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76 China Review International: Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1998 Bray's thorough research has produced an engrossing study documented with copious footnotes, many containing more text than the corresponding page in the main text itself. Mercifully, the publisher has placed the notes at the foot of the pages, making the work easily readable despite the copious citations. Technology and Gender is highly recommended and should be on all reading lists for courses on Chinese anthropology and history and on women's studies. Kathleen L. Lodwick Pennsylvania State University, Lehigh Valley Kathleen L. Lodwick is a professor ofhistory specializing in the history ofChristian missions in China. Shaun Breslin. China in the 1980s: Centre-Province Relations in a Reforming Socialist State. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. x, 180 pp. Hardcover $69.95, isbn 0-312-16018-6. This is an intelligent and comprehensive study. Unfortunately, it was out of date even before it came out in print in May 1996. It is based on a bibliography that is limited mostly to sources from the 1980s and before with only a few references from the early 1990s. The text is therefore mute on the dramatic changes that followed Deng Xiaoping's "Southern Tour" of five years ago. With China changing so rapidly, the 1980s seem rather distant from the current reality. This book is therefore ofinterest mostly to a highly specialized readership. Shaun Breslin was a student of David Goodman and acknowledges that he has relied heavily on Goodman's earlier studies of central-provincial relations. The book also refers extensively to other well-known secondary literature and has the flavor of a reworked doctoral dissertation. It covers a lot of well-trodden ground. It does not present a great deal of new information or innovative analysis . Nevertheless, Breslin tackles a very broad topic in a clear-minded and systematic way. The book is a good read. As the author points out, political reform does not necessarily consist in change out of respect for human rights and the democratization of the political y mversity svstem china's political reform in the 1980s transformed a politically mobilized society into an economically mobilized society through thoroughgoing changes in the process and function of political power (p. 1). The reform process in China has led to myriad unanticipated consequences of the new policy initiatives. The ofHawai'i Press Reviews 77 success that the Chinese leadership has had in maintaining social stability and increasing prosperity over the course of the 1980s in the face ofmassive serious political and economic complications is a tribute to their ability to govern a huge and diverse nation. Analyzing "China in the 1980s" in terms ofa geographic analysis of center versus province is interesting, but perhaps not as useful as it might seem. China, after all, is not a federation but a unitary state. There is no constitutionally mandated separation ofpowers between the center and the provinces. Line ministries have the power, in theory at least, to control their bureaus direcdy, right down to the county level. A provincial governor is therefore typically not a very important official (with some exceptions such as Ye Xuanping's "reign" in Guangdong up until 1989). The book tends to overemphasize the importance to Chinese development ofcentral-provincial political and economic conflict. This is, ofcourse, important , but there are also conflicts between ministries, for example, and over political choices that have played a major role in Chinese politics in the 1980s. There are some interesting issues that the book does not address in as much depth as one might have hoped. One of these is the question ofthe center's adoption ofdifferential fiscal arrangements across regions, usually explained as designed to alleviate regional disparity. Breslin details how the implementation of shared taxation policies starting in the 1990s has significandy reduced the central government's revenue shortfall ofthe 1980s. This does suggest that the necessary economic resources are now available ifthe political will is there on the part of the central government to enact effective policies to address the problem ofunbalanced development. The capacity of the state to address the widening gap between have and have-not regions is obviously ofcritical importance to China...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 76-77
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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