It is commonly believed that privatization and economic modernization lead, if not directly then at least indirectly, to democratization. China, however, illustrates the limits of such wisdom.
Minxin Pei participated in a Frontline online roundtable discussion, "Democracy, Sooner or Later?" assessing the prospects for democracy in China.
While America is focused on fighting terror, it has turned the attention of policy makers and citizens away from Northeast Asia. China is no longer seen as the primary threat to the US. This has given China room to wield a new foreign policy in the region that establishes China's influence. Meanwhile, Russia and China are growing farther apart.
Yasheng Huang, author of recently released Selling China: Foreign Direct Investment During the Reform Era, argued that surging levels of FDI are signs of weaknesses and inefficiencies in China's economy and banking system.
Beijing provides critical energy and food aid to Pyongyang. Indeed, without Beijing's economic support, conditions in North Korea are likely to deteriorate dramatically. Logically, China ought to be the country the US should court actively to increase the diplomatic pressure on North Korea and reduce the tensions over Pyongyang's dangerous nuclear programmes.