China has entered the 21st century as the world's last surviving empire, a vast bureaucratic dictatorship with close to 1.3 billion people drawn from ... Show synopsis China has entered the 21st century as the world's last surviving empire, a vast bureaucratic dictatorship with close to 1.3 billion people drawn from 56 different races. The People's Republic of China, part Communist, part capitalist, is the heir to an imperial dynastic tradition that stretches back over more than 2000 years.;This book provides a general introduction to the Chinese, taking the reader on a journey from the poorest, those living in remote mountainous regions, to the most powerful families in the capital. In between, it looks at how workers in state-owned enterprises and the new capitalists are navigating the transition from a planned to a market economy, and at who are the winners and losers in the scramble to make this new consumer market yield golden profits.;The catastrophic failure to engineer the most egalitarian society on earth has now opened the way to one of the most unequal.This book looks at rural China - the plight of barefoot doctors, hard-pressed rural teachers and migrant workers - against the backdrop of the urbanization of a billion peasants; and at how urban China, with its booming coastal cities and special economic zones in which millions slave in sweatshops, is being rebuilt. ;The new market economy is also driving the need for a new bureaucracy, smaller armed forces, a modern legal system, a freer intelligentsia and, ultimately, a different political system.;Having explained earlier attempts to modernize China, the book concludes by asking whether the world's oldest continuous civilization will succeed in the new century.