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The cliché that China has experienced economic reform but not political reform since the beginning of the Deng Xiaoping era obscures some important truths: China’s leaders have become weaker, its society has fractured, and its people have grown more empowered.
Accurately assessing the rise of China is a critical task. Yet U.S. policymakers often overestimate China's military might. And if they continue to view China's power in substantially coercive terms when it is actually growing most rapidly in the economic and intellectual domains, they will be playing the wrong game, on the wrong Þeld, with the wrong team.
An economic bnoom is underway in China, and the United States is in danger of isolating itself from the benefits. A forward-looking policy would not only offer tremendous opportunity for American investment,trade and jobs, but it could also be a force for political moderation in Beijing.