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Please note: This archive page is related to a former project of the Stanley Foundation. Therefore, some of the material may be outdated and many of the links may no longer work. This page was last updated in late 2009. Information about current Stanley Foundation efforts can be found here.


China, with the world’s largest population and one of the world’s highest growth rates, is well on its way to becoming a formidable global power. China’s rapid development over recent years has attracted worldwide attention, especially during the 2008 Olympics. The rise of China as a global economic and political power is one of the transformative events of our time. A rising China will undoubtedly change the Western-oriented international order and bring the United States’ unipolar moment to an end.

The implications of various aspects of China’s great power status, from its extraordinary economic growth to its expanding diplomatic clout and military muscle to its ever-growing demand for energy, are far-reaching for many years to come. It is critical for the United States, and the world as a whole, to have a clear understanding of China’s rise and its likely impact.

Yet interpreting China as a rising power is not an easy task. China is an exceedingly complex and sometimes internally contradictory society. True, China’s emergence as a rising power will challenge the US interests in East Asia and perhaps in other parts of the world, but China is a defense-minded nation, vulnerable to internal turmoil, pervasive corruption, growing energy demand, environmental illness, and health problems. A stronger China does not mean it becomes a threat to the United States and the rest of the world. The rise of China is going to be a long process that the United States and other powers should seek to manage with Beijing.

Updated: August 28, 2008

Please send us your thoughts on the changing global order and the materials offered here. All comments may be reprinted on this Web site and in related materials.

Sources: US Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, CIA World Fact Book; BBC News, Country Profile: China; CSIS/Peterson Institute for International Economics; The New York Times; and others.

This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.

The Stanley Foundation is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The global order is changing. The 21st Century will be marked by many competing sources of global power. Across politics, economics, culture, military strength and more, a new group of countries have growing influence over the future of the world:



South Africa
European Union

South Korea


Other Countries

Big issues are also playing a cross-cutting role in this changing global order:


Nuclear Nonproliferation
Nonstate Actors

Global/Regional Systems

And this changing global order has implications for the United States.

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