Today's China-News Trawl

1) Damien Ma and I have a new discussion-video up on the Atlantic's "China's Rise" site, again produced by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz. Topic: is China's level of corruption still "efficient," in Boss Tweed terms of making sure things get done? Or has it moved past that point to a destructive, excess-resentment-producing stage?

2) The Eurasia Group, day-job site of the aforementioned Damien Ma, has just put out a very interesting version of its assessment of China's "12th Five-Year Plan." Not to spoil the surprise, and it certainly is worth reading yourself, but: one of the big themes is that China's options and prospects are not quite as smooth and easy as many Western observers assume. For instance:

>>Eurasia Group does believe that Beijing will achieve some of its goals. But ultimately, the country's leaders lack the political stomach and sense of the moment [exactly!!] to implement a comprehensive and ambitious rebalancing agenda. They have correctly diagnosed many of China's underlying economic challenges and have, at least on paper, prescribed many of the needed remedies. Yet, as innately conservative technocrats, their inclination to put off the toughest decisions about China's political economy means that Beijing will confront even starker choices down the road.

Failure to implement key portions of the rebalancing agenda will jeopardize China's economic trajectory. And over the longer term, such failures could also threaten China's political stability.<<

The U.S. has terrible problems of governance right now. Unfortunately, so do other major countries.

3) I will be on the Charlie Rose show tonight (or tomorrow or sometime -- taped today) talking about this and related issues. Link later, when available and when I know the real air date.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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