This is the first book to examine systematically the evolution of the Chinese state from the late Ming Dynasty of the seventeenth century, through the Nationalist and Communist party states of the twentieth century, and into the next century. Leading scholars carefully assess the internal organization of the Chinese state over time, the ruling parties that have governed it, the foreign and indigeus systems that have served as models for state-building and political development, and the array of concepts that have guided Chinese thinking about the state. The Chinese state is the oldest in the world, far predating European and other Oriental state systems, but the party-states in both mainland China and Taiwan today both face serious challenges. What are these challenges and can they endure? What will the Chinese state of the next century look like? These contemporary, and many more historical questions are explored in this book.