Peter Harris

China at the Crossroads


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October 2014

China is at the crossroads. After decades of breakneck development it is facing growing problems. These range from corruption, unrest and pollution to uneven, unsustainable growth. If these problems are solved China is set to become a strong, wealthy centre of power. If they are not it will face years of uncertainty and stress. Either way its development will have a major impact on New Zealand, whose number one trading partner is now China.

In late 2013 China’s new leader President Xi Jinping took a big step. He asked a plenary meeting of the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee to agree on a lengthy new reform agenda. But will the reforms of this Third Plenum put China on the right track? Assessments differ. Some see them as offering just the breakthrough China needs. Others regard them as being too limited by far.

In July 2014 the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington held a conference to discuss the Third Plenum and China’s current condition. An outstanding group of specialists from New Zealand, Australia, China and the United States met to assess critical issues and trends. This book is an account of the conference and its conclusions. It is essential reading for anyone concerned about China and impact on New Zealand.

Peter Harris is a writer specialising in China and a consultant on east Asian development. In 20132014 he was Acting Director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre and a visiting professor at Nanjing University, China. His most recent publications, for the Random House Everyman’s Library, were a new translation of the classic anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems and a new edition of Marco Polo’s Travels.

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