China’s transformation from a developing economy into an emerging global power is likely to be the most consequential factor in twenty-first-century international politics. Its economy is now the second largest in the world, millions of Chinese citizens have been lifted out of poverty, and the People’s Liberation Army is quickly modernizing. In just a few decades, China has moved from the periphery to the center of the international system.
Yet despite numerous advances, China’s rise is not complete and its capabilities remain uneven. By some standards China is a developed country, yet in other ways it is still developing. Moreover, the nature of Chinese power is poorly understood. These unknowns result in misrepresentations of China’s position within the international community, which contributes to the uncertainty over the implications of China’s rise. ChinaPower addresses this problem by providing our users with the necessary tools to compare Chinese power with that of other countries.
Power as a concept is nebulous. Therefore, ChinaPower offers a clear statement of how we conceptualize power throughout the website. In broad terms, ChinaPower examines five interrelated categories of Chinese power: military, economic, technological, social, and international image. Since Chinese power cannot be evaluated in a vacuum, each element of power is compared with other relevant countries.
At the heart of ChinaPower are exploratory questions specifically developed to illuminate the different aspects of Chinese power. The questions include, among others, How does China’s first aircraft carrier stack up? How is China shaping the global economic order? How web-connected is China? Engaging with such questions, users will have the necessary tools to explore the evolution of Chinese power and the implications of China’s rise.
In this way, ChinaPower uses data visualization and expert analysis to unpack the complexity of Chinese power. The data that drives our visualizations has been carefully selected to enhance our users’ understanding of Chinese power. To ensure the reliability of our data, each indicator has been reviewed by our expert steering committee. All data utilized by ChinaPower that is not otherwise copyrighted or protected is freely downloadable through our data repository.
Data itself only tells half the story. Our experts provide the necessary context to help users interpret the data and to address complex questions for which data is not readily available. The inclusion of expert analysis is a unique feature of ChinaPower. The experts who contribute analysis to ChinaPower conduct their analysis in their personal capacity, using the expertise they have acquired as scholars and officials. All contributors have intellectual independence and have been invited to share their personal perspectives.
CSIS and ChinaPower strive to maintain objectivity. ChinaPower does not promote a particular point of view, nor does it advocate a specific conclusion regarding the trajectory or consequences of China’s rise. Through interacting with the questions developed on this site, ChinaPower empowers our users to draw their own conclusions. The ChinaPower team welcomes feedback and opinions, and hopes to lay the groundwork for constructive debate on China’s rise.
ChinaPower is made possible by a generous contribution from Carnegie Corporation of New York. To learn more about how to support ChinaPower, please contact us.
Tai Ming Cheung
Associate Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego, and Director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation
Thomas J. Christensen
William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War; Co-Director, China and the World Program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
M. Taylor Fravel
Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aaron L. Friedberg
Professor of Politics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses; Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.)
Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
University Distinguished Service Professor and former Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University; Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution
Senior Adviser and Korea Chair, CSIS; Director of Asian Studies and D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University
Senior Adviser for Asian Economics and Simon Chair in Political Economy, CSIS
Michael J. Green
Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS; Chair in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University
Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and Director of the International Security Program, CSIS
Deputy Director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies, and Director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy, CSIS
Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy and National Security Program, CSIS
Senior Fellow and Director of the Strategic Technologies Program, CSIS
Senior Adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS
Senior Adviser and Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS
Senior Fellow and Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, CSIS
Bonnie S. Glaser is a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at CSIS, where she works on issues related to Chinese foreign and security policy. She is concomitantly a non-resident fellow with the Lowy Institute in Sydney, a senior associate with CSIS Pacific Forum and a consultant for the U.S. government on East Asia. From 2008 – mid-2015 Ms. Glaser was a Senior Adviser with the Freeman Chair in China Studies, and from 2003 to 2008, she was a senior associate in the CSIS International Security Program. Prior to joining CSIS, she served as a consultant for various U.S. government offices, including the Departments of Defense and State. Ms. Glaser has written extensively on various aspects of Chinese foreign policy, including Sino-U.S. relations, U.S.-China military ties, cross-Strait relations, China’s relations with Japan and Korea, and Chinese perspectives on missile defense and multilateral security in Asia. Her writings have been published in the Washington Quarterly, China Quarterly, Asian Survey, International Security, Problems of Communism, Contemporary Southeast Asia, American Foreign Policy Interests, Far Eastern Economic Review, Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, New York Times, and International Herald Tribune, as well as various edited volumes on Asian security. Ms. Glaser is a regular contributor to the Pacific Forum quarterly Web journal Comparative Connections. She is currently a board member of the U.S. Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, and a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the Institute of International Strategic Studies. She served as a member of the Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board China Panel in 1997. Ms. Glaser received her B.A. in political science from Boston University and her M.A. with concentrations in international economics and Chinese studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Matthew P. Funaiole is a fellow with the China Power Project at CSIS. His research focuses on power relationships and alliance structures in the Asia Pacific. Prior to joining CSIS, Dr. Funaiole taught international relations and foreign policy analysis at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland, where he also completed his doctoral research. He currently holds an adjunct research position with the Foreign Policy Centre in London, where he has published several policy briefings. Dr. Funaiole previously worked on an ongoing research project at the University of Cambridge that examines legal regimes and political authority in Asia. He was also a contributing researcher to “The Future of U.S.-China Relations under Xi Jinping” project at Harvard University, which examined the strategic relationship between the United States and China. He is currently drafting a manuscript that examines how shifts in power structures and international norms impact foreign policy. Dr. Funaiole is also engaged in several creative writing projects.
ChinaPower is a product of the Andreas C. Dracopoulos iDeas Lab, the in-house digital, multimedia, and design agency at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Special Thanks to:
Alexandra Viers, Jacqueline Vitello, Caroline Amenabar, John Chen, Emily Chen, Ian Cheung, William Colson, Nirja Desai, Brendan Flynn, Jingyu Gao, Tucker Harris, Marc Hedman, Grace Hearty, Hannah Hindel, Seungha Hong, Linnea Logie, Jennifer Mayer, Brian Moore, David Parker, Jacqueline Schrag, Rebecka Shirazi, Daniel Sofio, Suzanna Stephens, Amy Studdart, Aaron Vale, Tim Yin, and Sean Yu.
This project was made possible by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Website content is solely the responsibility of CSIS.