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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Can China’s Political System Sustain Its Peaceful Rise?

  • Author(s): SHIRK, Susan L.
  • et al.

After more than a decade of diplomacy designed to reassure the United States and Asian neighbors that it wasn’t a threat, Chinese foreign policy has turned more confrontational. The Chinese government and Communist Party make decisions by consensus, which theoretically should sustain a cautious foreign policy. It also would seem that China’s growing economic ties with its neighbors would motivate it to avoid conflict. However, examples of a newly assertive China abound. What can this trend tell us about the underlying characteristics of China’s political system?

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