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Will the Olympics Change China?

USCI Executive Committee member, Daniel Lynch, discusses in the Far Eastern Economic Review how the Beijing Olympics will, or will not, facilitate political change in China.
August 7, 2008

Daniel Lynch, professor of international relations and member of the USC U.S.-China Institute executive committee, challenges those who argue that the Chinese government is becoming increasingly open and willing to permit citizens greater latitude to organize and to express their ideas. Writing in the current issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review, Prof. Lynch argues "the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) still refuses to recognize the legitimacy of civic groups' ultimate autonomy" and  "the CCP has succeeded in cultivating in the minds of many of those benefiting from the current order the notion that democratization is a plot hatched by the West and Japan to bring disorder and chaos to China for the purpose of halting its peaceful rise."
The essay begins:
Intersection of the Beijing Olympics with the Chinese public's well-organized response to the Sichuan earthquake has sparked extensive speculation that China may be on the cusp of a major political change. Some believe it could even be a step or two closer now to democratization. Sadly, such speculation does not consider certain crucial facts in the current trajectory of Chinese political development, which is by no means democratic.
Please click here to read the full essay at the FEER website.
The paperback edition of Prof. Lynch's most recent book, Rising China and Asian Democratization, is due out this month from Stanford University Press.