As the Chinese Communist Party(CCP) set about reforming its centrally planned economy, it faced the thorny policy question of how to reform its state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Should it support a shift from public to private ownership of the means of production? Such a shift would challenge not only the CCP's socialist ideology but also its very legitimacy. Mixing the business of corporate restructuring with the politics of socialism presented nothing short of a policy nightmare. With policy-relevant acuity, the contributors to this wide-ranging volume address the questions about reform programs that have plagued China -and East Asia more broadly -since the 1990s. While China, Japan, and South Korea have all been criticized for implementing reform too slowly or too selectively, this volume delves into the broader contexts underlying certain institutional decisions. The book seeks to show that seemingly different political economies actually share surprising similarities, and problems. While Going Private in China sheds new light on China's corporate restructuring, it also offers new perspectives on how we think about the process of institutional change.
Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor in Chinese Politics, a professor of political science, and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) all at Stanford University, USA. She also directs the Stanford China Program.