Grabbing Hand vs. Enabling Hand: A Comparison of China and Japan in Response to the West in late 19th Century

The Qing court always has special tax incentives

Observers of the late developing states have long stressed the role of the government in the catch-up process. They often claim that the low market demand, capital shortages, and the high risk of business ventures call for the state activism, direct or indirect, in the economic development process. Although a few countries, such as Germany, […]

Republicanism and Democracy

Ancient Roman Empire

What is republicanism?  What is its relationship with the theory and practice of democracy? As I mentioned in the last essay, republicanism is regarded as one of the four sources of democratic theory and practice.  However, republicanism is not attributable to ancient Greece; it was instead exemplified by republican Rome (510-23 BC) and was revived by the Italian city-states in the Middle […]


1. From the Co-Editors (Bo LI & Li-an ZHOU) 2. News Review (Jie SHEN) 3. Economics     China’s Economic Reform: Past, Present and Future (WU Jinglian) 4. Feature: The Rule of Law and China    a. Chinese Cultural Tradition and Modern Human Rights (Albert CHEN)     b. China and the Rule of Law: Part I (Randall PEERENBOOM)     c. The Modern Market Economy and the Rule […]

China’s Economic Reform: Past, Present and Future

China's economy has developed rapidly

Achievements and Problems The current Chinese economic reforms have resulted in significant progress in the last twenty years. An important sign of these progresses has been the diminishing importance of the state sector. Formerly the state sector dominated the Chinese economy. Today, the proportion of the state sector in overall economy has decreased sharply. (See […]

Equality and Democracy

statue of Aristotle

According to Professor Robert Dahl, the fourth, and last, important source affecting the development of democracy is the logic of political equality. In this essay, we will explore the relationship between equality, particularly political equality, and democracy. Almost all thinkers, left and right, emphasize the importance of freedom and equality (except for Aristotle and Nietzsche, […]


Perspectives is primarily designed to exchange ideas, broaden knowledge and vision, and stimulate new thinking. The articles target general readers as well as academics. While commentaries and essays relating to China are our focus, we also publish articles introducing relevant concepts and ideas in various fields of law, humanities and social sciences. We hope you find […]

Black-White Relations: The American Dilemma

Protests against racism in the United States

In 1964, the editors of the Saturday Review asked twenty seven esteemed men and women of letters this question, “what books published during the past four decades most significantly altered the direction of [the American] society?” Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma received more votes than any other books except John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory […]

Representative Government and Democracy

Ancient Greek

In the first essay of this series, I mentioned that the idea and institution of democracy have four sources affecting its development: the classical Greek democracy, the republican tradition, the theory and practice of representative government, and the logic of political equality. The focus of this essay is on the theory and practice of representative […]