China

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Review Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
John Osburg

Will Chinese economic development ultimately lead to political development? In his new book, Age of Ambition, the journalist Evan Osnos discovers what might be the missing link: the emergence in Chinese society of a search for dignity.

Snapshot,
Deborah M. Lehr and Leigh Wedell

In early June, Chinese president Xi Jinping deployed eight SWAT-like inspection teams across China to ensure that local officials were meeting his new environmental targets. The teams submitted a 1,000-page report with a simple conclusion: local leaders, looking out for their own financial interests, were consistently ignoring directives from Beijing.

Snapshot,
Sulmaan Khan

On the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau, one sometimes hears a strange chattering -- an excited buzz that seems to emanate from the earth itself. Anyone who stops to look for the source will quickly realize that the ground is marked by a series of holes, from which small, shy creatures are likely to be watching. The labyrinthine burrows made by these mammals, called pikas, provide them security. But they also ensure China's water supply. Here's what their plight says about Chinese conservation efforts.

Snapshot,
Andrew Erickson and Austin Strange

Ongoing international disputes over territory in the South China Sea have led many to invoke an old adage: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.” Beijing is using all these approaches simultaneously, but with an ambitious twist -- as it tells other claimants to pound sand, China is pouring it -- literally expanding the territory under its control.

Snapshot,
Jennifer Lind

To protect its core interests in Asia, the United States should start being honest about the things it doesn't care about. That includes China's harassment of Philippine ships and its decision to fly aircraft over disputed islands.

Essay, JUL/AUG 2014
James B. Steinberg and Michael O'Hanlon

The geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States in Asia is heating up. As it does so, both Washington and Beijing need to avoid increasing tensions further than necessary -- which means taking care to dispel false fears and make threats credible.

Snapshot,
John Osburg

China's communist reformers once sought to separate money and status from romance and marriage. But in recent years, the country's wave of new wealth has returned material considerations to the forefront of relations between the sexes. 

Snapshot,
Scott M. Moore

China’s environmental crisis, severe as it is, won’t bring down the communist regime -- its leaders are too clever to let that happen. Instead, they have carefully co-opted China’s growing environmental movement as their own, expanding their own power in the process.

Essay, JUL/AUG 2014
Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, and Michael Spence

Machines are substituting for more types of human labor than ever before. This means that the real winners of the future will be neither the providers of cheap labor nor the owners of ordinary capital, but rather those who can innovate and create new products, services, and business models.

Snapshot,
Andrew J. Nathan

With each new generation of leaders since Tiananmen, outside observers and many Chinese have hoped for a period of liberalizing political reform. Instead, each successive head of state -- Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and now Xi Jinping -- has restricted freedom further. China will likely eventually democratize. But with every passing year, doing so gets more dangerous for the regime because the bottled-up social pressure has only increased. And so democratization is postponed again and again.

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