Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Review Essay: Hu Angang (胡鞍鋼), China in 2020: A New Type of Superpower

Hu Angang (胡鞍鋼) is a professor at the School of Public Policy and Management and Director of the Institute for Contemporary China Studies at Tsinghua University. He is the author of over sixty books.  He is one of the most well known intellectuals in China and his work is widely read both in the People's Republic of China and abroad. Professor Hu has worked as the chief editor for China Studies Report, a circulated reference for senior officials.

Professor's Hu's approach is nicely illustrated in his presentation, June 12, 2012, "China and the World by 2030". Professor HU discussed his vision of China's position in the world in 2030, where China is established as an economic superpower, as well as an innovative, high-income, green country with a more equitable society. He predicts that China will be the most powerful engine for economic development, a new donor of international development assistance and a country leading global transformation. 

This post provides links to an English version of a review of Hu Angang's book,  China in 2020: A New Type of Superpower (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2011) ISBN 978-0-8157-9478-2 pp. i-xl; 213) that I prepared along with Keren Wang.  Included below is a short abstract and a link to the review essay. The Review Essay may be ACCESSED HERE.

“What is China’s Dream?” HU Angang Imagines China in 2020 as the First Internationally Embedded Superpower
(Reviewing HU Angang, China in 2020: A New Type of Superpower (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2011) ISBN 978-0-8157-9478-2 pp. i-xl; 213)
Larry Catá Backer, W. Richard and Mary Eshelman Faculty Scholar & Professor of Law, Professor of International Affairs, 2012-13 Chair University Faculty Senate, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA USA
Keren Wang, Pennsylvania State University, MIA expected 2013


HU Angang, one of this generation’s most influential academic thinkers, has applied his considerable analytic skills to theorize the future of China in his most recent book, China in 2020: A New Type of Superpower. The book represents an effort to add authoritative Chinese voices to the Western debates about China, written to observe China as an insider, to understand China as a researcher, to forecast China’s future as a participant in its evolution, and as a scholar of the era following Deng Xiaoping, to help construct China. This review will consider HU’s analysis from two perspectives. The first focuses on the contextual perspective of the historical development and future path of the People’s Republic of China. The second focuses on the theoretical perspective, analyzing the framework within which strong state influences will be structured increasingly in this century. This review is divided into three broad sections. Part A of this review starts with a short assessment of the framing context within which it was produced for Western audiences. Part B then turns to the heart of Hu Angang’s work. Critical attention will be placed on the theoretical framework developed in the bookend chapters. Part C then considers the bulk of Hu’s analysis—the way that framework informs the opportunities and challenges in economics, population management, environmental, organizational and other key respects. To understand those challenges for China, one must also to understand the challenges for the proper practice and development of the Chinese Communist Party within China as well as on the international stage. Hu suggests here the contours of a seamless merger of domestic and internal policies grounded in China’s substantive political norms, now harmonized with global internationalism.

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