China still relies predominantly on the “rule of man” (as distinct from the rule of law) and is by no means ready to embrace democracy. Its foreign policy stance has not been overly aggressive for some time but China may have not acted, at least consistently and unambiguously so, in a manner that reflects its size and status as a leading regional power. The rapid economic growth it has experienced--a pattern that should remain intact--might thus contribute toward internal relaxation and external moderation. Both the internal and external sides of the picture merit careful consideration. However, this Essay focuses, from a medium-term perspective (the long-term dynamics are more difficult to come to grips with), exclusively on the former. This is arguably the critical element in the equation. Tangible progress on the domestic front would be of greater significance, given the backdrop. China is so far from satisfying the “minimum” standards in this respect, even from an Asian standpoint, that it is the side that needs to be accorded a higher priority. As indicated, internal forces can also shape events in the external arena--the relationship holds in the opposite direction as well, but apparently to a lesser extent--and this is another reason for the domestic orientation displayed in this Essay.
Miron Mushkat and Roda Mushkat,
Economic Growth, Democracy, The Rule of Law, and China's Future,
29 Fordham Int'l L.J. 229
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol29/iss1/4