Soothing China – Lloyd Macauley Richardson

In Hoover Institution’s Policy Review, Lloyd Richardson, a Washington lawyer and former U.S. foreign service officer, reviews The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression by James Mann:

… In this new book, Mann examines China’s prospects for a democratic future and finds them dismal. More important, he asks why nobody in the United States seems to care.

Mann identifies two scenarios that commentators tend to raise when speculating about China’s future. For the occasional right-winger who would genuinely like to see China’s communist system fail, there is the “Upheaval Scenario.” Proponents foresee an apocalyptic meltdown coming any day now. China’s system is inherently unstable, say these doomsday advocates. Growth is limited to the urban economy and is unsustainable. Anyway, no amount of growth can satisfy the demands of the rural Chinese masses as they seek their fair share of China’s new-found prosperity. Rather than a smooth transition to a democratic utopia, China will sink into the abyss of social disorder and/or regional disintegration. For those of us looking for any crack in the Chinese communist trade juggernaut, this outcome is not displeasing ” though we all recognize that it would wreak havoc on the Chinese people, who have probably suffered enough over the past 80 years. Those of us who can honestly foresee this as a possible outcome for China are in the overwhelming minority. [Full Text]

See also China ” The 2025 Scenario by Ambassador Chas. W. Freeman, Jr., co-chairman of the U.S.-China Policy Foundation:

If China can continue its progress toward a reasonably well-off society, it is not far-fetched to consider the possibilities that, by 2025:

1.The Chinese yuan may have long since joined the dollar and euro as one of the principal currencies in world trade and reserves and helped to bring into being a new and more flexible global financial system in a world more secure in its prosperity.

2. Private investors in the West may be as heavily invested in the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges as in New York or London ” and private Chinese investment may play a significant, sometimes dominant, role in global markets, including the United States’.

3. Thanks to continued economic growth and the appreciation of its currency, China may have the largest economy on the planet, while Americans continue, by a considerable margin, to have its most formidable military. [Full Text]

June 15, 2007, 5:20 AM
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