Spring 2014 Bulletin

Dædalus Examines “Growing Pains in a Rising China”

Spring 2014 Dædalus
“Growing Pains in a Rising China”

Elizabeth J. Perry (Harvard University), Growing Pains: Challenges for a Rising China

Barry Naughton (University of California, San Diego), China’s Economy: Complacency, Crisis & the Challenge of Reform

Deborah S. Davis (Yale University), Demographic Challenges for a Rising China

Martin King Whyte (Harvard University), Soaring Income Gaps: China in Comparative Perspective

William C. Hsiao (Harvard University), Correcting Past Health Policy Mistakes

Mark W. Frazier (The New School), State Schemes or Safety Nets? China’s Push for Universal Coverage

Mary E. Gallagher (University of Michigan), China’s Workers Movement & the End of the Rapid-Growth Era

Benjamin L. Liebman (Columbia Law School), Legal Reform: China’s Law-Stability Paradox

Guobin Yang (University of Pennsylvania), Internet Activism & the Party-State in China

Ching Kwan Lee (University of California, Los Angeles), State & Social Protest

Robert P. Weller (Boston University), The Politics of Increasing Religious Diversity in China

William C. Kirby (Harvard University), The Chinese Century? The Challenges of Higher Education

Jeffrey Wasserstrom (University of California, Irvine), China & Globalization

Joseph Fewsmith (Boston University) & Xiang Gao (Zhejiang University), Local Governance in China: Incentives & Tensions

Elizabeth Economy (Council on Foreign Relations), Environmental Governance in China: State Control to Crisis Management

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 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 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?”

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