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China’s Futures: PRC Elites Debate Economics, Politics, and Foreign Policy, Daniel C. Lynch

Reviewed by Andrew Scobell



Pontificating about the future of China has long been the subject of speculation around the world, with one of the most colorful remarks being attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte some 200 years ago. “China,” he reportedly observed, “is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.” Not surprisingly, the country’s future is also a matter of intense interest in China itself. In China’s Futures, author Daniel C. Lynch focuses on debates within contemporary China about the country’s future. This volume is a useful complement to David M. Lampton’s Following the Leader: Ruling China from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping (reviewed in the Spring 2015 issue of this journal). While the latter book is primarily based on decades of interviews with senior Chinese leaders, China’s Futures mines the selected writings of Chinese scholars, most of which were published between 2006 and 2013. Lynch emphasizes that he focuses on “only writings that appeared genuinely to contribute to the debates” (p. xiii). After one chapter discussing the perils of social science forecasting, subsequent chapters focus on five distinct areas of academic discourse: China’s economic and demographic projections, China’s political future, China’s information technology trajectory

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