China’s Changing Shape

Courtesy Reuters


At the very moment when China seems poised to regain its former power, doubts are growing about precisely what China is. China’s economy appears set to become the world’s largest, by some measures as early as 2002. Beijing has spurred this economic growth by abandoning Marxism and allowing China’s various regions remarkable independence. The risks of such a strategy raise enormous questions about China’s future. As the last of the communist old guard acquiesces in the move from Mao and Marx to market economics, China may be changing not only face but also shape.

This basic question over China’s future revolves around the degree to which Beijing’s authority will give way to the centrifugal pull of China’s increasingly dynamic periphery. The death of old ideologies has left Chinese nationalism as the obvious, if uncertain, organizing principle for Beijing’s domestic

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