Like all Communist and post communist countries, China has been on the path of a triple transition: to marketize its economy, to democratize its polity, and to build a civil society. The rapidly changing nature of China’s political economy has caused anxiety among her neighbors and major Western nations. This worry comes from two opposing concerns: One is the possible ascendancy of a new “Middle Kingdom” with enormous economic and political clout, while the other is the possible break-up of China and the emergence of a “Muddle Kingdom” suffering from political, ethnic and regional conflicts (Foreign Affairs 1998). These two scenarios for the future China seem totally different. However, if we examine them carefully, they are actually twins begotten by a common observation: China has done well in the economic but not in the political realm. Such an unpredictable “China threat” (no matter which scenario is considered) has intensified the urgency for both decision-makers and academics to grasp accurately the logic underlying the Chinese system in order to interpret her behavior and gauge her future policy projection. But her rapidly changing economy and persistently opaque politics have increased the difficulties of placing her in a broader comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, and thus, of interpreting the dynamics and directions of her political and economic development (Shambaugh 1993).