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Red sales vanish in the sunsetThe China DreamJoe StudwellProfile Books 15 pp356The Coming Collapse of ChinaGordon G ChangCentury 1499 pp355The decades since 1979 have been good ones for the Peoples Republic of China The communist state has somehow managed to weather its crises most notably the Tiananmen spring of 1989 and emerged into the twenty-first century on a blaze of international glory gaining entry to the World Trade Organisation winning the 2008 Olympic Games bid even qualifying for the World Cup Chinese self-confidence seems strong as China demands international recognition of progress made since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976The West has wasted no time in acclaiming Chinas economic potential Since Deng Ziaoping began opening China to the world in 1979 Western businesses have poured money into China - 300 billion in the 1990s alone - in the hope of reaching the countrys 13 billion potential consumersYet as Joe Studwell argues convincingly in The China Dream for the majority of investors the China market remains little more than a chimera He finds Western businessmen guilty of swallowing too much of the Communist Partys propaganda His book provides an invaluable guide to the money-sink that is the contemporary Chinese economy and a chastening expos of Western business follyEconomic reform in post-Mao China began at the grass roots when farming plots were returned to individual families after 1979 This was followed by a dramatic proliferation of family businesses and the introduction of profit-oriented reforms within state-owned enterprises SOEsDisposable incomes grew rapidly as nascent Chinese consumers went mad for wristwatches TVs and other goods Meanwhile Deng busied himself integrating China into the international economy encouraging export and investment The turmoil of 1989 ultimately did little to slow economic change in 1992 Deng set off on a now famous tour of southern China calling for faster better deeper economic growth Foreign businesses responded to his global media offensive with a frenzy of investmentStudwell cites a long and
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