China has been an overachiever in the global process of demographic transition in the second half of the twentieth century. Its mortality decline was unparalleled in human history among populations of significant size, consequently setting the stage for rapid population growth. In turn, rapid population growth laid the foundation for an unprecedented state intervention in birth control. China’s fertility decline in the closing decades of the twentieth century was perhaps even more extraordinary for its speed and especially for the measures taken and the authorities involved. With China’s fertility now well below replacement level, what lies ahead for this demographic overachiever? In this chapter I examine three issues related to China’s demographic transition. First, I briefly review the demographic transition in China. Second, I discuss the role of the Chinese state, a particularly salient aspect of the demographic transition and one that has attracted much attention and caused a good deal of confusion. Third, using population projections, I highlight a few important features of China’s demographic future, deriving in large part from its status as a demographic overachiever.
Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American policy in East Asia
There’s no question that many in Southeast Asia see the region caught uncomfortably between the United States and China. The Trump administration’s repeated calls for a free and open Indo-Pacific have fallen flat in various capitals, which many see as very thin gruel, begging the issue of how the U.S. intends to remain relevant to the regional future.