Zhu Rongji and the transformation of modern China

Our China editor Dan Slater reviews Laurence j. Brahm''s book.

Laurence Brahm's biography of Chinese premier Zhu Rongji may seem too detailed and academic for some, but dedicated readers who want to understand the mind of one of China's greatest mandarins will find the effort worthwhile. Brahm, a political economist and lawyer, is obviously an admirer of Zhu and has consequently good access to materials and senior officials.

Most fascinating is the description of how power is exercised in the People's Republic. The manner in which decisions are made and how they are executed has always been a mysterious process. The Chinese methods of exercising power come across as bizarre, a reminder of just how different China is from most other countries.

For example, I...

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