Political change is happening all the time in China, though the government is not leading the charge. Rather, the Chinese people are advancing political change through advocacy by nongovernmental organizations, communication via the Internet, and political protest.
Both are accurate. China certainly "has risen" to become a global economic power: in only three decades, it has transformed itself into the world's second largest economy, largest exporter, and largest provider of loans to the developing world. At the same time, China is rising: its economic and political system, as well as its foreign policy, is still developing. To state categorically that China "has risen" is to accept that the China of today will be substantially the same as the China of five to ten years from now, and few people in or outside China would accept such a conclusion.
Elizabeth C. Economy says, "If the United States and China can begin the process by taking a step back to establish a new narrative for the relationship that minimizes competition, sets aside intractable issues, and keeps global and regional issues where they belong—in a multilateral framework—there will be the potential for the two countries, like the frog in the well, to take two steps forward for every one step back."
Elizabeth C. Economy says corruption and the failure to develop rule of law in China now define much of the country's political and economic life. With Xi Jinping poised to take over, the focus should be on significant political reform.
Elizabeth C. Economy says the world waits for stability in China's transition, but recent events in China like the two-week absence of Xi Jinping and Bo Xilai's expulsion from the CCP underscore the deep uncertainty that defines China's political system.
Politician Bo Xilai's sudden fall from grace unmasks long-discussed corruption within the political ranks and undermines a smooth leadership transition for the Communist Party, says CFR's Elizabeth Economy.
The U.S. move to launch a case against China at the WTO over its cap on exporting rare earth metals is the latest international effort to hold China accountable to international trade standards, explains CFR's Elizabeth Economy.
China's search for food and land in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, reflects the country's pressing scarcity of water. China's approach has set off alarm bells in the region and the United States should work actively to address China's water security needs, argues Elizabeth Economy before the House U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.