China's future will be determined by how its leaders manage its myriad interconnected challenges. In Fateful Decisions, leading experts from a wide range of disciplines eschew broad predictions of success or failure in favor of close analyses of today's most critical demographic, economic, social, political, and foreign policy challenges. They expertly outline the options and opportunity costs entailed, providing a cutting-edge analytic framework for understanding the decisions that will determine China's trajectory.
Xi Jinping has articulated ambitious goals, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and massive urbanization projects, but few priorities or policies to achieve them. These goals have thrown into relief the crises facing China as the economy slows and the population ages while the demand for and costs of education, healthcare, elder care, and other social benefits are increasing. Global ambitions and a more assertive military also compete for funding and policy priority. These challenges are compounded by the size of China's population, outdated institutions, and the reluctance of powerful elites to make reforms that might threaten their positions, prerogatives, and Communist Party legitimacy. In this volume, individual chapters provide in-depth analyses of key policies relating to these challenges. Contributors illuminate what is at stake, possible choices, and subsequent outcomes. This volume equips readers with everything they need to understand these complex developments in context.
About the authors
Thomas Fingar is a Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics and a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
"China, the keystone of our global arch, now finds itself at a critical inflection point and how it evolves will determine not only its future, but that of the larger global commons. Fateful Decisions masterfully helps limn the daunting choices the leaders in Beijing now confront and what is at stake in their decision-making."
—Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society
"No challenge today equals that of understanding China's future. A sterling team has sagely put together a powerful guide to the future of China, where the economy's weaknesses and strengths will continue to shape outcomes in politics, foreign policy, society, and security, and where the emerging economic and related downsides facing 21st-century China will more likely dominate its future than its amazing performances of the last five decades. A must-read!"
—Thomas R. Pickering, former US Under Secretary of State
"This is an important book at the right time. As the United States shifts its policy toward the Chinese Communist Party from engagement to competition, the perspectives of the contributors will help inform decisions of those not only in government, but also in business and academia. Fateful Decisions provides invaluable context vital to understanding the present and anticipating the future. It deserves a wide readership."
—H.R. McMaster, author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World
"These essays are uniformly thoughtful and filled with interesting data and generalizations. Whether a reader is interested in the specific trends and challenges discussed in one of the chapters, or in the 'big picture' question of what China's prospects for the future are, there is much here that is worth considering."
—Martin King White, The Developing Economies
[Fateful Decisions] offers a penetrating and balanced analysis of China's choices and dilemmas. The book not only provides insights for policymakers and business leaders, but it could also serve as a comprehensive introduction in graduate or undergraduate courses. [Fateful Decisions] will remain essential reading for current and future China watchers.
-Xiaoyu Pu, Journal of Chinese Political Science