CKGSB Knowledge - China Business and Economy

China’s Third Revolution

The era of Deng Xiaoping is over in China. We are now living in a new historical epoch: the era of Xi Jinping. That is the message of The Third Revolution, the new book by renowned China scholar Dr. Elizabeth Economy.

This view is far from controversial within China; in fact, it is official party doctrine. But the fact that an academic of Dr. Economy’s standing is calling time on Dengism is significant. Over her career, she has proven a remarkably clear-sighted forecaster of where China is heading, most notably in her 2004 book The River Runs Black, which highlighted the enormous cost of China’s economic degradation years before the government was willing fully to face up to it.

In this interview, she explains why China analysts need to develop a new understanding of China’s development trajectory for the Xi era.

Q: The Third Revolution argues that Xi Jinping’s presidency represents a clear break from the eras of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Why did China’s leaders consider a third revolution to be necessary when Xi became president in 2013?

A: In part, there was a sense after the Hu [Jintao] and Wen [Jiabao] decade [2003-2012] that there was the

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