China has achieved phenomenal economic growth in the last 30 years. Robert Fogel, Nobel Laureate in Economics, predicts that the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion and per capita income will hit $85,000 by 2040, ranking it among the super-rich nations in the world. This economic transformation has been accompanied by political reforms and major societal changes. In order for China to emerge as a global powerhouse, political reforms will have to continue to deal with new challenges associated with social stability, international relations and environmental issues.
China aspires to develop a unique political hierarchy and humanistic democracy which is based on its cultural heritage. This is quite different from the democratic systems commonly found in the West. The Chinese “development model” is not fixed. “Crossing a river by feeling the stones underfoot”- the mantra advocated by Deng Xiaoping will likely remain the guiding principle for pragmatic action and swift adaptation.
Looking ahead to the next 30 years, seventeen essays contributed by nineteen leading Chinese and Western scholars trace the steps of China’s recent accomplishments and offer their views on how China can continue its economic and societal development and emerge as a positive world contributor.