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Contemporary Political, Economic, and International Affairs

David Denoon

Publication Year: 2007

China’s dramatic transformation over the past fifteen years has drawn its share of attention and fear from the global community and world leaders. Far from the inward-looking days of the Cultural Revolution, modern China today is the world’s fourth largest economy, with a net product larger than that of France and the United Kingdom. And China’s dynamism is by no means limited to its economy: enrollments in secondary and higher education are rapidly expanding, and new means of communication are vastly increasing information available to the Chinese public. In two decades, the Chinese government has also transformed its foreign relations—Beijing is now consulted on virtually every key development within the region. However, the Communist Party of China still dominates all aspects of political life. The Politburo is still self-selecting, Beijing chooses province governors, censorship is widespread, and treatment of dissidents remains harsh.

In China, leading experts provide an overview of the region, highlighting key issues as they developed in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Edited with an introduction by David B. H. Denoon, an authority on China, this volume of articles covers recent events and key issues in understanding this growing superpower. Organized into three thematic sections—foreign policy and national security, economic policy and social issues, and domestic politics and governance—the essays cover salient topics such as China's military power, de-communization, growing economic strength, nationalism, and the possibility for democracy. The volume also contains current maps as well as a “Recent Chronology of Events” which provides a decade's worth of information on the region, organized by year and by country.

Contributors: Liu Binyan, David B.H. Denoon, Bruce J. Dickson, June Teufel Dreyer, Michael Dutton, Elizabeth Economy, Barry Eichengreen, Edward Friedman, Dru C. Gladney, Paul H. B. Godwin, Merle Goldman, Richard Madsen, Barry Naughton, Lucian W. Pye, Tony Saich, David Shambaugh, Robert Sutter, Michael D. Swaine, and Tyrene White.

Published by: NYU Press

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: Is China’s Transformation Sustainable?

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pp. 1-14

China is the only large country in the world today where political leaders have systematically understated their economy’s growth rate. They do this because the scale and dynamism of China’s economy have already caused apprehension among neighbors and trading partners. In 2005, the understated numbers became too glaring to ignore; Beijing’s ...

Part I: Foreign Policy and National Security

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pp. 15-16

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1. The People’s Army: Serving Whose Interests?

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pp. 17-26

A curious dichotomy has emerged between how the outside world views the Chinese military and how the People’s Liberation Army is seen at home. Other countries have become concerned with the possibility of aggression by an increasingly militarily capable China as well as the effects of Beijing’s arms sales on the global balance of power. At the ...

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2. Uncertainty, Insecurity, and China’s Military Power

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pp. 27-38

When Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978, he inherited a defense establishment that was little more than a lumbering giant. In the 20 years following the Sino-Soviet split of 1959–1960 and Moscow’s termination of military assistance, China’s military power had eroded into obsolescence. The country’s defense industrial base was incapable of producing anything more than copies of Soviet designs from the ...

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3. Does China Have a Grand Strategy?

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pp. 39-50

Concern has arisen in the West and among many Asian nations over the implications of China’s steadily growing economic and military prowess.Much of this concern focuses on measuring and interpreting upward changes in the “objective” determinates of national power, such as the capabilities of China’s military and the size and rate of growth of ...

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4. Sino-American Relations since September 11: Can the New Stability Last?

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pp. 51-63

A year after the devastating terrorist attacks on the United States, Sino-American relations are their most stable since they began their decade-long deterioration and constant fluctuation following the events of June 1989. The prospects for continued stability are positive as long as neither nation infringes on the core security interests of the other. ...

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5. Asia in the Balance: America and China’s “Peaceful Rise”

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pp. 64-74

Backed by a dynamic economy and strengthened military power, China has developed an increasingly moderate and flexible approach to its Asian neighbors over the past decade. The result has been a remarkable expansion of influence in the region. Senior Chinese leaders have kept busy schedules, meeting with Asian counterparts from ...

Part II: Economic Policy and Social Issues

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pp. 75-76

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6. The Long March from Mao:China’s De-Communization

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pp. 77-84

Since 1989, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have collapsed one by one, leaving only China with an apparently flourishing Communist government. China’s Communists have not only managed to remain in power, but have even introduced rapid economic growth while maintaining relative social stability during the last few ...

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7. China’s North-South Split and the Forces of Disintegration

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pp. 85-95

In the 1970s, when the Soviet Union considered Communist China both a major adversary and a dangerous competitor, Victor Louis, understood to be a Soviet intelligence operative, published The Coming Decline of the Chinese Empire, a tract prophesying the disintegration of China as a result of “the national aspirations of the Manchu,Mongols, ...

