François Godement

Whither China? Publication date : October 18, 2012

François Godement is a historian and an expert on Chinese and East Asian international affairs. He is a professor at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and the founder, in 2005, of Asia Centre. Besides directing the China programme for the European Council on Foreign Relations, he is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

As China prepares for a change in leadership, the opposition between partisans of the status quo and reformers is at its height. How this opposition is ultimately resolved will be crucial for the rest of the world. Will China be able to overcome its contradictions?
Drawing on his expertise on Chinese history and current affairs, François Godement reviews 33 years of Chinese reforms, revealing what he calls ‘the trap of transition’. China may be a victim of its success, but Chinese economic achievements are unprecedented and were scarcely affected by the 2008 crisis.
This situation has enabled China to disregard all serious political issues by separating politics from all economic decisions — with the result that social tensions have heightened and the political leadership has become increasingly isolated.
By analysing the various changes in their historical and political context, the author guides the reader through the secrets of Chinese politics. China no longer has many choices left. Faced with increasing inequalities, widespread discontent and difficulties with various external partners, China must now successfully accomplish its political transition. But will it be able to and, above all, does it wish to do so?

• Autumn 2012: the Chinese leadership will be replaced following the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.
• François Godement is an internationally recognised expert on contemporary China.
• In this fascinating, highly readable book he elegantly blends numerous anecdotes reflecting Chinese culture and values with historical and political overviews.