The Chinese economy has undergone a significant transformation in the last quarter of a century. The restructuring of economic institutions has attracted considerable academic attention and has spawned a substantial number of scholarly investigations. The voluminous literature that has emerged nevertheless contains some fundamental gaps and is not entirely balanced. Some recent studies have challenged the assumptions upon which the entire edifice rests and have painted a far more cautious picture of the economy and political system in the coming years. This picture, in turn, needs to be extended, refined and, if possible, at least partially validated.