Summary of China’s Great Leap Backward

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Few issues are more important globally than US–China relations. US policy toward China has remained relatively stable since the early 1970s. As Barack Obama says, the United States has “more to fear from a weakened, threatened China than a successful, rising China.” After embracing trade and, to some degree, civil liberties for its people, China has seen unprecedented growth and an elevated quality of life. But if China starts backpedaling, where does that leave the rest of the world? Always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends Fallow’s compelling Atlantic article to US policy makers, and – why not? – to both US president-elect Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How China’s Xi Jinping administration is repressing the country’s citizens,
  • How China’s programs are spilling over international borders and
  • What elements an American policy toward China should include.

About the Author

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of China Airborne.



“China is experiencing the most sustained domestic political crackdown since Tiananmen Square,” wrote Carl Minzner, a Fordham University expert on Chinese law. Many experts share his view. How will that influence the rest of the world? Signs of regression include a rise in censorship and increasing quarrels at China’s borders. Breaching the “Great Firewall of censorship” is becoming ever more difficult, which leaves people within China with less news from outside. Domestic journalists are exasperated with recent losses in press freedom. China’s censorship doesn’t stop at its borders. The government refuses to trade with countries that commit perceived slights, and it demands that foreign-run businesses adopt China’s censorship practices – even outside China.

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