the break-up of China.

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Sample text

In the view of Sun Yatsen, the Qing state was not authentic China at all, as Yu Yue had imagined, but an historical aberration. China had been dead for the past two and a half centuries, not because it was in any sense disunited but because it had fallen into the hands of the alien Manchus. So at the founding ceremony of the Republic on 15 February, 1912, Sun Yatsen proceeded under military escort with members of his cabinet and other high officials to the sepulchre of the Founding Emperor of the Ming, in the hills skirting Nanjing, to announce that after a lapse of almost three centuries China had finally been restored unto itself.

But he was not convinced that the federalism he witnessed in the United States—nor for that matter its liberalism—should be adopted for use in China. In the first place, he argued, the political system in the United States was grounded in tenacious traditions of local selfgovernment which were without parallel in China. 60 In any case, Liang’s thinking on centralisation and federation was directed toward establishing a strong state and all of his calculations on the most appropriate form of the state were directed to this end.

In fact memory of the disintegration or death of the state has been invoked with telling effect by all political movements since the middle of the nineteenth century. Fear of the ‘death of the state’, in other words, has a history of its own which deserves to be remembered, and which perhaps needs to be remembered in order to appreciate the rhetorical function of the ‘thesis of the death of the state’ in contemporary China. CONTINUITY, UNITY AND LEGITIMACY China is not just a country with a long history but, as they say in China, a big country with a long history.

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