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The China Model and Democracy

by Joshua Kurlantzick
March 25, 2013

China's newly-elected premier Li Keqiang smiles as he takes questions during a news conference after the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing March 17, 2013. China's newly-elected premier Li Keqiang smiles as he takes questions during a news conference after the closing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing March 17, 2013 (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters).

The new Chinese leadership, including premier Li Keqiang, have at least rhetorically recognized that China’s future development depends on further economic, social, and political reforms. In his first major speech as premier, Li said, “Reforming is about curbing government power … It is a self-imposed revolution that will require real sacrifice, and it will be painful.”

Yet over the past decade, Beijing has played an active role in forestalling political change not only in China but also in many neighboring nations. In an excerpt from my book Democracy in Retreat, The Atlantic online’s new China Channel features my chapter on the “China model” and its corrosive regional influence. Read it here.

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