China off ers another case of a political system that has undergone enormous change, with the critical diff erence that those changes have global implications. As the biggest country in the world by population, and one that will soon have the world’s biggest economy as well, China is an important case in comparative politics. It is clearly authoritarian, with a political system in which much of China’s communist heritage persists: government revolves around the dominance of a single party – the Chinese Communist Party – and a complex network of government institutions. Since a revolution in 1949, China has undergone many changes, most recently based on eff orts by new generations of leaders to change the direction of domestic and foreign policy. The free market continues to take a fi rmer hold in China, but political choice remains restricted, creating many political features that, while unique, off er important insights into the nature of authoritarianism.
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