China Talks: Professor David Lampton

Coping with Calamities: China’s Leaders and the Dilemmas of Reform

China's leaders seek to govern a piece of global real estate that regularly creates enormous natural calamities, often in the context of inadequate resources. Meanwhile, the policy-making system the Party has fashioned over a very long time creates difficulties in responding to both natural and man-made challenges.

The surprise is not the enormous problems currently facing China, but that its system has performed as well as it has over the decades of reform. Nonetheless, the reforms that began with Deng in the late 1970s have so transformed the Chinese bureaucracy and society that the longer major governance reforms are put off, the more wrenching will be the dislocations when they come.

Professor David Lampton is a world-leading expert on Chinese politics and China’s political system, and the Director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His newest book is Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping.

The lecture is part of the series "China Talks" launched under Asian Dynamics Initiative.