view was once accurate, but it no longer ts thereality on the ground. With rapid economicdevelopment and an increase in wealth, peoplein China have not only become more interestedin politics but they also have more access toinormation. In just two years, between 2006and 2008, China’s Internet population soaredrom 111 million to 253 million. Newspapers,magazines, and radio and TV stations nowregularly run international news and editori-als to compete or readership. The increasingpublic awareness o international aairs andthe Chinese media’s expanded coverage o global events have created new challenges orthe CCP, which must accommodate not only vested interests, such as government bureau-cracies and business, but also popular opinion.How public opinion is likely to aect govern-ment policy
an important new actor to con-sider when ormulating policy toward China.Beijing’s priorities and its political motivesare complex. Building a constructive relation-ship will require that the United States ap-proach China not only as a global power ca-pable o deending its territorial integrity andasserting its strategic interests, but also as adeveloping nation with a government deeply concerned with internal stability, economicdevelopment, and the regime’s legitimacy inthe eyes o ordinary Chinese. The actor o internal legitimacy cannot be underestimatedin understanding and predicting China’s re-sponse to real or perceived threats to its na-tional interests.
T Fc Css: Ptcpt“acc t its Cpbts”
It is important or American leaders to under-stand that China is willing to participate inboth ormulating policy proposals and takingsubstantive measures to contain the interna-tional nancial crisis and revive global eco-nomic growth to the degree to which it per-ceives its capabilities permit. Accordingly, theUnited States must temper its expectationsregarding how much China can contribute tomultilateral eorts.Ofcial Chinese media have reiteratedChina’s limited capacity to help during thecrisis internationally and domestically. WhilePresident Hu Jintao has worked to bolstercondence in China’s ability to weather thestorm, Premier Wen Jiabao has tried hard tolower domestic expectations. He has pub-licly cautioned that the crisis is “worse thanexpected” in China. With exports accountingor close to 40 percent o China’s gross do-mestic product (GDP), the ull impact o thecrisis on the Chinese economy is already vis-ible and severe. China’s growth rate has plum-meted due to weakening demands or Chinesegoods in the United States and Europe. enso thousands o manuacturing actories havebeen closed and hundreds o thousands o migrant workers have been laid o in thecoastal areas. Chinese economists agree thatat least 8 percent growth is needed to accom-modate new laborers entering the work orce.Industrial growth or October was 8.2 per-cent, the lowest in seven years. Te Chinesegovernment projected GDP growth or 2009at 7.5 percent, but many economists predictan even lower growth rate, which will lead torising unemployment. Stalled growth coulduel social unrest.Given these problems, China sees its rstresponsibility in dealing with the global eco-nomic crisis as stabilizing its domestic mar-kets. Between September and November2008, China adopted a series o stimulus mea-sures, including cutting interest rates threetimes, lowering bank reserve requirement ra-tios twice, making tax changes, revising laborlaw requirements or enterprises, and increas-ing credit quotas. On November 9, the StateCouncil unveiled a bold stimulus packageamounting to an estimated U.S. $586 billion,the equivalent o about 16 percent o China’s2007 GDP. Te package is aimed at boostingdomestic demand over the next two years tonance programs in ten areas, primarily inra-structure. Foreign policy experts in China ar-gue that a healthy and stable Chinese marketis the most important contribution China can
heads theCarneie Endowment’s pres-ence in Beijin and is a special-ist in Asian security issues andpolitical participation.He was associate proessor, andbeore that assistant proessor,in Duke Uniersity’s Depart-ment o Political Science rom1993 to 2008. He was also assis-tant proessor in the Depart-ment o Political Science at theUniersity o Iowa rom 1992to 1993, a lecturer in PekinUniersity’s Department oInternational Politics rom 1988to 1989, and deputy director othe Opinion Research Center oChina rom 1988 to 1989.Shi is the author o seeralbooks, includin,
Lineage and Village Governance in Contem- porary China: Multidisciplinary Research and Political
. He also sits onthe editorial board o
Journal of Contemporary China
.The author is rateul toMinxin Pei and Meredith Wenor their contributions to thispublication. Carneie Beijinconsulted with the ollowinChinese experts durin thedratin o this brie: Dr. ZheSun, deputy director, Centeror American Studies, FudanUniersity; Dr. Yaqin Qin, icepresident, Forein Aairs Col-lee; Dr. Qinuo Jia, deputydean, School o InternationalRelations, Pekin Uniersity.