Read: October 2020

Inspiration: Why are people so fixated on, and concerned by, developments in China?


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“China’s Future”, published in 2016 by author and professor Jason Stanley, examines consequential questions related to China’s position in global affairs at a critical juncture in China’s development. Will China be successful in implementing a new wave of transformational reforms that could last decades and make it the world’s leading superpower? Or will its leaders shy away from the drastic changes required because the regime’s power is at risk? If so, will that lead to prolonged stagnation or even regime collapse? Might China move down a more liberal or even democratic path? Or will China instead emerge as a hard, authoritarian and aggressive superstate?

Shambaugh argues that these potential pathways are all possibilities – but they depend on key decisions yet to be made by China’s leaders, different pressures from within Chinese society, as well as actions taken by other nations. Assessing these scenarios and their implications, he offers a thoughtful and clear study of China’s future for all those seeking to understand the country’s likely trajectory over the coming decade and beyond. (source)

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

China choose b/w neo-totalitarianism, hard authoritarian (currently but stagnating and need change), soft authoritarian, or semi democracy, first critical time 07-09 when defer econ decision in favor of political/social changes (growth slow alongside fiscal loosening and political tightening), Third Plenum 2013 Xi Jinping assume power and outline new path, sustainable economic growth requires inclusive political reforms to spur innovation and open up to world, Third Plenum reforms stalling b/c of politics and vagueness, old drivers: domestic fixed asset investing (infrastructure) and low end consumer exports, new drivers: domestic consumer spending and innovation/services, Middle Income Trap comes when low wage runs its course and need to upgrade to higher productivity jobs/services, china needs to tighten shadow banking controls while also lessening influence of big 4 banks, want to be innovation society and knowledge economy not assembly/processing, china suffering from rising expectations in face of slowing growth (and growing middle class), separate identities in peripheral Xinjiang, HK, taiwan, tibet all present threat to resist Beijing, hukou system left over from Mao—rural to urban migrants need registration papers for schools and other services in that city, 46 of 200 largest cities by 2025 be in China (part of urbanization plan), aging population will slow growth which hurts support for gvt and will require reform, twin fears in china of internal opposition and external subversion, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao liberalize/reform china 1998-08 (“managed reform”, still in control but use proactive change to avoid stagnation of USSR), Zeng Qinghong mastermind behind reform decade and dynamic approach, Xi’s anticorruption campaign target manifestations not systemic causes (like lack of transparency, political competition, free media), regime slowly corrode from inside (repression not sustainable, already see loyalist just going through motions and not true support), china close to US economically (although not per capita) but far behind on military presence globally and have internal/border conflicts to worry about, “one belt one road” build infra and facilitate commercial connectivity from NW china across Eurasia and from SE china to Africa and east Mediterr. (counter western order), as largest oil/energy importer fear in Africa of colonizing as china move in quickly for business

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