China's Challenges

China's Challenges

Jacques deLisle
Avery Goldstein
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 384
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    China's Challenges
    Book Description:

    When the "fifth generation" of Communist Party leaders in China assumed top political positions in 2012-2013, they took the helm of a country that has achieved remarkable economic growth, political stability, and international influence. Yet China today confronts challenges at least as daunting as any it has faced since the reform era began in the late 1970s. In November 2013, the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee announced ambitious reforms to address vital issues, such as giving market forces a "decisive role" in the economy, strengthening the social safety net, assigning greater weight to factors other than economic growth and social order in evaluating local officials, promoting urbanization, and relaxing the "one child" policy.

    China's Challengesbrings together fourteen experts on China's social, economic, political, legal, and foreign affairs to examine some of the nation's pivotal policy issues. Their wide-ranging analyses cover economic and social inequality, internal migration and population control, imperatives to "rebalance" China's economy toward domestic demand and consumption, problems of official corruption, tensions between legal reform and social order, and the strained relationships with neighboring countries and the United States that stem from China's rising power, military modernization, enduring territorial disputes, and rising nationalism in domestic politics.

    This timely volume offers a broad and comprehensive look at the issues facing China today and lays the groundwork for understanding the shifts to come. How-and how well-China handles these challenges not only will define China's trajectory for years to come, but will have repercussions far beyond China's borders.

    Contributors: Yong Cai, Jacques deLisle, Jane Duckett, Andrew Erickson, M. Taylor Fravel, Avery Goldstein, Yasheng Huang, Zai Liang, Benjamin Liebman, Melanie Manion, Barry Naughton, Daniela Stockmann, Robert Sutter, Guohui Wang.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9045-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. CHAPTER 1 China’s Challenges: Reform Era Legacies and the Road Ahead
    (pp. 1-24)
    Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein

    During 2012 and 2013, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and other members of the “fifth-generation” cohort assumed the top political positions in China. They became leaders of a country that has achieved remarkable economic growth, political stability, and international influence over the past three decades and a regime that has, during those years, also weathered repeated crises and endured chronic problems. Under Xi, Li, and their colleagues, China now confronts a wide variety of challenges that are at least as daunting as—and perhaps more consequential for the future of the regime than—any it has faced since the reform era...

  4. CHAPTER 2 Poverty and Inequality
    (pp. 25-41)
    Jane Duckett and Guohui Wang

    China has made impressive progress in reducing poverty over the last three decades. According to the most recent World Bank data, the percentage of the Chinese population living on less than $1.25 a day had fallen from 60 percent in 1990 to 13 percent in 2008, and China accounted for 510 million out of the 600 million people lifted out of poverty across the world over that eighteen-year period. This impressive record, however, still leaves over 170 million Chinese people in severe poverty, and a total of nearly 400 million (30 percent) living on less than $2 a day. Altogether...

  5. CHAPTER 3 Migration, Hukou, and the Prospects of an Integrated Chinese Society
    (pp. 42-59)
    Zai Liang

    It is oft en said that “demography is destiny.” For the past three de cades in China, the migrant population (also known as the “floating” population), has supplied much needed inexpensive labor for China’s economic growth.¹ The migrant population has also been capturing recent mass media headlines. From the heart-breaking reports of serial suicides in Foxconn factories to unpaid wages for migrant workers, from the shortage of migrant labor to the massive return migration during the Global Financial Crisis and the Chinese New Year, migration stories are everywhere.¹ Some of these migration stories have triggered violence, as manifested in riots...

  6. CHAPTER 4 China’s Demographic Challenges: Gender Imbalance
    (pp. 60-82)
    Yong Cai

    Gender imbalance in China’s population has been a major concern for the past three decades. Under normal circumstances, the sex ratio at birth (SRB) is determined mostly by biological factors, and is generally bounded in a small range of 103 to 106 boys for every 100 girls.¹ SRB in China has been rising steadily over the last thirty years. According to China’s most recent census, the ratio reached 118.1 in 2010. This high SRB, in combination with unfavorable mortality rates for female infants and children, has created an enormous gender imbalance in China, on the order of 20 to 30...

  7. CHAPTER 5 Policy Model and Inequality: Some Potential Connections
    (pp. 83-104)
    Yasheng Huang

    According to a report in Caijing , the all-China Gini coefficient was 0.474 for 2012.¹ This was based on the estimates provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). For four years in a row, according to NBS, the all-China Gini declined from a peak of 0.491 in 2008. In the accompanying report, the NBS attributed this decline of the Gini to the effectiveness of the government’s social and income support programs.

