Examining continuity and change in China is an endlessly fascinating pastime and a theme that ties together the issues explored in this edition of China Currents. Zhenhui Xu and Lee Taylor Buckley look closely at economic issues that loom large not just for Beijing but for the rest of the world. Xu examines recommendations to move China toward a more sustainable development model and away from the heavy reliance of the last three decades on exports. The argument is for a break from the model that so impressively diverted China from its Maoist course. Buckley, on the other hand, demonstrates how China has been consistent in its response to U.S. demands to strengthen its currency: publicly pushing back and using soft power to argue its case while making strategic concessions when deemed necessary. Continuity is the watchword here.
John Garver also sees continuity in China’s approach to the Iranian nuclear controversy. He argues that China in the final analysis is unlikely to change course and use its influence to extract concessions demanded of Tehran by the United States. The unappealing but very real prospect in Garver’s analysis is a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Far removed from the realms of economic policy and geopolitics, change is spectacularly evident in the use of language in cyberspace. Li Hong and Shanshan Wang document how new words are flooding into the Chinese language from online shopping sites and Internet advertising. Linguistic purists may take umbrage, but creativity and innovation online are altering the spoken language in significant ways.
We encourage you to take your time absorbing these important contributions to China Currents and thinking about change and continuity in China.