The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China was the most serious test of China's new leadership's ability to deal with crisis. Although the Chinese government has effectively contained the epidemic for now, there is much uncertainty about the effects of this crisis on China's political stability and economic performance.

Laurie Garrett is medical and science writer for Newsday and the author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance and Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. Winner of the Peabody, Polk, and Pulitzer prizes, Ms. Garrett provided an on-the-ground perspective based on her six weeks coverage of SARS in China in April and May.

Robert A. Kapp, the president of the US-China Business Council, examined the near- to medium-term effects of the crisis on the Chinese economy in general, and on how the crisis has affected foreign corporations with large operations in China in particular.

Michael Swaine, senior associate and co-director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, reviewed China's crisis management capabilities as demonstrated in Beijing's handling of the outbreak. He also examined how this crisis has affected cross-straits relations.

Minxin Pei, senior associate and co-director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, discussed the effects of the crisis on China's leadership and the prospects for increased political openness.

Richard Bush is a Brookings senior fellow and director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies. He moderated the seminar.