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Meet the Author: James Mann, The China Fantasy

In The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression, author James Mann examines the evolution of American policy toward China and asks, "What are our ideas and hidden assumptions about China?"

January 31, 2008 5:30pm to 8:00pm

In this follow-up to his best-selling book The Rise of the Vulcans, Mann explores two scenarios popular among the policy elite. First, the "Soothing Scenario" contends that the spread of capitalism will gradually bring about a development of democratic institutions, free elections, an independent judiciary, and a progressive human rights policy.

Second, in the "Upheaval Scenario," the contradictions in Chinese society between rich and poor, cities and the countryside, and between economic openness and political rigidity will eventually lead to revolution, chaos, or collapse.

Against this backdrop, Mann offers a third scenario: What will happen if Chinese capitalism continues to evolve and expand but the government fails to liberalize? What would it mean for the U.S. and the world if, two or three decades from now, a much richer and more powerful China remains every bit as authoritarian a state as it is today?

James Mann is Author in Residence at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is the former Beijing bureau chief
for the Los Angeles Times.

$7 Asia Society Members. $15 Non-Members