Activities: 2005: Abstract: Lampton

March 17, 2005

Dr. David M. Lampton
Dean of Faculty
George and Sadie Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Topic:  Thinking about China and What It Means for America.

One of the most knowledgeable scholars of Chinese affairs, Dr. David M. Lampton, offered a realistic analysis of today’s China.  His began by speaking about China’s domestic issues.  Here, he pointed out the basic problems that the Chinese leaders are confronting.  China, he remarked, is the most rapidly urbanizing society on the face of the earth.  Another grave problem that China faces is the increasing inequality of capital income—in the Coastal area, $3,000 (mainly around Shanghai), the Central band, $800 (around Peking), and the far West (including Tibet), $100.  Still another problem is the rampant corruption in government circles and in the business world.  These are the main reasons, our Speaker pointed out, why Chinese leaders do not need additional problems in the world.

China has become the third largest economy in the world and is building the world’s largest middle class, ironically under so-called Communist leadership.  This creates still another of their huge problems.

Dean Lampton also briefed the Executive Lecture Forum members about China’s growing military power.  “China has switched,” he said “its strategy of trying to keep the enemy off its continent with a large military force.”  Now, China is building up its navy and air force, mainly because the Chinese Communist leaders are considering Taiwan as their last unfinished business; and that issue, if solved by military means, needs a modern navy and air force.  On the other hand, Taiwan has become increasingly dependent on the mainland.  At the same time, the United States has a security commitment to Taiwan that could drug the United States into conflict with China, if this problem is not carefully managed.

© 2005 The Radványi Chair in International Security Studies, Mississippi State University.
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For information about The Radványi Chair, contact Dr. János Radványi.
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