21 November 2014

UPENN China Scholars Jacques deLisle & Avery Goldstein Publish Interdisciplinary Edited Volume on “China’s Challenges”

Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein, eds., China’s Challenges (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).

When the “fifth generation” of Communist Party leaders in China assumed top political positions in 2012-2013, they took the helm of a country that has achieved remarkable economic growth, political stability, and international influence. Yet China today confronts challenges at least as daunting as any it has faced since the reform era began in the late 1970s. In November 2013, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee announced ambitious reforms to address vital issues, such as giving market forces a “decisive role” in the economy, strengthening the social safety net, assigning greater weight to factors other than economic growth and social order in evaluating local officials, promoting urbanization, and relaxing the “one child” policy.

China’s Challenges brings together fourteen experts on China’s social, economic, political, legal, and foreign affairs to examine some of the nation’s pivotal policy issues. Their wide-ranging analyses cover economic and social inequality, internal migration and population control, imperatives to “rebalance” China’s economy toward domestic demand and consumption, problems of official corruption, tensions between legal reform and social order, and the strained relationships with neighboring countries and the United States that stem from China’s rising power, military modernization, enduring territorial disputes, and rising nationalism in domestic politics.

This timely volume offers a broad and comprehensive look at the issues facing China today and lays the groundwork for understanding the shifts to come. How—and how well—China handles these challenges will not only define China’s trajectory for years to come, but will have repercussions far beyond China’s borders.

Contributors: Yong Cai, Jacques deLisle, Jane Duckett, Andrew Erickson, M. Taylor Fravel, Avery Goldstein, Yasheng Huang, Zai Liang, Benjamin Liebman, Melanie Manion, Barry Naughton, Daniela Stockmann, Robert Sutter, Guohui Wang.


“An excellent collection of essays with a rare combination of sophisticated analysis and extensive empirical detail. China’s Challenges is ideal for those who closely follow current debates about the future trajectories of the Chinese economy and polity.”

—Deborah Davis, Yale University

“Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang took over as China’s top leaders-the so-called “fifth generation”—in 2012 and 2013 at a time when China faced enormous economic political, social, and international challenges. The complexity of these challenges are laid out, skillfully and readably, by the specialists Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein have assembled here. This volume is a real tour d’horizon that will be welcomed by all students of China, whether at the undergraduate level or senior specialists. Highly recommended.”

—Joseph Fewsmith, Boston University

About the Authors

Jacques deLisle is Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, and Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He is coeditor of China Under Hu Jintao and Political Changes in Taiwan Under Ma Ying-jeou.

Avery Goldstein is David M. Knott Professor of Global Politics and International Relations, Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and Associate Director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is author of Rising to the Challenge: China’s Grand Strategy and International Security and coeditor of The Nexus of Economics, Security, and International Relations in East Asia.