Podcast: The Perfect Dictatorship

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Episode Guests
  • Elizabeth C. Economy
    Senior Fellow for China Studies

Show Notes

On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Stein Ringen, emeritus professor at the University of Oxford and author of The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century, gives us his take on the Chinese party-state. He dubs China today a “controlocracy,” a sophisticated dictatorship that values its grip on power above all else. Ringen believes that Xi Jinping’s anticorruption campaign aims not just to flush out political rivals or protect state coffers, but to root out competing power centers that subvert Beijing’s control. His book is as exacting and stark as a Jo Nesbø novel—and his conclusions are just as grim. Listen in as Ringen describes how even with continued deep engagement from the international community, China’s best-case prognosis is a “hard dictatorship.” Without engagement, China’s fate is far worse—all-out authoritarianism or total chaos. And that’s a China no one wants to see.

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