Anne Stevenson-Yang

Wild Ride

How did China grow, in just over four decades, from an impoverished country to the second-largest economy in the world? And how did the miracle come to an end?

To understand the story of China’s rapid rise and equally rapid fall, author Anne Stevenson-Yang takes us back to the 1980s, when the country first opened up. Stevenson-Yang, who lived and worked in China for a quarter of a century, traces each decade of China’s opening, from the roaring 80s to today’s malaise.

Giddy changes swept over China after the Maoist era. But Stevenson-Yang says, in her first-hand account of contemporary China Wild Ride, political reform was never the intention, despite what Western investors wanted to believe. Ultimately, China’s authoritarian political system prevented real reform from taking root.

China’s capitalist experiment is over, Stevenson-Yang argues, and China is returning to the poverty and isolation of the Mao era.

Stevenson-Yang’s is an up-close and personal account of the country’s wild ride through capitalism and back again, a rare outsider-inside story of a period of momentous change.

A short history of the opening and closing of the Chinese economy

Publication date 5 March 2024

£12.99 | 176 pages

978-1-7394243-1-2 | Paperback

“Anne Stevenson-Yang has written a bracing, amusing, and ultimately wistful history of the ups and downs of Communist China's affair with capitalism. With a front-row seat to the last four decades of Chinese economic history and an eye for both the mundane and the extraordinary, she has produced a book that should be widely read."

Yuan Yi Zhu, Leiden University

“A pacy, whistlestop tour of the illusive rise and dramatic decline of China’s economy that blends a bird’s-eye-view with unique personal experience. Anne Stevenson Yang’s insights are sharp and thought provoking. While not everyone will agree with Stevenson-Yang’s at times gloomy analysis, her depth of perspective is rare and illuminating among the hot air that clouds the world of China watching.”

Amy Hawkins, Senior China Correspondent, The Guardian

"China's adventure in capitalism is one of the most important global stories of the past half century. Anne Stevenson-Yang blends witty personal analysis with political experience and insight to tell the story of the opening—and closing—of modern China.”
- Rana Mitter, Harvard University

The author

Anne Stevenson-Yang first moved to Beijing in 1985. In more than 25 years of living and working in China, she founded companies in publishing, software and online media. Today, she runs J Capital Research USA and is the author of China Alone: China’s Emergence and Potential Return to Isolation.