Political Systems Expert Discusses Democratization of China in Lawrence University Address

Minxin Pei, senior associate and director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., discusses China’s current economic transition and explores the possibility of the country’s democratization in a comparative perspective in the third installment of Lawrence University’s four-part international studies lecture series, “Democracy, Development and Human Rights.”

Pei presents “Democratizing China: Lessons from East Asia” Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Drawing upon other recent transitions in the area — the gradual reform that marked Taiwan’s experience, the authoritarian collapse that precipitated change in the Philippines and Indonesia as well as the Thailand and South Korea models where change was both slow and crisis-induced — Pei will provide some context as to what extent China’s future political transition, if it happens at all, will resemble the experience of its neighbors. Pei calls China “a test case” for the validity of various theories of democratization in general and the theory linking economic development to democratization in particular.

A specialist in the development of democratic political systems and the politics of economic reform, Pei is the author of the forthcoming book, “China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy” as well as the 1994 book “From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union.”

In addition, Pei contributes regularly to a wide range of professional journals, including “Foreign Policy,” “Foreign Affairs,” “China Quarterly” and “Journal of Democracy,” among others.

A former professor of politics at Princeton University, Pei has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, among them the Robert S. MacNamara Fellowship of the World Bank and the Hoover Institution’s National Fellowship. He earned his Ph.D. in political science at Harvard University.