Explore our series of multimedia interviews and Q&As with the contributors to this volume: 

China's future will be determined by how its leaders manage its myriad interconnected challenges. In Fateful Decisions, leading experts from a wide range of disciplines eschew broad predictions of success or failure in favor of close analyses of today's most critical demographic, economic, social, political, and foreign policy challenges. They expertly outline the options and opportunity costs entailed, providing a cutting-edge analytic framework for understanding the decisions that will determine China's trajectory.

Xi Jinping has articulated ambitious goals, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and massive urbanization projects, but few priorities or policies to achieve them. These goals have thrown into relief the crises facing China as the economy slows and the population ages while the demand for and costs of education, healthcare, elder care, and other social benefits are increasing. Global ambitions and a more assertive military also compete for funding and policy priority. These challenges are compounded by the size of China's population, outdated institutions, and the reluctance of powerful elites to make reforms that might threaten their positions, prerogatives, and Communist Party legitimacy. In this volume, individual chapters provide in-depth analyses of key policies relating to these challenges. Contributors illuminate what is at stake, possible choices, and subsequent outcomes. This volume equips readers with everything they need to understand these complex developments in context.

Available May 2020.

This book is part of the Stanford University Press series, "Studies of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center"

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Organized by Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia Research Center and the National Development and Reform Commission's Academy of Macroeconomic Research. 

Keynote Speakers


WANG YIMING, Deputy Secretary General, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)
The Institutional Problems in China’s Urbanization Process

CAI FANG, Director, Institute of Population Studies, China Academy of Social Sciences
Urbanization and Labor Markets in China

LI SHUZHUO, Director, Institute for Population and Development Studies, School of Public Policy and Administration, Xi’an Jiaotong University
Fertility, Sex Ratio, and Family Planning Policies in China

Stanford Center at Peking University
The Lee Jung Sen Building
Peking University
No.5 Yiheyuan Road Haidian District
Beijing, P.R.China 100871


SCPKU Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Fall 2014
Allison Rhines received her PhD in Biology in 2015 with a research focus in mathematical modeling of infectious disease dynamics and control.  As an undergraduate at Stanford, her honors thesis on demographic change in China focused on rural-to-urban migration, and its impact on ideas and behaviors of preference for male children in the context of the One Child Policy; for this work, she conducted interviews with rural migrants in Mandarin in Xi'an, China.  Pursuing her master's as a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, she used statistical models to relationship between demography and infectious disease.  Her PhD research at Stanford furthered her interests in the relationship between population sturcture and infectious disease dynamics.  At SCPKU, she collaborated with scholars at Peking University Health Sciences Center to study drug resistance in TB cases in Shenzhen.  Following completion of her PhD, she hopes to continue to pursue her focus in infectious disease control, with a particular interest in China.  

Shorenstein APARC
Stanford University
Encina Hall E301
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(650) 723-9072 (650) 723-6530
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Center Fellow at the Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research
Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research

Karen Eggleston is Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Asia Health Policy Program at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at FSI. She is also a Fellow with the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University School of Medicine, and a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Eggleston earned her PhD in public policy from Harvard University and has MA degrees in economics and Asian studies from the University of Hawaii and a BA in Asian studies summa cum laude (valedictorian) from Dartmouth College. Eggleston studied in China for two years and was a Fulbright scholar in Korea. Her research focuses on government and market roles in the health sector and Asia health policy, especially in China, India, Japan, and Korea; healthcare productivity; and the economics of the demographic transition. She served on the Strategic Technical Advisory Committee for the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, and has been a consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the WHO regarding health system reforms in the PRC.

Selected Multimedia

Director of the Asia Health Policy Program, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
Stanford Health Policy Associate
Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Center at Peking University, June and August of 2016
Stanford Affiliate, Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions
Shorenstein APARC
Encina Hall E301
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305-6055
(650) 723-2408 (650) 723-6530
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Professor of Sociology
William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea

Gi-Wook Shin is the director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center; the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea; the founding director of the Korea Program; a senior fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; and a professor of sociology, all at Stanford University. As a historical-comparative and political sociologist, his research has concentrated on social movements, nationalism, development, and international relations.

Shin is the author/editor of more than twenty books and numerous articles. His recent books include South Korea's Democracy in Crisis (2022); The North Korean Conundrum: Balancing Human Rights and Nuclear Security (2021); Demographics and Innovation in the Asia-Pacific (2021); Shifting Gears in Innovation Policy from Asia (2020); Strategic, Policy, and Social Innovation for a Post-Industrial Korea: Beyond the Miracle (2018); Superficial Korea (2017); Divergent Memories: Opinion Leaders and the Asia-Pacific War (2016); Global Talent: Skilled Labor as Social Capital in Korea (2015); Criminality, Collaboration, and Reconciliation: Europe and Asia Confronts the Memory of World War II (2014); New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan (2014); Asia’s Middle Powers? (2013); Troubled Transition: North Korea's Politics, Economy, and External Relations (2013); History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia: Divided Memories (2011); South Korean Social Movements: From Democracy to Civil Society (2011); One Alliance, Two Lenses: U.S.-Korea Relations in a New Era (2010); Cross Currents: Regionalism and Nationalism in Northeast Asia (2007); Rethinking Historical Injustice and Reconciliation in Northeast Asia (2006); and Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, and Legacy (2006). Due to the wide popularity of his publications, many of them have been translated and distributed to Korean audiences. His articles have appeared in academic journals including American Journal of Sociology, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Political Science Quarterly, International Sociology, Nations and Nationalism, Pacific AffairsAsian Survey, and Journal of Democracy.

Shin is now working on a new research initiative seeking to examine potential benefits of talent flows in the Asia-Pacific region, where countries, cities, and corporations have competed with one another to enhance their stock of "brain power" by drawing on the skills of both their own citizens and those of foreigners.  Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this project examines flows of talent across national boundaries and assesses the efficacy of transnational human and social capital in environments such as cities, universities, and corporations in the Asia-Pacific region.  In this way, the project aims to provide insights for policymakers as they devise policies to attract brainpower transnationally.

Shin is not only the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, but also continues to actively raise funds for Korean/Asian studies at Stanford. He gives frequent lectures and seminars on topics ranging from Korean nationalism and politics to Korea's foreign relations and historical reconciliation in Northeast Asia. He serves on councils and advisory boards in the United States and South Korea and promotes policy dialogue between the two allies.

Before coming to Stanford, Shin taught at the University of Iowa and the University of California, Los Angeles. After receiving his BA from Yonsei University in Korea, he was awarded his MA and PhD from the University of Washington.

Selected Multimedia

Director of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
Director of the Korea Program
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