China Today

April 4, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 13
Is the world's second-largest economy facing trouble?
By Reed Karaim

Introduction

Shanghai Tower (AFP/Getty Images/ChinaFotoPress)
Shanghai Tower will be the world's second-tallest building — 2,073 feet high — eclipsed only by Dubai's 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa tower. After three decades of rapid development, China now faces labor and environmental problems, growing income inequality and a shrinking labor force. (AFP/Getty Images/ChinaFotoPress)

China stands at a pivotal point in history after more than three decades of robust growth and increasing prosperity. When economic progress slowed last year, many analysts said China faces a difficult transition to a period of more modest gains — or even a serious slowdown. The country's fast-paced development has led to growing income inequality and significant labor and environmental problems, while a rapidly aging population raises concerns about the future of China's workforce and how to take care of the elderly. Responding to public discontent with a system perceived as favoring the nation's elite, President Xi Jinping has vowed to root out corruption. But Xi also has cracked down on dissent and adopted a muscular foreign policy, raising tensions between China and its neighbors. While some analysts predict the imminent arrival of the “Chinese Century,” others say China's future is uncertain, given the many problems it faces.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Jan. 20, 2017  China and the South China Sea
Apr. 04, 2014  China Today
May 07, 2010  U.S.-China Relations Updated
Nov. 11, 2005  Emerging China
Aug. 04, 2000  China Today
Jun. 13, 1997  China After Deng
May 24, 1996  Taiwan, China and the U.S.
Apr. 15, 1994  U.S. - China Trade
Apr. 13, 1984  China: Quest for Stability and Development
Dec. 05, 1980  Trade with China
Sep. 08, 1978  China's Opening Door
Feb. 08, 1974  China After Mao
May 26, 1972  Future of Taiwan
Jun. 16, 1971  Reconciliation with China
Aug. 07, 1968  China Under Mao
Sep. 13, 1967  Burma and Red China
Mar. 15, 1967  Hong Kong and Macao: Windows into China
Apr. 27, 1966  China and the West
Nov. 25, 1964  Relations With Red China
Oct. 05, 1960  Russia and Red China
Mar. 18, 1959  Red China's Communes
Oct. 22, 1958  Overseas Chinese
Jul. 24, 1957  China Policy
Apr. 24, 1957  Passport Policy
Feb. 16, 1955  Problem of Formosa
Sep. 15, 1954  Red China and the United Nations
Apr. 28, 1953  Status of Red China
Apr. 03, 1953  War in Indo-China
Mar. 13, 1952  Chinese-Soviet Relations
Jun. 20, 1951  Blockades and Embargoes
Aug. 29, 1950  Formosa Policy
Mar. 09, 1950  Aid to Indo-China
Nov. 24, 1948  China's Civil War
Aug. 06, 1945  Government of China
Feb. 17, 1945  Development of China
Jun. 07, 1943  Oriental Exclusion
Oct. 26, 1936  Chino-Japanese Relations
Jan. 02, 1928  The Position and Problems of Chinese Nationalism
Apr. 15, 1927  Foreign Intervention in China
Feb. 04, 1927  China and the Great Powers
Dec. 18, 1925  Extraterritoriality in China
Sep. 24, 1924  Military and Civil Aspects of the War in China
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Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific