From the mid-1970s until the clamp-down in Tiananmen Square in 1989 China's leaders carried on a programme of economic reform. They recognized that China's influence in the world depended on its ability to become part of the international network of modern trade and technology. However, the reforms were hampered and pressures were built up as the social and political aspirations, that greater economic freedom produced, were resisted by the government. Dr Thunberg examines developments in China that led up to the tragedy of Tiananmen Square. She analyzes the bottlenecks in production, the inflationary pressures and the corrupt practices that undermined the drive towards modernity. She then argues that the failure to take account of the real and extensive differences between planned and market economies vitiated China's attempts to become part of international trading community. Other parts of the book are concerned with possible implications of what has happened in China on its near neighbours, Hong kong and Taiwan.
She points out the difficulties that have been created for Honk Kong, but argues that the acts of repression in China have opened up new economic possibilities for Taiwan. In conclusion Dr. Thunberg insists that China must modernize and liberalize if it is to be properly integrated into the world economy.