Will China Dominate the 21st Century
Will China Dominate the 21st Century
China's spectacular growth has led to visions of the 21st century being dominated by the last major state on earth ruled by a Communist Party, its forward march seemingly unstoppable when contrasted with the West and Japan.

In this book, Jonathan Fenby, a leading expert on the People's Republic, makes plain that China, too, faces major challenges which stand in the way of global domination. It has to deal with political, economic, social and international tests, each of which involves structural difficulties that will put the system under strain. The picture of China invoked by admirers to argue that it will rule the world does not accord with reality.

Based on Fenby's extensive knowledge of contemporary China, this punchy analysis offers a pragmatic view of where the PRC is heading at a time when its future is too important an issue for wishful theorizing.

Show More
Buy Now

From Wiley.com

Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • February 2014
  • 120 pages
  • 133 x 199 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9780745679266
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9780745679273
  • Open eBook $12.95
  • 9780745682228
Table of Contents

1 China's Watershed 1

2 The Political Trap 28

3 Inflection Point 53

4 Behind the Dream 78

5 Why China Will Not Dominate the 21st Century 101

Further Reading 127

Notes 131

About the Author
Jonathan Fenby is a former editor of the Observer and South China Morning Post and a founding partner and Managing Director of Trusted Sources Research Service. He is an author of several popular books on China, including the acclaimed Tiger Head, Snake Tails (2013) and The Penguin History of Modern China (2009).
Show More


"A very readable and plausible take on why China will not dominate the twenty-first century."
International Affairs

"Leading China commentator Jonathan Fenby’s latest book on China's position in the world offers a nuanced picture of the country's strengths and weaknesses."
China Daily
"Fenby understands to its deepest roots the nature of Chinese Communist Party rule and its effect throughout society. The Party will, therefore, hate his eloquent and merciless dissection of its entire record and performance. But readers new to China should start right here."
Jonathan Mirsky, Times Higher Education
"An excellent summary of the broad spectrum of very serious issues China faces in the immediate future."
Fraser Howie, author of Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise
"The development of any country is accompanied by twists and turns. This book is a reminder that it is still too early to position the world at the dawn of a Chinese century."
Global Times
"Fenby's concise, yet comprehensive, essay should be the first thing read by anyone with an interest - business, political, or intellectual - in the future of China." 
Charles Horner, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
"An excellent, current guide to the challenges and dangers ahead for modern China. It describes, with verve and insight, why the 'China Dream' may lead to a chilly awakening. Fenby, a delightful writer, explains why China will not dominate the 21st century, with compelling critiques and a sharp, clear summary of its economic and political challenges."
Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank Group, U.S. Trade Representative, andU.S. Deputy Secretary of State

"Jonathan Fenby offers a well-informed and balanced assessment of China's past and prospects, recognising its remarkable economic achievements but also noting the huge economic, social and political challenges it confronts. China will not, he concludes, dominate the world in the 21st century. He is almost certainly right."
Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, the Financial Times

"A smart, wise, well written essay which answers with much common sense and learning one of the biggest questions of our time."
Chris Patten

"An excellent summary of the broad spectrum of very serious issues China faces in the immediate future."
Fraser Howie, author of Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise

"In this brief but thought-provoking book, acclaimed China specialist Jonathan Fenby challenges and punctures a number of myths about China's rise and offers valuable insights its current dilemmas and unpredictable future. A stimulating 'must read' for all observers of the China scene."
David Shambaugh, George Washington University and the Brookings Institution

"Jonathan Fenby has managed a highly impressive feat: within a short and elegant text, he has pinpointed the real challenges facing China today if it is truly to become a global actor that will play a serious role in the coming century. The insights give us a road-map for what we might expect from this superpower in the making.  A compelling and essential read from a premier China analyst."
Rana Mitter, author of China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival

"China is a bubble in multiple ways - not least in the way its supposed never-ending rise is interpreted and understood in the west. Jonathan Fenby shows courage and insight in pricking the bubble in this important book."
Will Hutton

"Fenby's thoughtful, balanced analysis of what China has achieved, how it has done so, and the challenges ahead is an excellent corrective to the surfeit of overly laudatory and excessively dire assessments of China's future and its implications for the world."
Thomas Fingar, Stanford University

"In this spirited and insightful book, Jonathan Fenby takes on the China bulls with a clear-eyed look at China’s dysfunctional political system, which does not appear up to the task of tackling the social, legal, economic, environmental, demographic and security challenges facing the country. Highly recommended."
Joseph Fewsmith, Boston University, author of The Logic and Limits of Political Reform in China

"In the flood of books on China, this is one of the most concise and clearly written."
The Age

"The beauty of Fenby’s book is that it is superbly concise; with over 30 years’ experience of covering China, Fenby is able to distil complex ideas down to their core elements and burnish them with accompanying illustrative anecdotes."
LSE Review of Books
Show More