China's Fifth Generation takes the Helm: New Leaders, New Challenges, and Structural Constraints

Thomas Fingar , Oksenberg/Rohlen Distinguished Fellow at FSI,Stanford University

RSVP required by 5PM November 11

The team of leaders who will take the helm in China beginning next year—the so-called “Fifth Generation”—will be better educated, have greater exposure to the outside world, and extensive experience implementing policies that have facilitated sustained economic growth and growing international influence.  They may view issues somewhat differently than their predecessors but have risen to the top by going along to get ahead and are unlikely to propose radical policy initiatives.  But they must confront a growing number of challenges fueled by China’s past success and recent behavior and will be constrained by structural features of the Chinese system and integration into the global market.

Thomas Fingar is the Oksenberg/Rohlen Distinguished Fellow. In 2009, he was the Payne Distinguished Lecturer in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. From May 2005 through December 2008, he served as the first Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and, concurrently, as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

A Seminar Series of the Stanford China Program and the Center for East Asian Studies

The 'rise of China' has become the preoccupation of policy makers, academics, and business leaders from the United States and Japan to Europe. But as Bloomberg News argued in a recent editorial, "they should be more concerned about what happens if the country's growth falters." A China whose growth is slowing would mean a China with less capital to invest, at home and globally, and whose markets and economy would be less able to provide an engine of growth for others, close at hand in Asia and in North America and Europe.

This series of seminars will examine the multitude of challenges now facing the Chinese leadership as they struggle to shift the dynamic of the economy away from its dependence on now shrinking export markets towards increasing demand and consumption at home. Those challenges range from rising inflation, fiscal imbalances, a real estate bubble and struggles over land, growing income inequality, to inadequate health care and pension systems, even to labor shortages. All these must be faced as China faces an important year of political transition to a new leadership, amidst more visible strains on the country's social fabric.

Monday, November 14, 2011 | 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

Stanford China Program, Shorenstein APARC
Center for East Asian Studies