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Hong Kong University Press
Hong Kong University Press

The Chinese system is like no other known to man, now or in history, holds Stein Ringen. Politically, it is a dictatorship that is so effective and smooth that it in some respects does not even look dictatorial. It does not tell the Chinese what they must do but it controls that they do not do what they must not. It is a "controlocracy."

Professor Ringen shall explain how the controlocracy works and how hard the dictatorship really is under the pretense of benevolence, while introducing his recent book The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century (Hong Kong University Press 2016).

Research Professor Stein Tønnesson (PRIO) will serve as commentator.

Stein Ringen is Visiting Professor of political economy at King’s College London and Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford. His blog on the whys and hows of democracy is on ThatsDemocracy.com.

His many books include Nation of Devils: Democracy and the Problem of Obedience (Yale University Press, 2013), The Korean State and Social Policy: How South Korea Lifted Itself from Poverty and Dictatorship to Affluence and Democrac y (Oxford 2011) and What Democracy Is For: On Freedom and Moral Government (Princeton 2007).

In addition to his academic positions he has been Assistant Director General in the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, a consultant to the United Nations, and a news and feature reporter with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK).

Stein Tønnesson led the Uppsala-based program "The Asian Peace" 2011–16, and is the author of Explaining the East Asian Peace (NIAS Press, 2017).

  • A Norwegian translation of Ringen's book (Det perfekte diktatur) will be available for sale during the seminar.