The collapse of the Soviet Union had a profound impact on China’s thinking about political institutions, political ideology and development. The disastrous consequences for social welfare arising from the collapse of communist party rule in the USSR reinforced China’s determination to resist external and internal pressure to institute parliamentary democracy. Why did the CPSU collapse while the CPC was able to survive and strengthen its political position? The dramatic difference in the two communist superpowers’ political trajectory has been of incalculable consequence for global political economy in the twenty-first century and perhaps even further into the future.