    That China has a high level of income in equality is an established fact. The debates are about three issues. First, just how high is China’s income inequality?...

  8. CHAPTER 6 Economic Rebalancing
    (pp. 105-124)
    Barry Naughton

    There is broad agreement that China’s economy is unbalanced, and many worry that these imbalances may mean that China’s growth is unsustainable. It follows that “rebalancing” is desirable, and maybe even essential. But what exactly is “rebalancing”? The truth is that since there is no commonly accepted defi nition of a “balanced economy,” there is also no precise definition of “rebalancing.” Moreover, “unbalanced growth” is not necessarily a bad thing: any dynamic economy will experience periods of unbalanced development as it pushes to a higher level. In this chapter, I argue that the basic idea of rebalancing can be clarified,...

  9. CHAPTER 7 The Challenge of Corruption
    (pp. 125-138)
    Melanie Manion

    Scholars who study corruption in China generally agree that it is now far more extensive than in the Maoist era, that its characteristics have evolved over the past three de cades of reform, and that it is a serious problem both politically and economically, notwithstanding China’s spectacular growth record. Chinese scholars and top Chinese leaders also broadly air these views. There is no consensus, however, as to whether corruption in China is intensifying or whether the regime’s anticorruption reform effort has been at all successful (or even sincere). Similarly, there is no consensus as to whether corruption in China can...

  10. CHAPTER 8 Responsive Authoritarianism in Chinese Media
    (pp. 139-156)
    Daniela Stockmann

    In most liberal democracies, commercialized and new media have been taken for granted, but in China and most other authoritarian states, the introduction of advertising and new media has represented a radical break from the past. Within the past thirty years, the Chinese state has undergone media reform that involves two key processes: the introduction of market forces in state media and the adoption of new communication technologies such as the Internet.

    In introducing such reforms, China follows a general global trend toward media reform that has not been confined to democracies. Th is is significant because regime type and...

  11. CHAPTER 9 China’s Law and Stability Paradox
    (pp. 157-177)
    Benjamin L. Liebman

    Do robust legal institutions support or subvert efforts to maintain social stability in an authoritarian state? Over the past decade this question has become central to discussions concerning legal reform in China. In the 1980s and 1990s, China devoted extensive resources to constructing a legal system. In contrast, in the 2000s, the party-state’s focus shifted toward emphasizing resolution of disputes outside the formal legal system, negotiated outcomes in the formal legal system, and flexible application of rules and procedures. Substantive legal reforms have continued in many important areas. Nevertheless, the Chinese party-state has relied heavily on institutions outside the formal...

  12. CHAPTER 10 China’s Military Modernization: Many Improvements, Three Challenges, and One Opportunity
    (pp. 178-203)
    Andrew S. Erickson

    China has exploited key technological and military operational trends to address its core security interests relatively efficiently, and with increasing effectiveness, to the potential detriment of the interests of its neighbors and the United States. Yet, despite this remarkable advancement, it confronts three mounting challenges moving forward, as well as one major opportunity.

    1) While China’s land borders with all nations save India and Bhutan are settled, its major island and maritime claims in the “Near Seas” (Yellow, East, and South China Seas) remain unresolved.

    2) Further increasing military capabilities to address conflicting claims is efficient technologically but may trigger...

  13. CHAPTER 11 Things Fall Apart: Maritime Disputes and China’s Regional Diplomacy
    (pp. 204-226)
    M. Taylor Fravel

    China is a geo graphically challenged state, with numerous neighbors on land and at sea. As Samuel Kim once noted, China is a “G-1,” a country without real or natural allies.¹ Although it has security relationships with Pakistan and North Korea, these countries, on balance, are liabilities and do little to enhance China’s security. As a result, China’s relationships with neighboring states, especially those adjacent to its land and sea borders, have played a central role in China’s foreign policy during the Mao era and after. When relations with these states have been poor, China has been more prone to...

  14. CHAPTER 12 China’s Challenges: Volatility in China–U.S. Relations
    (pp. 227-250)
    Robert Sutter

    The Sino-American relationship continues to twist and turn. Since the beginning of this decade, developments have seriously challenged the pattern of pragmatic U.S.-Chinese engagement that prevailed for much of the previous decade. Most importantly, Sino-American relations have become more competitive and tense in the Asia-Pacific, along the rim of China, long the primary focus of PRC foreign relations.

    The Barack Obama government in its first term stressed a new “pivot” to Asia, focusing particularly on military initiatives as a means to compete more effectively with China for regional influence. In his second term President Obama has taken steps to modify...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 251-302)
    (pp. 303-308)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 309-318)
    (pp. 319-319)