China’s Coming Constitutional Challenges

As the years of Deng Xiaoping’s paramountcy draw to a close, the most fundamental issues facing the People’s Republic of China today-official pronouncements notwithstanding-are in essence the same that confronted the USSR a decade ago when Konstantin Chemenko died: namely, regime transition and constitutional structure. Moreover, the manner in which the Chinese solve, or fail to solve, these issues will affect far more than domestic governance alone. The influence of domestic change in China, as in the Soviet case, is bound to spill out, perhaps messily, into the international arena and bring with it either promise or threat to Past Asia, all of Asia, perhaps the world.

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