Leading scholars in various fields give their views of development in the People's Republic of China since 1949, with emphasis on recent decades. After a broad overview of progress and setbacks, specific topics covered include national political reform, the Chinese Communist Party in power, the economy, rural reform, urban systems, the environment, foreign relations, the People's Liberation Army, the legal system, social welfare reform, intellectuals, art, and literature. Overall the volume presents a picture of the PRC that is not as healthy as optimists maintain nor in such a disastrous state as many pessimists have put forward. Increasingly, external developments will be shaping the pace of change in the People's Republic. The ability of the government to continue to respond in a measured fashion to change will be necessary if the PRC is to thrive in the twenty-first century.