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8. The Dangers of Economic Complacency

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pp. 96-105

In the past several years the Chinese economy has undergone dramatic growth and structural change. In 1995, for the fourth consecutive year, real gross domestic product grew more than 10 percent, and growth will remain near that mark this year as well. Sometime in 1997, China will reach an important statistical milestone when the proportion of the total ...

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9. Rumblings from the Uyghur

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pp. 106-113

Three years ago the first rumblings of discontent in northwestern China could be heard in the voices of ethnic and religious separatists in the bazaars of Kashgar and Turfan. Today bombs detonating throughout the region as well as in Beijing have begun to drown out these voices. On February 25, a bombing in the northwestern border city of Urumqi, ...

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10. Beijing’s Ambivalent Reformers

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pp. 114-126

China’s leaders have been exceedingly cautious about embarking on extensive political reforms, and not without good reason. There is no guarantee that reform efforts will succeed, or that China will be better or more easily governed as a consequence of reform. There is certainly no guarantee that the Chinese Communist Party will survive as the ...

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11. China’s New Exchange Rate Regime

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pp. 127-134

On July 21, 2005, China unexpectedly revalued its currency, the renminbi, raising its value by 2.1 percent against the US dollar. At the same time, it altered the fluctuation band that limits the daily movement of the exchange rate to 0.3 percent by redefining it in terms of a basket of foreign currencies rather than simply the dollar. And it announced that ...

Part III: Domestic Politics and Governance

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pp. 135-136

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12. Is Democracy Possible?

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pp. 137-154

Despite the June 4, 1989, crackdown on the Tiananmen demonstrators, China can no longer be described as a strictly authoritarian or totalitarian country. One political scientist, Kenneth Lieberthal, calls China’s government a “fragmented authoritarianism.”Another, Harry Harding, terms it “consultative authoritarianism.” There is no question that the reforms carried out from 1978 to 1989 by ...

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13. The Leader in the Shadows:A View of Deng Xiaoping

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pp. 147-161

Perhaps never in human history has an established society gone through such a total transformation—without a war, violent revolution, or economic collapse—as did China with the ending of Mao Zedong’s reign and the emergence of Deng Xiaoping as paramount ruler. The leitmotiv of Mao’s China was orthodoxy, conformity, and isolation; a ...

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14. Village Elections:Democracy from the Bottom Up?

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pp. 162-171

During President Bill Clinton’s state visit to China in late June, his itinerary included a trip to a village outside Beijing whose leaders were elected by popular vote. For both the Chinese and the Americans planning the president’s trip, the village stop was potentially very useful. China could use the visit to highlight its progress in promoting and ...

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15. An All-Consuming Nationalism

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pp. 172-181

When tens of thousands of students took to the Beijing streets this May to protest the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia, Western journalists expressed consternation. After years of waiting for the return of student protests and the reawakening of the democratic desires of ...

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16. Understanding Falun Gong

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pp. 182-191

The basic facts about the Falun Gong affair in China are generally known among the American reading public: On April 25, 1999, approximately 10,000 members of this movement staged a peaceful protest in front of the Chinese government’s leadership compound in Beijing. The government responded on July 22 by outlawing the movement, ...

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17. China’s New Leadership: The Challenges to the Politics of Muddling Through

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pp. 192-203

The sixteenth party congress that is to be held this fall should be remarkable in a number of ways. Most important, if Vice President Hu Jintao becomes the new general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, it will mark the first time that the leadership of the party has changed hands relatively peacefully. Leadership transition, always ...

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18. China’s Environmental Challenge

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pp. 204-216

In late July 2001, the fertile Huai River Valley—China’s breadbasket— was the site of an environmental disaster. Heavy rains flooded the river’s tributaries, flushing more than 38 billion gallons of highly polluted water into the Huai. Downstream, in Anhui province, the river water was thick with garbage, yellow foam, and dead fish. Although the authorities ...

Chronology of Recent Events

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pp. 217-242

About the Contributors

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pp. 243-245

E-ISBN-13: 9780814785416
E-ISBN-10: 0814785417
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814719992
Print-ISBN-10: 0814719996

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2007

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Subject Headings

  • China -- Politics and government -- 1976-2002.
  • China -- Politics and government -- 2002-.
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