The term "political reform" is used in numerous ways-both inside and outside the Chinese government, leading to great confusion over its meaning. The best way to understand political reform in China is to survey the various perspectives held by the "ruling elite."
We think the president has an instinctive sense that U.S. policy toward China should be a good deal tougher than it has been the last 12 years. Surely it's time for him to shape a coherent policy, bring his advisers into line, and not allow staffers to be hung out to dry. This would be the adult thing to do.
The "One China" policy has been slowly but steadily collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions for more than a decade. And how could it not collapse? America's very arcane, very nuanced policy was created in 1979. The world then was so different from today's that it might as well have been 1879.
Scholars looked at the surveillance plane crisis and talked about the implications and next steps for US-China relations.
Whatever risks may accompany a policy of containment, the risks of weakness are infinitely greater. China hands both inside and outside the administration will argue that this crisis needs to be put behind us so that the U.S.-China relationship can return to normal. It is past time for everyone to wake up to the fact that the Chinese behavior we have seen this past week is normal.
In the coming weeks, an army of China experts is going to tell us that selling advanced arms to Taiwan is too risky. If history is any guide, however, it will be even riskier if Beijing thinks it is dealing with another "young and weak" American president.
Discussion on corruption in China with Angang Hu, Qinghua University