Skip to main content

China's Future

China's Future

David Shambaugh

ISBN: 978-1-509-50714-6

Mar 2016, Polity

244 pages

In Stock



China's future is arguably the most consequential question in global affairs. Having enjoyed unprecedented levels of growth, China is at a critical juncture in the development of its economy, society, polity, national security, and international relations. The direction the nation takes at this turning point will determine whether it stalls or continues to develop and prosper.

Will China be successful in implementing a new wave of transformational reforms that could last decades and make it the world's leading superpower? Or will its leaders shy away from the drastic changes required because the regime's power is at risk? If so, will that lead to prolonged stagnation or even regime collapse? Might China move down a more liberal or even democratic path? Or will China instead emerge as a hard, authoritarian and aggressive superstate?

In this new book, David Shambaugh argues that these potential pathways are all possibilities - but they depend on key decisions yet to be made by China's leaders, different pressures from within Chinese society, as well as actions taken by other nations. Assessing these scenarios and their implications, he offers a thoughtful and clear study of China's future for all those seeking to understand the country's likely trajectory over the coming decade and beyond.

Related Resources


Request an Evaluation Copy for this title



1. Pathways to China's Future

2. China's Economy

3. China's Society

4. China's Polity

5. China's Future & the World


"One of the many strengths of Shambaugh's book is that it delves beneath the surface noise surrounding the world's second-largest economy and focuses on the deeper political trends he has studied for decades."
Financial Times

"David Shambaugh lays out some bold speculations about possible futures for China that will make even seasoned China hands rethink their assumptions. It is critical reading from one of our most astute observers of that country."
Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University

"While it is not possible to predict China's future, it is possible to assay the contradictory forces that are propelling it forward. Bringing his years of experience and deep insight to bear, David Shambaugh has met this daunting challenge with great perception, balance and concision."
Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society "Anyone desiring to understand the debate over China’s future underway among China’s top leadership can do no better than Shambaugh’s concise book."
John Garver, Georgia Institute of Technology,

Foreign Affairs

"This is an extremely important book that deserves a wide readership among government officials, and those in the business community with aspirations to tap into the country's huge market."
New Zealand International Review

"David Shambaugh skilfully negotiates the tightrope between speculation and quantitative evidence and, in doing so, offers a valuable insight into the social contexts at play in postulating the probable future pathways that China may pursue"
Europe-Asia Studies