The breathtaking scope and pace of change in China may leave the impression that the most populous nation on earth is rocketing into uncharted space, challenging ordinary notions of what can be achieved in any given time span. Yet, historical baggage and geopolitical realities frame China’s forward possibilities and path. All four articles featured in this issue of China Currents are animated by a constraint of one kind or another, and in each case, the constraints help define China’s place in the world today. Thomas Remington, in an article that draws parallels between China and Russia, reminds us that China’s socialist “social contract” developed in the early days of the People’s Republic factors into the implementation of new economic reforms. Amitendu Palit identifies constraints animating parties negotiating agreements that could lead to a reshaping of Asia-Pacific trade relations. Very much at the center of this are sometimes conflicting economic imperatives on the part of the U.S. and China. Qiulin Chen and Li Qi discuss China’s latest strategic debate about urbanization in the context of another constraint: how to ensure that urbanization does not undermine the interests of China’s vast agricultural sector and the welfare of farmers. Finally, there is the constraint of language. In a discussion with China Currents Managing Editor Penelope Prime, Keylingo executive Bernie Colacicco talks about the business of translating Chinese material, an undertaking vital to commercial or any kind of cross-cultural communicative success.
1. Editor’s Note
3. Negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Possible Effects on the U.S.-China Relationship in Asia