China: The Next Superpower?
Richard Baum jointly conducts a 3-day symposium at the Aspen Institute
From July 27 to 30, Richard Baum, Professor of Political Science and Director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, and U.C. Berkeley Journalism School Dean Orville Schell jointly conducted a three-day symposium at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, CO, on the subject, "China: The Next Superpower?" Their opening dialogue took place at a public forum attended by an overflow crowd of 500. Thereafter, two-a-day sessions were limited to members of the Aspen Society of Fellows.
In their opening dialogue, Baum and Schell discussed the nature and significance of China's rapid rise in the post-Mao reform era from socialist stagnation to marketized regional powerhouse. Noting that the rapidity of socioeconomic change in China had not been accompanied by corresponding political-institutional reforms, both speakers expressed concern about the sustainability of China's "economic miracle." Both also noted that China's growing military power had generated increasing anxiety among its Asian neighbors. Assessing the possible threat posed by such military growth, Baum and Schell stressed that although China was not predisposed to become a strategic adversary of the United States, worsening tensions in the Taiwan Strait could lead to a military confrontation, with U.S. feeling duty-bound to defend Taiwan against Chinese efforts to reunify Taiwan by force.
In the twice daily small seminar sessions that followed the initial public meeting, Baum and Schell took turns leading group discussion on a variety of themes relating to China's post-Mao rise. A selection of core readings was prepared for the participants in conjunction with the discussion at each session. Specific topics covered at these sessions included:
- "From Maoism to Modernization: Economic Reform and Its Consequences"
- "The Problematic Path of Political Reform"
- "Social Change and the Rise of "Civil Society"
- "Territorial Issues in China's Rise: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang"
- "China and the World: What to do When the Dragon Wakes?"
For a special session on the question of Tibet, the Dalai Lama's personal emissary to Washington, D.C., the honorable Lodi Gyari, joined the discussion and presented an assessment of the latest developments in the ongoing dispute between Beijing and the Dalai Lama over the limits of Tibetan autonomy. Lodi Gyari noted that there were some recent indications that despite their longstanding differences, the two sides might agree to a visit by the Dalai Lama to Tibet in the near future.
Published: Tuesday, August 03, 2004