Of Two Minds on China

A multitude of internal and external economic and social forces push and pull at China, and author Terry Lautz, a Moynihan Research Fellow at Syracuse University, compares China to a fictional animal with two heads and minds facing opposite ways. “One looks toward openness and reform – freedom of expression, unfettered access to the internet and an independent legal system,” Lautz explains. “The other head believes, to the contrary, that China’s paramount need is unity and stability, guided by the Communist Party.” He offers theories as to why the controlling, assertive side might be overwhelming the more liberal side – including nationalism, fear of economic and social instability, and collapse of the Communist Party. World opinion is divided on China and many nations take a pragmatic approach. Positive feelings would quickly erode with a severe economic downturn or military clash. Reconciliation between China’s two sides won’t be easy, and Lautz urges preparation for ongoing uncertainty. – YaleGlobal