In the Jaws of the Dragon America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Dominance

Eamonn Fingleton

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

368 Pages



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In recent years, popular wisdom has held that opening American markets to Chinese goods was the best way to promote democracy in Beijing—that the Communist Party’s grip would quickly weaken as increasingly affluent Chinese citizens embraced American values.

That popular wisdom was wrong. As Eamonn Fingleton shows in this devastating book, instead of America changing China, China is changing America. Although this process of reverse convergence has been swept largely under the carpet by knee-jerk globalists in the American press, Americans will soon be hearing much more about it. Nowhere is the pattern more obvious than in business. Many top American corporations—Boeing, AT&T, the Detroit automobile companies, among them—openly collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party. In a stunning rejection of Western values, Yahoo! even provided the Chinese secret police with vital evidence that resulted in a ten-year jail sentence for one of its Chinese subscribers, a brave young dissident, under draconian censorship laws. Selling the American national interest short, countless other corporations abjectly do Beijing’s lobbying in Congress.

This book—the culmination of twenty years of study—also breaks new ground by revealing the secret behind China’s phenomenal savings rate. It is reinforced by an Orwellian system of political control that, as Fingleton reveals, utilizes an ancient bureaucratic tool called selective enforcement—a form of blackmail that instills a silent reign of terror throughout Chinese society. Most worryingly, selective enforcement can readily be unleashed on any American corporation with interests in China—which is to say just about every member of the Fortune 500.


Praise for In the Jaws of the Dragon

“Eamonn Fingleton demonstrates once again why his analyses of modern capitalism deserve serious attention. As he has done before with Japan, he identifies the elements of China’s business model that depart sharply from easy Western assumptions—and he lays out the consequences of seeing China the way outsiders would like it to be, rather than the way it is.”—James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly

“With capitalism spreading in China, the world expects communism to be swept away by democracy. Eamonn Fingleton expertly shows why it is not to be. This book begins the understanding of the challenge the United States faces from an authoritarian China strengthened by capitalism.”—Former Senator Ernest F. Hollings

"The more heavily that U.S. media conglomerates invest in China, the more vulnerable they become to Chinese pressure to censor their U.S. reportage. As Eamonn Fingleton shows, what we don’t know can hurt us. This is a fascinating book with truly unique insights.”—Pat Choate, author of Agents of Influence

“Filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle that is China, Eamonn Fingleton’s riveting and provocative book is required reading for anyone who cares about the U.S.-China relationship.”—Senator Byron Dorgan, author of Take This Job and Ship It

“Eamonn Fingleton offers a compelling corrective to the naive and often self-interested view of U.S. elites that as China grows more capitalistic, it will necessarily grow more democratic.”—Robert Kuttner, coeditor, The American Prospect

“Fingleton brings his penetrating analytical skills to bear on every dimension of the U.S.-China economic relationship, even the uncomfortable facts that many policymakers prefer to ignore.”—Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

“Anyone who cares about the future of American industry needs to read this book.”—Richard L. Trumka, secretary-treasurer, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

“One of the most powerful, shocking, well-written, solidly documented, tear-the-scales-from-your-eyes books I've read in more than two decades . . . I couldn't put this book down—at least 100 of its 368 pages are dog eared and highlighted. It's probably the most important book that's ever been written about the figure of our republic.”—Thom Hartmann, host of The Thom Hartmann Program

“America's fate looks dicey in the showdown with the Chinese juggernaut, warns [Fingleton] . . . His economic analysis is incisive.”—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Two bets are on the table. One has been placed by the Washington policymaking establishment; the other, by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
Analyzing China’s prospects in terms of the currently fashionable globalist ideology, the Washington establishment is betting that a rich China will be a free one.
The theory is that the only way China can continue to grow is by embracing Western democracy and capitalism. Moreover, the very process of China’s enrichment is supposedly serving to undermine the Beijing government’s authoritarianism. Thus a feedback
Read the full excerpt


  • Eamonn Fingleton

  • Eamonn Fingleton, a former editor for Forbes and the Financial Times, has been monitoring East Asian economics since he met supreme leader Deng Xiaoping in 1986. He predicted the Tokyo banking crash the following year, and the Internet stock crash of 2000 in his book In Praise of Hard Industries: Why Manufacturing, Not the Information Economy, Is the Key to Future Prosperity. His books have been read into the U.S. Senate record and named among the ten best business books of the year by Business Week and
  • Eamonn Fingleton Photo: Yasuko Amako