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Table of contents

We could say categorically that there is less equality in China today than there is in the U. The water table in north China is dropping precipitously. There is air and water pollution everywhere, lack of drinking water. Every week one reads horror stories in the newspapers of tainted food, water, and medicine.

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We read mostly about the ones that affect us, but the Chinese people are the ones who are suffering the most from these problems. We have all heard concerns about the air quality problem with the Olympics approaching, and the justifiable fear many athletes have of what they will encounter there. There is also a demographic problem in China, an aging population. The problem has grown so great that the Chinese government is now reconsidering its one-child policy and thinking about permitting families to have more than one child.

The one-child policy has led to many female fetuses being aborted and infanticide, so in parts of north China, Korean wives are being brought in, and North Korean women are funded to come across and be used for procreation purposes. China is also facing rising labor costs. Foreign-owned factories are beginning to move out of China, particularly out of the Pearl River Delta area where things have gotten so expensive. Some at Harvard think that the government will collapse before mid-century.


The U. The CIA is collecting scenarios on how China might collapse and what will happen if it does. I would say the odds are that the government will prevail, but with declining legitimacy, because of the corruption it seems powerless to stop and the inequality about which it seems uninterested in doing anything.

The government will continue to have the dominant role in the economy. Powerful vested interests in the government are in control of the state-owned enterprises and not eager to relinquish the power and money that gives them. The critics tend to be powerless. Journalists who try to deal with these stories do not fare well. The Chinese government of course has a monopoly on force, and it has demonstrated its willingness to use that force as necessary to deal with protests and protestors. Thus far, the government has done a good job of controlling the flow of information.

Some information gets through, some people find out about things, they try to get it around, but there are a large number of people working on controlling the internet and doing a good job of it. In the cities, especially the coast cities, there is a very nice trade-off. The regime offers national pride to all, and it also offers material benefits and social freedom beyond comprehension 15 or 20 years ago. My Chinese friends used to meet me in the late s and early s on bicycles; they now all have their own cars.

They are stuck in traffic, but they all have their own cars. They lived in tenements, apartments on campuses and the institutes they were attached to, now they have private homes. A couple of them even have villas. In exchange, of course, they have to accept the continued rule of the CCP. That is the deal. So we should not hold our breath waiting for the middle class to demand a greater voice in government. There are things the middle class wants, and they are getting pushier, but challenging the CCP is not likely. Of course, if you had asked me 20 years ago whether the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, I would have laughed, so things can change rapidly.

It is very likely to close the gap some, but it likely will remain far behind in naval and air power. Nonetheless, the enormous buildup of Chinese submarine forces is worrisome. This constitutes a potential threat to American interests in the Pacific. I was just at a meeting with analysts from a pair of Shanghai think tanks, one of whom contended that the naval modernization the PRC was carrying out was necessary to enable the Chinese navy to cooperate with the U.


I find that contention hollow; the naval buildup is clearly targeted at the U. In the mid s, Chinese leaders, especially Jiang Zemin, concluded that stable relations with the U. They concluded that they needed the American market and U. So they would keep up good relations with the Americans. They also needed some sort of understanding, modus vivendi, on Taiwan, to keep that situation from getting out of hand.

That strategy looked very good for a very short period of time. Then it was sorely tested in Spring From about until then, they had been going along quite content and pleased with how their policy was working. But in Spring , first, President Clinton mishandled Chinese efforts to enter the WTO, and this played into the hands of those Chinese who were arguing for a less accommodating approach to the U. Then the U. The Chinese perceived this as a precedent for U.

So this was not something the Chinese were pleased about. In fact, some of my Chinese students from the mids who went on to become government officials believe it was staged by the CIA in order to increase its budget, claiming the need to hire someone who could read maps.

From Spring on in there was a very intense and to some extent public debate within China over its foreign policy. The argument was made that Jiang was wrong, that forces hostile to China had gained control of American policy. This was argued back and forth for some considerable time.

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In the end, Jiang prevailed. When the next crisis occurred, his policy survived again. This was when tensions were renewed in April , when a U. The Chinese pilot was killed, the American plane landed on Hainan Island. President Bush made the mistake of trying to bully the Chinese into releasing the plane immediately, and the Chinese did not take kindly to that.

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It was striking the way he had moved toward the U. Nonetheless, Jiang decided to play along with the U. The crisis was quickly defused and relations improved rapidly. The Chinese were happy to join the war on terror, particularly when the Americans were going to include Uighurs in Xinjiang among the terrorists to which it was opposed. But one of the prices we pay for Chinese support in our war on terror was to accept the Chinese definition of what constituted a terrorist, at least in their territory. The long and short of this is that any number of American and Chinese analysts will tell you that current U.

They seem to be beginning to comprehend the responsibilities that go with great power.

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    • There are some indications that China is willing these days to abide by international norms. The critical point for them is that they want to be convinced that these are really international norms and not American ideas of how Chinese should behave so that they can serve American interests.

      In recent years the Chinese have been responsive to American pressures on nonproliferation issues, for example. Most obviously we have seen this with North Korea, but apparently with Iran as well, although there is no question that the Chinese will balance their concerns about nonproliferation or proliferation in this case with their strong interests in working with Iran.

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      Therefore they are not going to push as hard as we would happily do. But the other side of that is that their responsiveness to American pressure is decreasing as Chinese leaders perceive the U. Why should they listen to the U. The Chinese are absolutely delighted by Pew polls that indicate that most of the world views China more favorably than it views the U. Nonetheless, the emphasis within China continues to be on peaceful internal development.

      So again, war between the U. They were willing and able to cope with the middle class by making a few compromises and following certain legal procedures in exchange for continuing political support. These practical comprises characterized a new political culture in PRC history since The book voices the complaints and resentments in the cities, and interprets government policies and legal practices.

      It emphasizes the consequence for governance, human rights, and commercial rule of law, all of which threatens the legitimacy of the CCP. It also suggests an important evolution of the CCP. The leaders in the s focused on liberal economic reform while discouraging and even stifling political reform.

      As a result, economic interest groups successfully established an alliance with CCP officials to control economic policy-making and to share political governance. In the s, Chinese leaders have paid special attention to political scandals, corruption, and mismanagement in the government and in the Party. Lexington Books. The authors of this fascinating volume deftly explore the intersecting issues of moral corruption, bureaucratic corruption, and no-holds-barred political struggle across Chinese history and even in the final chapter in the arena of American politics.