This research was shaped by two factors. The first was that, to date, no thorough treatment of civil aviation in China existed from a political econo my viewpoint outside of China in English. In fact, little detailed academic work from any perspective had been undertaken, and the industry awaited comprehensive empirical exploration and description. Second, civil aviation embodied a range of features that allowed for an examination of certain interesting questions and issues at the heart of China's economic reform and evolving state-economic-society relationship. The expanding role of markets, private capital, reform of state owned enterprises, bureaucratic reorganiza tion, decentralization, globalization, China's security concerns, and defense
capabilities: all of these issues were tied up in civil aviation. The industry could thus be used as a case-study to comment on these developments with the confidence of strong empirical support, and from this, construct a con ceptual and analytical framework for the study of China's political economy more generally.