Young China Watchers

Book presentations: 'The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century' and 'Post-Western World: How Emerging Powers Are Remaking Global Order'


Stein Ringen, emeritus professor at University of Oxford

Oliver Stuenkel, assistant professor of international relations at Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV)

Stein Ringen presented his book 'The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century'. The Chinese political economy is like no other system known to man, now or in history. This book explains how the system works and where it may be moving, and addresses questions such as what are the intentions and priorities of the Chinese leaders? What kind of leader is Xi Jinping, where is he leading China and how radically is he changing the regime? How strong is the Chinese economy and how fast is it growing? And is there ‘totalitarianism with Chinese characteristics’? Drawing on Chinese and international sources, on extensive collaboration with Chinese scholars, and on the political science of state analysis, the author concludes that under the new leadership of Xi Jinping, the system of government has been transformed into a new regime, radically harder than the legacy of Deng Xiaoping; China is less strong economically and more dictatorial politically than the world has wanted to believe.

Oliver Stuenkel presented his book 'Post-Western World: How Emerging Powers Are Remaking Global Order'. This book examines what China’s rise mean for the future of the international order and what role the so-called BRICS will play in global affairs. Oliver Stuenkel argues that our understanding of global order and predictions about its future are limited because we seek to imagine the post-Western world from a parochial Western-centric perspective. In reality, China and other rising powers that elude the simplistic extremes of either confronting or joining existing order are quietly building a “parallel order” which complements today’s international institutions and increases rising powers' autonomy. Combining accessibility with expert sensitivity to the complexities of the global shift of power, Stuenkel’s vision of a post-Western world will be core reading for students and scholars of contemporary international affairs, as well as anyone interested in the future of global politics.