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Dædalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Examines “Growing Pains in a Rising China”

Spring 2014 issue of Dædalus available April 4, 2014


Press Release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (April 4, 2014) – What challenges confront twenty-first-century China, and how might their resolution influence the country’s (and indeed the world’s) trajectory? The Spring 2014 issue of Dædalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, considers China’s problems as the growing pains of a still developing country, not necessarily as the death pangs of a Communist state doomed to imminent extinction. Through exploration of the complex domestic issues facing contemporary China, the contributors to the issue form a nuanced vision of the rapidly changing country, drawing global lessons from both its failures and accomplishments.

The issue is guest edited by American Academy Fellow Elizabeth J. Perry, the Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. In her introduction, Perry notes that through three decades of “reform and opening,” China has transformed from one of the globe’s most impoverished countries to owner of the world’s second largest economy. But China now faces the consequences of this growth and the policies that spurred it, including environmental devastation, health and income inequality, a declining workforce, and widespread grassroots protest that bespeaks the tension between an authoritarian state and its market economy.

Perry argues that while China is in many ways unique, scholars and policy-makers can benefit from comparisons between China and the developmental states of East Asia, late developers like India and Brazil, and economic powerhouses, including the United States. As Perry writes, “We would be foolhardy to disregard or discount China’s efforts to resolve global problems simply because we predict that its political system is some day destined to disappear.”

Among the issue’s fifteen essays, Guobin Yang (University of Pennsylvania) examines how Internet activism continues to grow and adapt to the changing forms of state control. Robert P. Weller (Boston University) explores the remarkable growth of religious practice in China and outlines the political challenges of increasing religious diversity. And William C. Kirby (Harvard University) considers China’s potential for leadership in global higher education, asking, “Can ‘world class’ universities–however they are defined–exist in a politically illiberal system?”

Print and Kindle copies of the new issue can be ordered at:

Essays in the Spring 2014 issue of Dædalus include:
  • Growing Pains: Challenges for a Rising China by Elizabeth J. Perry (Harvard University)
  • China’s Economy: Complacency, Crisis & the Challenge of Reform by Barry Naughton (University of California, San Diego)
  • Demographic Challenges for a Rising China by Deborah S. Davis (Yale University)
  • Soaring Income Gaps: China in Comparative Perspective by Martin King Whyte (Harvard University)
  • Correcting Past Health Policy Mistakes by William C. Hsiao (Harvard University)
  • State Schemes or Safety Nets? China’s Push for Universal Coverage by Mark W. Frazier (The New School)
  • China’s Workers Movement & the End of the Rapid-Growth Era by Mary E. Gallagher (University of Michigan)
  • Legal Reform: China’s Law-Stability Paradox by Benjamin L. Liebman (Columbia Law School)
  • Internet Activism & the Party-State in China by Guobin Yang (University of Pennsylvania)
  • State & Social Protest by Ching Kwan Lee (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • The Politics of Increasing Religious Diversity in China by Robert P. Weller (Boston University)
  • The Chinese Century? The Challenges of Higher Education by William C. Kirby (Harvard University)
  • China & Globalization by Jeffrey Wasserstrom (University of California, Irvine)
  • Local Governance in China: Incentives & Tensions by Joseph Fewsmith (Boston University) & Xiang Gao (Zhejiang University)
  • Environmental Governance in China: State Control to Crisis Management by Elizabeth Economy (Council on Foreign Relations)


Since its founding in 1780, the American Academy has served the nation as a champion of scholarship, civil dialogue, and useful knowledge. As one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, the Academy convenes leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to address critical challenges facing our global society.

Through studies, publications, and programs on the Humanities, Arts, and Education; Science, Engineering, and Technology; Global Security and Energy; and American Institutions and the Public Good, the Academy provides authoritative and nonpartisan policy advice to decision-makers in government, academia, and the private sector.


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